Saturday, August 1, 2009
Puu Ma'eli'eli sits atop a foothill separating the well-traveled Kahekili Highway and the coastal neighborhoods of Kamehameha Highway. I planned to do an afternoon hike, and since this trail was only 3 miles, I thought it was something that even my sick and-worn out body could handle. It was certainly a work-out especially for my hiking buddy who just had one hour of sleep the night before.
The trailhead wasn't so hard to find although there was no ribbon or sign to mark the beginning of the trail. Luckily, the articles I read from Island Trails and Associated Content provided me with sufficient information on how to arrive at the main trailhead. Parking is along Hui Iwa St, right across the Valley of the Temple in Kaneohe, you will also see McDonald's at the corner of the intersection. After you park your car, proceed down Hui Iwa St and turn left at Kahekili Hwy towards Kaneohe. Continue walking until you pass the last townhouse. Immediately turn left into the woods and find the trail. The trail should instantaneously get your heart beating fast as it will lead you quickly up the ridge. Be sure to make a left as soon as your reach the ridge and follow the main trail for about an hour or so. You'll encounter overgrown vegetation and low-hanging branches. The views are limited but you'll get some tree cover for most of the way. This trail is a mini roller coaster and there are a few junctions that may lead you to the wrong direction. Stay on the main trail and it will eventually lead you to a sign near the end. Do not turn back upon arriving at the sign, continue further for about a minute, and you'll arrive at your reward.
When people say that this trail provides panoramic and scenic views of Kaneohe Bay, it's certainly not an understatement. In fact, the bunker at the end of the trail is the best seat on the island to enjoy the lofty views of the windward side. This is an excellent beginner's hike if they don't mind itching after brushing their arms against the tall grass. Please be mindful that the trail sits on private property, which means by entering, you are trespassing.