This hike has been on my bucket list for quite a while now.  I finally found a new hiking buddy and I ended up getting invited to go out with another group as well.  I canceled my dive for this hike.  This hike is no joke.  The first mile you are just doing a basic hike like anywhere else.  The last 3/4 of a mile is almost one long scramble to the top.

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We got to a part where it was hard to find hand and foot holds and keep your balance at the same time.  There were ropes to help you but they were awkward to use and I was better off using roots to hold on to.  The roots of a lot of trees here in Hawaii grow above ground and are as strong as a branch.  Quite the opposite of what I am used to in New England where they are under ground and not suitable as a hand hold.

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At first I was ready to call it a day about half way up so I sent me buddy on ahead of me to catch up with the group.  After a snack and some rest, though, I was ready to try to tackle the rest of this steep slope.  I ran into a man who was probably in his 60’s flying up the trail and thought “If he can do this so can I”.  He assured me that the wall that I was trying to navigate was the worst part of the hike and that it would get easier ahead.  I ran into my buddy again and told her this, to which she responded “He’s lying”.  Either way I wasn’t ready to give up on this trail yet since it was probably my #1 on my bucket list.  I knew it would be tough when I started and I knew that I had to give it my best.

An old pump house on the trail

An old pump house on the trail

As I continued up there were more hand and foot holds above my rest stop and it was, definitely less technical.  Until…I got to the huge rock face that ascends straight up with very few places to hold on.  It looked daunting and I ascended about half way up and then back down before mustering the courage and decided I was going to get up that thing come hell or high water.



So I got to the top all the while thinking, “how am I going to get down”.  Never the less the view was worth it.  I still did not make the summit of the first peak but I made it up that beast and according to my friend the view was “almost as good”.  I couldn’t get the 360 degree views I had heard about but it was breathtakingly beautiful and the sense of accomplishment was amazing.

Peaks 2 and 3

Peaks 2 and 3

From where I stopped I could see the other 2 peaks, the breathtaking Ko’olau Mountains in all their glory, Marine Corps Base Hawaii and the whole Kailua coastline.  It was worth the effort.

Kualoa in the background looking out over Kaneohe Bay

Kualoa in the background looking out over Kaneohe Bay

As always, coming down was much faster.  The ropes were much more useful on the way down, as the always are.   The terrain was dry so at least we didn’t have red dirt to slip and slide on.  This hike was a total of 3.6 miles and took at total of 4 hours including a 45 minute rest stop.  Parking for this hike is on the street outside the Royal Hawaiian Country Club.

I look happy because I made it back to the bottom alive...lol

I look happy because I made it back to the bottom alive…lol

I’m so glad that I overcame my fear and finally made it to the, almost, summit.  I would have been very disappointed in myself if I didn’t make it.  I can remember thinking that I could always come back another time.  But then I thought, “I’m here now, suck it up”.   My buddy was a big help, listening to my terrified rant, and helping me find my way down that rock face.  I think now I can leave Hawaii truly satisfied and officially have no regrets.  Part of my wishes I did his hike I long time ago because now, every other hike I do seems like  piece of cake.

Some closing thoughts.  This trail is not a state sanctioned trail so if you choose to go up, you do so at your own risk.  It’s not appropriate for children, not even close.


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