Northern Wai`anae Summit Trek

Saturday April 6th, 2013

Hike #24 - 11 miles - Year total = 108.5

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A few months ago my hiking buddy Dave wanted to do a hike along the northern section of the Wai`anae Mountains.  This is that story.  He wanted to go from the Air Force tracking station above Keawa`ula Bay to a Remote Leeward Valley.  There are two trails leading down into that valley but one was to deep into the valley and the other meant going down a 100' cliff w/ropes but at the end of a long day when we all would be tired and that cliff could become deadly.  So he began staking out a new trail.  It took him 3 or 4 trips to find a route that by-passed the cliff.

With a pass from the State we left Makaha for Keawa`ula and the tracking station high on the mountain behind the bay.  Because this is an active air force base you need a pass to get access to the road to the top.  Dave took care of this also.  There were four of us going to hike today.  Dave, his wife Stanka, Dan and my self.  Dan's wife Mary came along and drove the car back home.  The hike began at 8:30 and turned out to be an all day adventure.  The hike ended at 7:30 p.m. using head lamps to light the trail.

We started on the Kuaokala Trail maintained by the State's Na Ala Hele branch/division.  Great job.  This trail well it's maybe 1/2 trail and 1/2 fire break road leads to the rim of Makua Valley and then follows the crest of the Wai`anae Summit around the rim.  After about 2 hours on the trail which offers some fabulous views you reach an old jeep road.  This is the end of the State's trail and also the far point for a hike done once a year by the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club, HTMC.

Dan thought the tip of this pine tree looked like "Bullwinkle".  What do you think?

Southern half of Keawa`ula Bay.  The guard shack is down there.

Cute mushroom.  So many growing here and there and no one knows if you can eat any of them.

This is Black Wattle, Acacia mearnsii which was brought in from Australia as a reforestation but is now considered an invasive weed.

Looking back you can see one of the covered radar antennas at the air force station.  They look like giant golf balls.

Zooming in from a distance this is the old Nike Missile Radar Station.  During the Cold War there was a Nike station on each corner of O`ahu high on ridge tops.  Down below on the flats were where the missiles themselves were kept.

The State and the Feds are building a fence all the way around Makua Valley as well as other areas where there are endangered plants.  The fence is to keep feral pigs and goats away from the plants.  Rat traps are also place as rats are know to kill native birds by eating the eggs as well as the fruit of some native trees such as the Pritchardia palms.  What I can't figure out is why both ends of the trap are closed by wire?  There were snap traps inside but I don't see how the rats could get near the traps.

 

 

No idea what this is, but dozens of them were planted along a switch-back section of the trail.

Sorry, blurry picture, but I believe this is a native Lobelia.  It was growing right along the fence and had some colored ribbon around it to warn people about not killing it.

We saw a number of these old signs left over from days before the fence.  Makua Valley was used my the U.S. military for many years as a live firing range.  There are a great many duds laying all over the valley.

The North Shore.

The flower of the Maile Vine. 

 

 

Because the rim of Makua can be narrow and at the same time full of sharp turns the trail sometime puts the hiker on one side of the fence and at other times on the other side.  To protect the fence these were built to help people climb over the fence.  Pigs and goats have not figured out how to use it yet.  LOL

We were trying to get to 3 Corners.  We arrived there at 4 p.m.7 and 1/2 hours after we started.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a video of the hike.  Hope you enjoy it.