Olomana Ridge

14 Feb

Mount Olomana

That’s Mount Olomana…and we climbed it.  ALL the way to the tip-top pointy peak.  And we thought Koko was a cardio workout?!  Ha!  You’d think a mountain like this would have a switchback-type of trail, zigzagging its way up, but nope…We parked at the base (to the left of where this picture cuts off) and went straight in and up.  From car to peak, it’s 4.5 miles and 1643 ft. elevation.  WHEW!!

Mount Olomana, about 45 minutes from Honolulu on the windward side of the island, is a spectacular three peaked mountain that stands apart from the larger Koolau Ridge.  The striking peak is often referred to as ‘Oahu’s Matterhorn,’ while the translation of the Hawaiian name is actually ‘divided hill.’  From the top, you get spectacular 360 degree views of the windward coast from Kailua to Makapuu.  Looking south from the summit, you see the Koolau Ridge, including Mt. Olympus.

Legend has it that Olomana was a renowned warrior that was over 30 feet tall and ruled the lands from Makapu’u to Kualoa. The mountain was formed when the King of Oahu, Ahuapau, sent one of his foremost warriors, Palila, to confront Olomana. During the ensuing battle, Palila, gifted with supernatural powers, sliced Olomana in half with the top portion landing near the ocean while the bottom portion became Mount Olomana.

OK, onto our climb!  Because the trailhead is actually hidden in a gated community, you have to park on the side of the road about a mile beforehand and hike in to actually start the hike!  The guard is super friendly and quite helpful- afterall, he warned us of the wild boar we may encounter, which prompted John to quickly research the subject.

‘Surely you aren’t texting right now, are you?!’ I asked as we’re nearing the trailhead and he’s glued to that tiny screen.

‘No,’ he replied sheepishly.  (After hesitation and realizing how nerdy it would sound coming out) ‘I just think it would be helpful to know what to do if one encounters a wild boar.  Run? Play dead?  Stop, drop and roll?’  My husband, MacGyver 🙂

Glad we were paying attention or we would've missed the parting of the trees that is the trailhead!

The first part of the trail is fairly easy, comparatively.  It’s pretty wide, lots of clay (ie. MUD because of all the rain lately!) and nearly completely shaded by tropical canopy.

First part of the trail...

About a half mile in, we came to one of our favorite spots, a grove of Ironwood trees.  At first glance, Ironwood looks much like a Pine tree with their needle-like foliage and woody fruit resembling a pine cone. However, the deciduous tufts of long jointed and grooved bluish-grey ‘needles’ aren’t true leaves, but actually small jointed twigs that perform the same functions as leaves.

The only part of the trail where you could truly hear the wind talking to you. It was fantastic really...

The middle part of the hike started to get increasingly more difficult…Much narrower trail, much more blazing sun exposure and much steeper ascents…In fact, I would say it was equal parts ‘stairs’ to ‘ladders…’  Oh yeah, we’re talking down and dirty using all fours to climb this mountain! 🙂

John, at the top of a 'ladder...'

The picture doesn't do justice to just how steep of an incline we're talking, but at least you can see the narrowness...and more mud!

We can't have all work and no play! 🙂

The third section of the trail was definitely the most labor intensive as it was just about all about rock climbing.  Thankfully, hikers of days past have left their ropes to help along the way!

It's a long way down! 😉

We could submit this to Rock Climbers Digest! Ha!

The view from the top is SPECTACULAR.  Seriously, it makes all the ‘cursing the minute we decided to do this damn thing’ moments disappear.  As promised, we got 360 degree views of the island.  WOW.

Looking toward the North Shore...

We made it! Drenched and shaky-legged, but we made it! 🙂

Koolau Mountain Ridge in the distance...

I just love this picture. Plus, it pretty much sums up how we were feeling finally reaching the summit!

And to prove that I wasn’t kidding about the peak being like a ‘tippy-top pointy rock,’ here’s proof!

John thought it would be funny to snap this picture of me stretching at the top...I really like it, too, because it's another one showing just how we felt when we finally reached the top! Ahhh....:)

As you might guess, the hike back down the mountain was pretty challenging, too.  No, not as strenuous as the ascent, but definitely noteworthy between the rock faces, the slippery mud and our already-spent Jello legs!  Let’s just say that our calves and quads were definitely feeling it long before we got back to the car (and no, don’t even get me started on how they’re feeling by this morning!)  Our total trip, from the car to the summit and back to the car, took about 4 hours.  Definitely worth every second of it :).

Muddy from head to toe = Great day in Hawaii 🙂


One Response to “Olomana Ridge”

  1. Wendy February 14, 2011 at 9:27 PM #

    Pix were amazing!! Thanks for taking me along!

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