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Kailua, Hawaii, United States

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lulumahu Falls and Kaniakapupu Summer Palace

Tim and I took this hike last year and got completely lost in the bamboo forest. We managed to get out, but only because we had the GPS with us. Without it, I swear we would have never gotten out of that forest! It has bugged me ever since that we failed to find the waterfall that day. I decided that since I have a lot more experience with hiking trails in Hawaii now, maybe if I tried it again I would find it this time.

I set out down the easy path that leads to the summer palace of King Kamehameha III and his wife, Queen Kalama. It was built in 1845, and wasn't occupied very long. The King had one big party there, the sign says he had 10,000 guests. They must have all been outside, the summer palace is small! It is in ruins, but the spot it sits in is really pretty.

The guide book tells you to go to the summer palace and then find the path that goes on from there. The guide says it is very hard to find the right trail, as there are trails crossing each other all over the place. S0me are pig trails, some from hunters, and most I think are trails left by hikers who were completely lost. The guide says "Don't worry, just follow any path that leads upstream; you'll eventually get to the waterfall." No, you won't, you'll end up lost in the forest again!

I followed a good path until it started to enter the bamboo forest. I was talking to Tim on the phone at the time and he told me not to go in! Since our last visit he has a bit of a phobia about bamboo forests! I told him the GPS was on and continued into the forest. Everything was fine for a while, I seemed to be making great progress upstream. Then the trail starts to disappear and then I'm lost again in the same forest as last time. I decided to try a different tactic and try to work my way along the edge of the stream until I get out of the bamboo forest. That didn't work at all! After about a half hour, I got to a spot that I remembered. I'd somehow gone in a big circle through the bamboo forest.

I needed a new tactic. I decided to head straight through the forest. following the GPS in a straight line towards the Pali Hwy. I figured I had to intersect with a better trail somewhere along the way. Even with the GPS it was hard to go straight through, I kept getting blocked and managed to get "lost" in the bamboo again, then "lost" in a grove of paperbark trees, then "lost" in a grove of strawberry guava, then I suddenly came out of the woods in an abandoned parking lot! It was an old campground, long out of use. It was still in good repair really, and I could see on the GPS that I had made progress in getting closer to the right part of the stream to find the waterfall.

I headed towards the direction I expected to find a trail, if one existed. Down a grass road, around a water tank and then I found steps leading to a nice wide trail! The trail led to the stream and then went nicely upstream. Soon I passed an old dam and spillway and not long after that I spotted Lulumahu Falls! I made it!! When I headed back I discovered that this is a nice hike IF you know the trick. Its actually just off the Pali Hwy., around the Nuuanu water reservoir, through the camping area and up the trail. Now if someone would clue in the guy who writes the hiking book! On the way back as I was walking to the Jeep I went by a crew of Hawaiian highway workers. Six guys watching one guy dig a hole, guess its the same everywhere!

1 comment:

Liisa Roberts said...

Hi there Rick. I stumbled upon your blog as I was searching the keyword Kaniakapupu. I got a great laugh reading about your bamboo experience. I thought I would share with you my hiking report.. All I can say is that hike ruined bamboo for me. I did finally find the trails to both falls and it is way easier than I initially made it.. This hike is on my return list. Hope you are still hiking.