Mauna Kapu

Thu, Jan 2, 2020

With: Tom Becht
Iris Ma

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile


Tom had a rough day yesterday. He lost his camera and calf brace, his shoes fell apart and Iris had stepped on his prescription sunglasses. We'd spent an hour looking around the base of Haupu for his camera and this morning we went back to Poipu Beach to see if we could find his brace (we couldn't). We stopped on the way for an easy summit we had skipped the previous day. After returning to Lihue we spent the morning hiking the length of Kapela Ridge, then kayaked in the Wailua River in the afternoon. Having a healthy supply of beer on the river helped revive his spirits.


This dimiuitive summit is located on the north side of Hwy50, a few miles northeast of the turnoff to Poipu Beach. We had stopped on the eastbound side of the road the previous day, but it looked like a terrible bushwhack from the turnout there. Today we parked on the westbound side where there is a more reasonable way up through forest understory. It took less than 10min to find our way to the busy summit where there is some tall brush, trees and no views. A very silly summit exercise.

Kapela Ridge

Three days earlier we had climbed the highpoint at the south end of Kapela Ridge, an easy leg-stretcher after landing in Lihue that afternoon. Today we went back to tag four other named summits along the ridge, though none had significant prominence. The ridge is part of the Kapela Forest Reserve with a network of motorcycle trails that made for easy hiking and no bushwhacking. We were happy to see no motorcyclists the whole time we were there and just two other parties using this informal hiking track. The starting point is found at the end of Hulei Rd, a short distance north of Lihue, off Hwy50. The forecast was for scattered showers, increasing as the day progressed, but even with our relatively late start after 9a, we had only a few sprinkles in the three and a quarter hours we were out there. The trails were damp but not really muddy after a few days with little rain here, and our shoes stayed pretty dry. Some of the motorcycle tracks cut deep and have led to areas of rampant erosion, but most of them were in good shape. There are good views for much of the hike looking east towards the coast and west to the highlands of Kawaikini and Waialeale. On the last summit (Mauna Kapu) at the north end of the ridge, we had a fine view of the Wailua River that cuts through the range that is Kapela Ridge to the south and Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant) to the north. On the return we used a few bypass trails to keep from having to go back over two of the summits, though these were muddier than the trail right on the ridge. Iris stopped at various points to collect small fruits that she picked off the ground or from the shrubs and trees. She was very happy to find these and liked to show them off proudly. We finished up by 12:30p and then headed off to find a place to rent us kayaks to ply the river. We spent about 2.5hrs drifting and paddling around the upper half of the river while enjoying refreshing beverages from our cooler. Towards the end of this the promised rains began to fall, sometimes in great earnest and we were pretty wet through and through before we were done. All in all, a pretty good day...


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