Saturday, April 10, 2010
This trail kicked my ass, mainly due to me being out of shape, but everyone who did it can attest that it's no walk in the park with a 4,100-foot elevation gain within a 5.5-mile stretch (11 miles round trip). There were a few tricky sections that involved the use of a rope or cable, but no extreme conditions to test your nerves.
The trail starts at a private road near Waialua High School. Along this road, there are many gates and warning signs like "Private Property", "No Trespassing", and "No Hiking". It's amazing how many hikers manage to get by without heeding to the signs. The state owns the ridge part of the trail but everything near the trailhead belongs to private owners such as Dole, Waialua Ranch, and Kamananui Orchard. If you do plan to do this hike, make sure you contact Kamananui Orchard (Randy: 808-778-6014).
For the beginning part of the trail leading to the summit plateau of Ka'ala, we hiked under the hot scorching sun on a dirt road. We took a detour to a scenic lookout on the hilltop which eventually led us back to the main trail. Once we arrived at the Mokule'ia Forest Reserve boundary, the dirt road ended and the trail narrowed. There is a section that was overgrown with tall grass with heights soaring above me, and sometimes, it became difficult to make out the trail. The only cuts I had this day was from the annoying grassy section, I had nasty scratch marks all over my arms. After this point, the trail got more serious as keeps going up and up with steeper inclines. My leg muscles were getting tighter at every step and I could feel a cramp on my left calf muscle. Later, I felt the tightness on my quads and hamstrings. We were on our last hill, and my legs were done! My legs would cramp up and it would force us to take longer breaks. It was mid-afternoon, and at this pace, we began to worry about the return trip. When we arrived at the concrete steps, I thought my cramps were gone so I picked up the pace. But the pain hit me on my right calf and it was a real bad one. I called out for my hiking buddy for her assistance. I lied on the muddy steps with my right leg lifted up. I wanted her to bend my foot back to stretch my calf, I asked her to place my backpack between my foot and her body so she wouldn't get dirty. Instead, she hung my backpack on my foot. We were both confused, "what is she doing?", "what does he want me to do?" After all the pain, we got to the end of the trail. My hiking buddy proceeded up the paved road and I trailed behind her. Around the corner, she came running down with fear. She thought she was being chased by the guards since she hopped over the fence to take a picture. I turned around and I limped right behind her, I could barely run.
On the return trip, it took us half the time and it was much easier.
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