The first of two hikes I completed on my solo trip to Oahu Dec. 26 - Jan. 5, 2010-11, as well as my first hike on the Wai'anae range. This is one of the most rugged hikes on Oahu, beginning on the leeward coast between Wai'anae and Makaha Valleys.
Along the way to its terminus via "No Name" peaks 1 and 2 ( see ** below) are sweeping vistas, steep and narrow sections to negotiate, goat shit pebbles and bones littered everywhere ... along with those annoying horse flies. Footage on my way up to the left shows neighbouring Kea'au Ridge across Makaha Valley which I later completed in summer 2012 (vimeo.com/52916266). Although only 7 mi. out and back this hike gains elevation quickly (3270 ft ... the 3rd highest spot on the Wai'anae range). The terrain levels off between peaks 1 and 2 but by no means let your guard down as the backbone of the ridge narrows considerably with massive drop-offs. Some scrambling is required on this hike ... it can get somewhat technical. On many sections / dikes you can go up and over or contour around ... take your pick but be careful either way not to slip as the rocks are slippery when wet, fractured and crumble easily (falling off and tumbling down the sharp craggy slopes would tear you to shreds). I found contouring using the grip of my hands versus treading on top wet slippery rock sections more safe. Coming back down was much harder and punishing on my legs and feet. Started at 7 a.m. and finished at 6 p.m. with half hour breaks at the peaks and terminus.
A (partly) cloudy sky is perfect for this hike, as the ridge is exposed with little shade, and one would bake under the hot sun for which the Wai'anae range is notorious for. The rocks on the other hand are super slippery when wet, and can slow progress considerably. The Wai'anae range is not this green during the summer months ... rather arid and parched, yet when I returned this past summer the area was still lush due to an exceptionally wet year.
Near the start of the hike one passes the remains of an ancient Hawaiian rock temple (Heiau), designated as Kamaile Heiau. Such sites are considered sacred and should not be disturbed nor trodden upon. In the slideshow at the end of the video you will notice a rock formation that is eerily anthropomorphic, resembling a warrior's head. Weather and visibility were not favourable that day, hence lack of footage between the "puka" (hole) and "No Name" peak 1 due to a heavy downpour. As if by miracle though the skies cleared for short periods as I took breaks at both "No Name" peaks 1 and 2 and terminus, offering some breathtaking views of Wai'anae Valley, Pu'u Kawiwi and "No Name" peak to the north.
**There seems to be ambiguity regarding the existence of "No Name" peaks 1 and 2 (not to be mistaken for "No Name" peak located north of Pu'u Kawiwi). The reference topo map that was very helpful and indicated these peaks as such (solely used as reference / waypoints) can be found at waianaecrider.com/Hikes/2007/Kamaileunu/01.htm. Thank you "Wai'anae" Steve for the detailed topo on your post.
Just beyond peak 2 and down a steep slope lies the official terminus of Kamaile'unu ridge. Little did I know that 8 months later (Aug. 2011) I would bisect the terminus of Kamaile'unu to complete a much more gnarly hike (Pu'u Kawiwi to "Knife-Edge Ridge" via Kamaile'unu terminus ... vimeo.com/28095737) with Francis Jimenez, a local extreme hiker.
Video footage taken with my head-mounted GoPro Hero HD cam.
Music: "Comedown" and "Dulcet" (Bryan Zentz Remix) by Clubroot.
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If you're a non-resident / first time visitor or novice hiker, start with the easy - intermediate (maintained) trails and graduate yourself on subsequent visits. Do yourself a favour and purchase Stewart Ball's "Hiker's Guide to Oahu" ... it's your best and most valuable resource. Do your homework and study topo maps, weather forecasts / radar / sunset times. There are numerous blogs and media posted frequently by local experienced Oahu hikers (these folks are super-friendly and will give you directions and advice). Wear and bring proper gear and don't forget lot's of water and a fully charged cell. If hiking alone or with others, tell someone where you're hiking and keep in touch. Above all there's no shame in turning back if you don't like what you see ... better to stay alive and continue on a subsequent visit. You are solely responsible for your own safety and the risk you take. Hikers, including locals have gotten lost, suffered injury and even died while hiking these trails, so be careful. Mind your insurance coverage limitations as well.
Last but not least ... RESPECT THE LAND! Stay on the trails, don't litter (in fact if you come across any and are able ... take it out with you). Do not unneccessarily disturb the flora, understand and respect historical / cultural ethics, wash, brush or bag your boots upon completion.
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