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Olomana previously climbed Fri, Jun 13, 2014|
We'd gotten up early to spend a few hours snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. It's been described as "legendary" by at least one guidebook and from the recollection of my first visit 25yrs ago, I remember the reef fish being very plentiful. We'd gotten up early to get there by 8:30a because our guidebook said to get there by 9a to get a parking spot. The lot was already full and cars were backed up on the highway, waiting their turn to be turned away by the state employees manning the entrance. This place's popularlity has not diminished in the least. It didn't help that it was probably the busiest week of the year with all the schools on vacation and the island filled with tourists. We parked in a neighborhood area down the hill to the west and hoofed it on foot up to the entrance to the state marine reserve. Once past the entrance, I could see that there were significant changes since I'd last been here. There is a $16M visitor center where one must first stand in line to pay a $7.50 per person entrance fee, then stand in line for the mandatory video viewing whose basic message is don't feed or harass the fish and don't stand on the coral, before finally being allowed to walk down to the beach to spend time with 1,000 of your fellow humans (where one of our first sights was watching some dude standing on the coral). How they managed to spend $16M for a souped-up version of the Flinstone's home is a bit perplexing, but I'm pretty sure Hawaii state spending in not a model of government fiscal responsibility. None of this actually bothers me, really, because the snorkeling is still as good as I remembered and we all had a good time. Afterwards we dropped Ryan off in Wakiki to meet up with Mom while Jackie and I set out for a short hike up Kauanui Ridge on the far east end of Honolulu. The trail is officially closed to the public since it passes through lands owned by the Kamehmeha schools and in 2013 a solid fence was erected at the only access point in the well-to-do suburban neighborhood. I found the gate locked and heavily greased (by neighbors, I learned later) to discourage trespassers which worked nicely - we left. We headed back down the hill to eat lunch and then headed back to the windward side to hike Olomana.
This is an impressive summit, three of them actually, rising up dramatically to the southwest of Kailua. I had climbed the three summits on my last visit to the island two and a half years earlier but thought Jackie might enjoy it. I have a longer description in that earlier TR but I thought I'd point out a few differences. The trail still takes advantage of an easement through the entrance of the Royal Hawaiian Golf Course with signs that are ambiguous and do their best to discourage all but those that know they can legally hike there. The parking just before the entrance along the bridge is no longer available, both sides clearly marked as No Parking and Tow-away Zones. The nearest parking is back on Auloa Rd another quarter mile. This makes the roundtrip hike to the first summit about 4mi. The trail was very muddy right from the start. There had been almost no rain today and the weather was very cooperative, but the previous night and earlier it had rained enough to make a full mess of things. This was the first really muddy hike Jackie had joined me on and she did her best to keep her chin up. "Become one with the mud," I cajoled. "Great advice, Dad." When we reached the ridge we turned left off the main trail and followed a lesser one (but completely unmuddy) to the highpoint LoJ identifies as Olomana Ridge about 1/7th mile away. It has a few metal stakes marking the highpoint and a view window through the forest overlooking Kailua to the northeast. We soon returned to the trail to continue up to Olomana.
We passed by several groups on their way back, all far muddier than ourselves, but looking like they'd enjoyed themselves. Jackie commented that there were quite a few couples on the hike and how it is not uncommon for the womenfolk to be less enthusiastic under such conditions. I commented that they looked to be having fun on this one. "Oh Dad, you guys aren't really good at reading these things, are you?" Huh? Apparently she got a whole different vibe and was fairly certain the young ladies were not having a good time. "Well, it's always a bit risky taking your signicant other on such an adventure," was all I could offer in reply. The trail eventually becomes steeper and there are ropes aplenty to help one up the steep rocky sections if needed. It was fun and not too muddy until we were a short distance from the summit and ran into the last muddy section. Jackie was singing and laughing and having a good time until she suddenly slipped on her rump and got mud all over her. Her mood changed just as quickly and I had no trouble reading it. Her first reaction was to assign cause, "I wish you wouldn't go so fast!" Hmmm, my fault it seems. I had told her earlier to go at her own pace and I would wait for her, no problem, and reminded her of this. She started breathing forcibly in and out; after a few reptitions I asked if she was alright, a little concerned. "I'm trying to deal with my anger issues," she replied. My fault too, I imagine, but now was the time to remain silent. Her soured mood was evident in her own silence, which continued up through the crux section and then to the summit. The refreshing breeze blowing across us and the expansive views helped soften her up so that we could talk about it and make good. The impressive view was to the south where the two other lower summits could be seen, especially the third one. A man at the summit was talking on the phone to his three young-adult sons who had gone to the second summit and were halfway down to the notch with the third summit. They had taken longer than he was comfortable with and was worried that if they continued with their plan to tag all three they'd be wallowing through the mud in dark hours later. You could tell the sons were pleading their case but Dad was standing firm. He hung up, a little exasperated, and apologized to us. "It's ok," I responded, "I've got a 20yr-old son myself and could imagine having the same conversation." There was another conversation with the boys before we left, that involved more pleading to finish the job, and I wished him luck before heading down. Taking in the views while scrambling down the ridge seemed to help improve Jackie's mood and by the time we had finished up near Olomana Stream she was all smiles again, about 3hrs all told for the outing. Women. Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em - but given the choice, I'd rather live with 'em. :-)
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Olomana
This page last updated: Tue Jan 3 21:04:25 2017
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