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Kailua, Hawaii, United States

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hike to Ka'au Falls


Hi again, just another one of my hike reports. I'll try and make this one not as long as the last! Once again I decided to hike one of the "closed" hikes on Oahu. This one is in a valley pretty much right behind Diamond Head crater. I checked it out online and got two sets of directions (and no, they weren't the same), plus I drove up there to check out parking, etc.

Igot a late start this morning so I didn't arrive at the parking spot until about 11:45. I started out down (well, really up) the trail where you immediately have a sign telling you it is "kapu" (forbidden), then go down the road a little more and have to go around the big gate with its no trespassing signs. Then its down a path and right to the stream. At the stream you see the water pipe that will be with the trail all the way to the waterfalls; the area is a watershed for Honolulu and they pipe water out of the Ka'au Crater which is also where my stream is coming from. I can't believe they put a pipe here, no way to access it except foI got a late start this morning so I didn't arrive at the parking spot until about 11:45. I started out down (well, really up) the trail where you immediately have a sign telling you it is "kapu" (forbidden), then go down road a little more and have to go around the big gate with its no trespassing signs. Then its down a path and right to the stream. At the stream you see the water pipe that will be with the trail all the way to the waterfalls; the area is a watershed for Honolulu and they pipe water out of the Ka'au Crater which is also where my stream is coming from. I can't believe they put a pipe here, no way to access it except for the slippery trail.

The trail is only about a foot to a foot and a half wide for most of the way. After the first 1/4 mile or so it follows the ridge line with cliff and pipe on one side of you and a big drop-off on the other. I had to go pretty slow because it was slick, muddy and steep most all the time and I didn't want to fall down the cliff. It was also very hot and humid. Got to the first waterfall after about an hour and a half. Very nice, but my objective was the next waterfall up. To get there you have to climb two sections of rope almost straight up. The first one didn't seem bad at all, but the second one was a lot higher. I struggled through them and got to the top of the 1st waterfall, which seems much higher once you're up there! It was good that I had two sets of directions, because the one I was looking at told me that I had arrived at the 2nd waterfall, but alas, no waterfall in sight. I looked at the second set, they told me to find a small path on the right side and follow it up through the tangled hau trees for 10 or 15 minutes. Followed the path and found the 2nd waterfall. Very nice, higher than the first one. There is a trail on the side of it that goes almost straight up, but decided not to push my luck any further. As it is, I'm already in trouble with Tim for taking this hike by myself!

Took a cat-nap on a huge rock by the base of the second waterfall, to rest up for the return voyage. Going down was much faster than up, but I slipped and fell on my butt and nearly slid down the cliffside and then right after that I slipped and fell forward, grabbing on to something (I think a piece of the pipe) which stopped me but took a chunk of meat out of the palm of my hand! It wasn't too bad, so I bandaged it and kept moving. (I come prepared since I know I can usually be counted on to fall a time or two). No more trips or falls on the rest of the way back! I could kind of see why this is a closed hike, but worth the effort to see it. Besides, they shouldn't tell adults what to do! Saying its closed just makes me want to go...guess I'll never quite get over my rebellious streak.

Next time, Ka'ena Point on the far N.W. corner of the island, where the road doesn't go...I'm sure you all can't wait to hear about it!

4 weeks today of not smoking!




























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