Saturday, April 17, 2010

Aihualama-Ohi'a (via Manoa Falls)

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by welikehike

This hike combines Manoa Falls, Aihualama, Pauoa Flats, Manoa Cliffs, and finally, Puu Ohi'a Trail for a total of 8 miles round trip. This was suppose to be an easy hike to recover from the merciless 12-mile Dupont trail done last week, but this trail gave us a moderate workout. We started off hiking the busy and tourist-infested Manoa Falls trail and we turned left to the Aihualama trail right before the falls. We met up with some old folks who kept us company at the switchbacks and later ditched them when we had the chance. Finally, we had some peace and quiet but the air started to get a bit chilly as we elevated ourselves to higher ground. We had to keep on moving to keep our bodies warm and muscles loose.

We were in a complex network of trails and we regretfully took some wrong turns as we retraced our steps to the right path. We turned into Kalawahine Trail when we were suppose to continue on Pauoa Flats; we turned right on Manoa Cliffs Trail when we were suppose to go straight (Stuart Ball's said to turn left. This is may be misleading because the trail options are either straight into the gate or right.); we turned left into Puu Ohi'a trail instead of taking the left fork up the paved road. I mentioned this so you don't have the make the same mistakes we did.

We walked through many bamboo forests, and at times, we were alerted by the sounds it made. At first, it sounded like a land slide comin' our way but it was merely the wind and the bamboo rubbing against each other. The view at Puu Ohi'a was actually amazing. I wasn't expecting much, but I have to say, it's a sight worth hiking for. At a distance, you will see Diamondhead Crater to the south with Nuuanu Valley to the north, and adjacent ridges along the Ko'olau mountain range. I did not like the paved roads near the end of the trail. I could not stop thinking that there is probably a vehicle route that is accessible near the peak. And having to hike all the way up here would feel like a waste. However, we did meet up with a couple that told us about an easier route to the peak of Puu Ohi'a. We were a bit disappointed to hear that, but at least we can say that we conquered this trail route, and we can officially cross it off our list.

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