Today we returned to the Ka'Ohe Game Management Area on the west slopes of
Mauna Kea, an area Tom and I had visited a week earlier. There were a few that
Tom and I had missed, so this would give me a chance to tag these while Eric
and Ingrid would get to do most of the others in this dry forest. Later we
drove to Mauna Kea Rd hoping we might get to drive to the summit area to see
the new snow.
Sadly, the road was closed past the Visitor Center, so we did a
few summits near the closure and then a last one when we returned to Hilo in
the late afternoon. This was one of the better weather days we had, a mix of
sun and overcast but no rain. To save some redundancy, I've only included some
info on the peaks that Tom and I hadn't already climbed on the first visit.
Somehow we had missed this one on the first visit. It's located within the
Ka'Ohe Restoration Area. A fence
surrounds this 1,400 acre area at the north end
of the game management area, designed to keep pigs, goats, sheep and cattle out
and allow the native trees to recover. Hunting for game birds is allowed inside
the restoration area with several spur roads providing access. We drove one of
these to within 1/3mi on the southeast side. Cross-country travel
through thick, invasive grasses over relatively flat ground leads to
this minor point.
This was one Tom and I had deliberately skipped because it was more than half
a mile from the closest road. That seems pretty wimpy, but we had just finished
struggling with two short approach summits that were somewhat tedious. This one
looked to be much the same. Thankfully it wasn't in practice. We parked near
Pu'u Mana'o (which Eric & Ingrid climbed first while I stood guard over the
jeep) to the northwest, starting from there. We found an old road that
seen on the satellite view but couldn't find in the jeep (the road wasn't much
good for vehicles anymore), and followed this to near the base of Pu'u Okau.
There was some thicker forest and brush on the lower slopes, but with
careful route-finding we kept this to a minimum. The middle and
upper slopes were
somewhat steep but no real brush to contend with. We picked a slightly
different route on the descent, finding no advantage over the ascent line.
This is the first named summit encountered on the left side of Mauna Kea Rd as
one drives north from Saddle Rd. It is inside Hawaiian homelands, sandwiched
between Saddle Rd and the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve. The area is
No Trespassing and a number of other activities which turn out to be redundant
to trespassing. Ingrid held the moral high ground by staying with the car
while Eric and I tossed ours to the wind and made a quick circuit up and down
the small, grassy cinder cone.
This is the highest of three cinder cones on the left side of the road, near
the Visitor Center. These are all located within the Mauna Kea Forest Reserve
and open to the public. We parked at the Visitor Center, walked
across the roadway and made our way to the summit
in about 10min following use trails.
There were a few other parties coming and going to this summit and
Pu'u Kalepeamoa, fairly popular short hikes in the area.
This minor summit is located on the west side of Hilo, not far from Ingrid's
home where Eric and I were staying with her family. We parked at the end of
an unnamed spur road near the end of Waianuenue Ave where a locked gate
bars vehicle access. This used to be signed for No Trespassing in the
past, but these have removed. The continuing road provides access to
abandoned homes and utility structures & equipment higher on
the heavily forested slopes. We hiked about 3/4mi to a large cleared area on
the south bank of the Wailuku River where
some heavy construction equipment was found, evidently used to help with some
flood-clearing efforts following four days of unusually heavy rain. The
location of Pu'u Loa is marked by a PVC pole stuck in the ground, but
it has no elevation claim over the surrounding area. Evidently the Pu'u was
flattened or never actually existed as depicted on the topo map.