Peak 1,900ft

Dec 27, 2019

With: Jackie Burd
Ryan Harriman

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So far, I'd only had one really muddy day in the ten days we'd been on Oahu. When I gave Jackie several hike options this morning, she picked the jungle adventure, a hike in the Ko'olau Range that would give us a chance to get dirty. Her boyfriend joined in the fun and declared it the best hike he'd done - ever. He wanted me to rate it too, probably hoping I would give it very high marks as well. I sensed disappointment when I gave it an average rating for Hawaii, but really, most hikes in Hawaii I find very fun. This one had mud, rainforest, an exposed ridge ascent, occasional rain, some sunshine, tasty strawberry guavas, tree climbing, and more.

Unnamed Peak 1,900ft lies on the south side of Nu'uanu Valley and SR61, on the leeward side of the range. We parked on the shoulder of Nuuanu Pali Rd next to the start of the Judd Trail. This is also the start of the Nu'uanu Trail which winds its way to a viewbench lookout in three miles. Along the way, the trail passes south and below Peak 1,900ft where I hoped to find either a use trail or short bushwhack to reach the summit. The trail starts through a fine bamboo forest, then an even more impressive Cook pine forest. We had some trouble following the regular Nu'uanu Trail, not because we lost it, but because the route doesn't follow the line depicted on the topo map or my GPSr. Thinking we'd missed a turn, I redirected our efforts to the east and found an unsigned, narrow trail going steeply up the south side of the valley. It had periodic flagging, likely left by members of the HTMC, whose trails this one strongly resembled. Along with the flagging there were handlines in the steeper places and the usual impressive views where the trail pops out of the forest to follow a steep arete. Both my companions were good sports about the climb despite the difficulties, with much sliding, grabbing onto small trees and branches for holds and some minor blood-letting. After climbing all the way up to the ridge upon which Peak 1,900ft sits, we soon found the regular trail a few hundred yards further west. By comparison, it seemed like a freeway. We sauntered along the better trail heading east until we were a quarter mile from Peak 1,900ft. At this point the trail starts to diverge from the ridgeline as it makes a descending traverse below the summit. I spotted what looked like a use trail forking off to follow the ridge and called a halt to our expedition. After laying out options, it was decided the other two would continue on the Nu'uanu Trail to the lookout at its end while I went up to Peak 1,900ft and then met them at the lookout. The use trail I discovered was a good one, no bushwhacking needed though it was somewhat overgrown and muddy. My boots and lower pants would be completely soaked by the time I reached the top, but no matter - they were close to the same condition when I started up. I found only poor views because of the overcast and drizzly conditions, but was happy to find that the use trail continued over the summit. This would save me from having to reverse direction and I simply continued on the ridge trail that conveniently took me to the lookout spot in another half mile. I was surprised to find it empty, wondering what happened to Jackie and Ryan. I started back on the Nu'uanu Trail, finding them in less than a minute. The regular trail was quite muddy, slowing them down. I returned with them to the lookout where we go more crappy views and it soon began to rain in earnest, driving us back to the forest on the trail. The last 1/2mi of the Nu'uanu Trail was terribly muddy. I didn't mind because my boots were already saturated, but Jackie was moving slowly, still trying to avoid the worst of it. I suggested she needed to embrace the mud, not fight it, to really enjoy the experience. She did so only reluctantly. The trail dried out some after that last half mile and the remaining 2.5mi back to the start was mostly uneventful, though Ryan did stop several times to climb interesting-looking trees. I think we were all glad not having to descend the steep, slippery trail we'd ascended earlier. We found a few strawberry guavas that we enjoyed as well, eventually finishing up by 1:40p, a little over three hours after we'd started out. Time to go find lunch...


Shane Smith comments on 12/28/19:
Holy Peak Bagging Sessions.... Fun!

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