Puu Hona 2x

Dec 17, 2016
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile
previously climbed Dec 7, 2016


It was my last day on Maui before heading to Oahu to meet up with the family and I had about half a day to get a last hike in. It had rained early in the morning starting around 6a but by 8a things had improved considerably and I decided to do an all cross-country hike up one of the ridges on West Maui, leading to a small summit called Kaonohue at about 2,600ft. With four hours to devote to the effort, I thought I would have plenty of time to make the two miles to the summit. The lower half of the ridge is primarily grass with some trees, but the forest line would start around 1,400ft and make for the biggest unknown. None of it proved easy except for the middle section on the ridge where animal trails help pick up the pace. Lower down, before reaching the start of the ridge, I had to cross a relatively flat half mile section that looked easy, but had lots of hidden rocks in the knee-high grass that made for slow going. This was the dry drainage for Pohakea Gulch that becomes more impressive higher up where it more sharply delineates the opposing ridges. Of note was an old, possibly ancient, rock wall of the sort that can be found all over Maui. I reached the forest line in just under an hour, still figuring I'd be able to do the last 0.9mi in another hour. Alas, it was not to be. A fire had burned this side of the mountain maybe 5-10yrs ago leaving a large amount of downfall intermixed with new pine growth that conspired to slow me to just above a crawl. The ridge never became impossible or horribly tedious, but I realized I was not going to make it without running up against my time constraint. With perhaps another two hours' time, I'd have been successful, I think. Then again, it might have gotten really bad higher up as I still had another 1,000ft of elevation and that might mean more vegetation. It'll have to wait for my next trip to Maui, or perhaps for another adventurous peakbagger to give it a shot and let me know how it was. For consolation, the weather only continued to improve and I had a fine view to Maalaea Bay and Haleakala to the east. To keep from getting completely skunked, I tagged Puu Hona on my way back, the first summit I had visited when I landed on the island ten days earlier. It wasn't so much to pad the stats as to have a placeholder to remind myself about the Kanohue attempt. As our famous ex-governor said more than once, "I'll be baahk..."

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