Mon, Jun 16, 2014
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It was time to leave Oahu with my flight departing just before 9a. Normally this wouldn't give me any time to get a morning hike in, but I've been on CA time since I arrived, getting up before 5a and hiking by 6a. So in perusing Stuart Ball Jr's The Hikers Guide to O'ahu I found a short hike of only 2mi RT that goes to a small summit in Moana Valley, starting not far from Waikiki. Pu'u Pia is the highpoint of a small offshoot from the Wa'ahila Ridge I had hiked a few days earlier. I figured if the hike took an hour I'd still have plenty of time to return the rental car and get to the airport.

I should have just followed the perfectly adequate directions given in the guidebook, but instead I looked only for the destination (corner of Alani and Woodlawn Drives) and plugged that into my cellphone to let Google Maps take me there more easily. Or so I thought. Turns out that Alani crosses Woodlawn at two locations half a mile apart and of course Google Maps took me to the wrong one. Confused, I parked and started off in the wrong direction, hiking up Alani Dr. to the right through a delightful neighborhood but with no trailhead in sight. I got out my GPS to find out just where Pu'u Pia was, found it in the opposite direction I was heading and turned around. Ok, so it was going to be a three mile hike instead of two. I've made worse errors in route-finding.

From the correct intersection, the trail is well-signed, first with an easement through a private access drive, then through the woods where the pavement ends and the trail begins. Heavily shaded by trees and seeing little sun, most of the trail was wet, rooty, and often slippery. Right near the beginning I took a spill and landed in the mud. I would not be very presentable meeting my family in Maui looking like I did. At a signed fork I went left (the right fork leads up to Wa'ahila Ridge), following the trail as it climbs gradually up to a saddle and then to the summit of Pu'u Pia. A bench is located in the middle of a grassy area with views towards the easy and the impressive walls and ridges of the Koolau Range. Views down valley are blocked by trees, but the trail continues a few minutes further to the end of the short ridgeline atop of which is perched a tall powerpole. Ignoring that, one can have nice views to Honolulu and the coast.

The return went without mishap, falling not even once though I was doing some jogging to keep the outing to an hour. I met one other person starting up the trail as I was exiting and a fair number of neighborhood residents either out jogging or walking the dog. Back at the car I packed my boots in a plastic bag with the muddy pants I was wearing, figuring I'd deal with them later. I changed into shorts and a pair of tennis shoes and was off to the airport - time to say goodbye to Oahu...

Anonymous comments on 06/17/14:
Bob, have you encountered any ticks or poison oak-type nasties while in Hawaii?
Reply: No such nasties at all!
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