Pu'u Ma'eli'eli is a 700 ft. hill that is behind our house, which is built on its lowest slope. Tim and I tried to climb it once when we first moved here, but the jungle was too thick and we only managed t0 make it up to the first ridge. We'd had enough of the over-your-head grass that cuts your arms and legs and the slippery ground that made it really hard to go uphill. I never knew it had a name until I came across a hike called the Pu'u Ma'eli'eli Trail and while reading it I realized it was talking about OUR hill. The trail guide said that it could be accessed from either side of the hill, both Kamehameha Hwy side and Kahekili Hwy side. Since we live on the Kamehameha Hwy side, I tried that trail head first.
The trail head was supposed to be across from Heeia Pier and Park, which is about a mile from my house (right next to where they shoot the jungle scenes from the TV show "Lost"). I walked down there and started looking for the trail. There seemed to be only one spot that looked like an actual trail, so up the embankment I went. The trail led through head-high grasses (ugh!) and soon disappeared. I tried several more paths, but each fizzled out very soon. On one path I suddenly came into a clearing and discovered a homeless man in his encampment. I said hello and quickly backtracked out of there. I went back to the highway and looked and looked for another way, but no trail was to be found. I ended up just taking a walk and heading home.
The next day I decided to go over and try the other trail head. It was also up an embankment off the highway and led through the tall grasses first, but there was an actual trail to follow here. The trail got better and better defined and easier to follow as I went up the hill. It didn't seem long at all until I could see a sign up above me that said Pu'u Ma'eli'eli. There is a small bunker there, with a flagpole sticking out of it. The bunkers were built for training in WWII. The bunkers are built into the hill and are really big. And most surprisingly, they weren't full of trash like the ones I've seen elsewhere on the island. They were completely clean, except for a little graffiti. The whole area I was in was surrounded by trees, so there wasn't a view from there. I kept going down the trail, trying to find a view when I went around a curve and the whole sky suddenly opened up in front of me.
There was a command/control bunker built out over the side of the hill and the view was just awesome. Totally awesome, for sure! At first it made me a little dizzy, because even standing back a few feet you felt like you were floating above the landscape! I sat down and took it in for a while, it was mesmerizing. I could see our house down below and everything else from Makapuu / Waimanalo to Chinaman's Hat. The ocean was having one of its really beautiful days when there is shade after shade of clear blue ocean and the coral reefs stand out from everything else making circles and crescents of varying shades in the water. I stayed for quite a while, longer than I usually stay at the end of a hike. I just hated to leave the view!
Eventually, of course, I had to come down the hill. I found a really steep, really quick way down and ended up at a condo building coming out at their tennis courts which saved me quite a bit of time. After I got home I kept thinking that it was too bad I couldn't find a trailhead on my side of the hill so that I could hike up the hill anytime I wanted. So...believe it or not...I'm blazing my own trail up the side of the hill from my house. Yesterday was the first day of trailblazing and it is really hard work! I made it .21 miles from my house, to the top of the first ridge. I put blue ribbons to guide me and chopped down most things that were in my way. It is going to be quite a project!
- ▼ May (7)