Pu’u Ma’eli’eli

Total Distance: 2.5 miles

Time to complete: 2 hours

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I found this short little hike after making plans to hike over the weekend with a friend.  I had originally planned to go do Kamiloiki Ridge but after looking into it a bit more I realized it wasn’t going to be safe to take a 6 and 7 year old on.  I read several accounts of this trail and was excited to see the view of coconut island and the old bunkers at the end of the trail.

How cute is this guy?

How cute is this guy?

Our group consisted of a friend and her son, another friend, her 2 kids and husband as well as Aidan and I.  Plus 2 dogs.  I got the kids excited about the trail by telling them we would look for “buried treasure”.  One of the boys hadn’t done geocaching before and was really excited about it.

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We started our journey at the Ko’olau Shopping Center across from The Valley of the Temples.  We walked back up the highway along the guard rail until we came to a gate with a “posted” sign on it.

Coconut Island with MCBH in the background

Coconut Island with MCBH in the background

The first part of this trail goes through some brush and I found myself hoping that the trail wasn’t swallowed by it.  Soon enough, it opened up into a fairly wide path up the hill.  Almost immediately the trail starts heading uphill at a moderate grade.  For quite a while it stays open and even as you make your way up.  The first view is found fairly quickly as well and is a teaser for what is to come.  The trail then heads into a more covered area with trees and the trail becomes a bit more uneven as the tree roots cross the trail under your feet.

Once we finally found the right path the sky opened up and it's just drenched us in minutes!

Once we finally found the right path the sky opened up and it’s just drenched us in minutes!

There are 3 or 4 junctions in the trail where the option to head to the right is offered but keep going left to the end.  We got to one particular junction where the group was spread out and we headed right.  That led us back down hill to a small ring of rocks and it wasn’t until I saw it that we stopped and I said, “we came this way, where were the bunkers?”.  So we headed back up the hill and went left instead of right.  The left junction was a bit less obvious in that particular case.  It was at this point we found the geocache the kids had shot right past the first time.

Once we were on the right track we climbed steadily up and soon came to the part that I had read about, the last scramble to the top.  We knew we were getting close when we saw a rope along the side of the trail.  This rope, however was not necessarily needed on a dry day.  We would soon find that it was very much-needed on a wet day.  Just before we came to said rope, it had started to rain a bit.  Then a little bit more, and so on until it was raining cats and dogs.

Our hopes of a great view and some times poking around the bunkers were dashed because it was raining buckets.  We were already drenched when we got to the top so we told the kids not to climb down into the bunkers since the rebar ladders would have been slippery with muddy feet.  The view was something completely different because you could clearly see coconut island and the Kaneohe Sandbar from a relatively low vantage point.  A lot of the hikes have great views but you have to go deep into the Ko’olau’s to get those views.  Since Pu’u Ma’eli’eli isn’t actually part of the Ko’olau’s it’s much closer to the ocean.  Soaked to the bone, we took a few quick pictures of each small group at the top and debated waiting to see if it would stop.  Since we had a Kona wind pattern this weekend we couldn’t see the clouds moving much and therefore couldn’t really tell whether the blue skies were coming our way.  So we decided to head back down.

It was on the way down that we found the true value of the rope and there were other places where we could have used ropes where there were none.  The trek down the hill was pretty slippery and only one among us made it down without landing on her butt.  Most of us, landed on our butts more than once.  By the end the rain had stopped and spirits were high.  I think getting caught off guard and sliding down the hill was half the fun.  We all agree we will have to do this again.  Looks like our mission was a success!


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