Sunday, January 25, 2009

Olomana Hike

On Saturday, we did Olomana. My computer is acting up so yesterday i just stayed off of it and let the virus programs run. It still isn't fixed, but I'll at least type about what I've done. No pictures yet, but when I fix the computer, then I'll have them up.

I didn't really know if I would be doing anything on saturday because Mits said he might be busy and no one else said they would come. Luckily, Mits was able to go do stuff on saturday, and we decided to hike Olomana. I'd looked up info on how to get to the trail head, so I went to Kahala to get him, and we took a trip down to Kailua.

*If you wanna hear about hiking, then skip this part. This is the part where I talk about cameras.* I asked Mits to bring his DSLR, but he didn't know where or what make it was. It turned out to be a really good Canon EOS Rebel Xti. He let me use it while we hiked, so we both took pics with it. Before, I was debating on whether or not to get a DSLR, but after seeing his pictures, I got a Nikon D40 off of craigslist. I was just using a Pentax Optio W60 to take all my pictures, a $300, 10 MP point and shoot, and I like it because it's waterproof to 13 feet. However, the pictures have a good amount of noise. Since I barely need the waterproofness when hiking unless it rains or we come to a stream or something, I decided to get a camera dedicated more to imaging, so I looked for a DSLR an ended up with the D40. The optio W60 or the Olympus tough brand cameras are the perfect cameras for hitting up the beach. Olympus caps their video length at 30 seconds, though, so I didn't want to get that camera. Now onto the hike...

We went down the Pali highway and basically went to the Luana Hills Country club. You need to park before the bridge because they will tow your car if you don't. We got there at around 9 and took a 5 minute walk past the bridge, up the road until we got to the guard shack. There was another guy behind us who came to hike Olomana by himself, and the guard didn't stop us. All he said was to enjoy our hike. We went up the road about a mile in, and came upon the trail head sign on the left. We followed the dirt path in and got to a fork where one path was marked with fresh pink ribbons and the other had a fallen tree on it, so we followed the ribbon path. That was where we made our mistake. Because we followed the pink ribbons, we were off trekking the Maunawili trail, not the Olomana trail. After following the ribbons through a forest, up the side of Olomana, and to a barbed wire fence, we were lost. We hopped the barbed wire fence and found more ribbons further on. We wandered around for an hour and a half, and were seemingly on the right trail, since we saw ribbons, but the Olomana's peaks became more and more visible, which meant that we were going the wrong way. We ran into two hunters, about 10 hunting dogs, and asked a hunter what trail we were on, to which he replied, "uhh...this is the Maunawili trail." Damn. We were on the wrong trail, and had wasted and hour and a half trying to get up to nothing. We wandered around for a little more and climbed through the trees and bushes all the while getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. I could actually see the cloud of mosquitoes following Mits. Every branch we touched was brittle and easily broken. After breaking a branch off and stumbling, we discovered that the hollow innards of the branch had been burrowed out by ants that swarmed out and all over our hands, but surprisingly didn't bite us. There was no trail to follow and we just wandered aimlessly, trying to find the path to the summit of Olomana. Finally, Mits wanted to leave because he was hungry so we decided to give up and just go back down. We would have to come back later and find the correct trail to Olomana.

So we stumbled around to find the last place we saw with a ribbon and go back out. We passed two other people coming up who warned us not to take a wrong turn further down. We thought that there was only one way to go and wondered what they were talking about since there was the marked ribbon path and the unmarked, tree-in-the-way path. Returning back and almost to the trail head, we see two guys, two girls, and their three dogs come up. The guy in the front, which we later learned to be Pat, asked us how it was up at the summit. We explained to him how we got lost and gave up, and he enthusiastically suggested that we accompany the four of them to the summit of Olomana. It was up to Mitsuo, since he was hungry, and he didn't mind so we were on our way to the summit of Olomana with Pat and his friends. By then, it was already about 12:30 so we went without breakfast or lunch that day; all I brought was three Special K 90 calorie bars because I didn't expect to get lost or go with Pat to the top.

So we followed Pat and his friends along with the three Hungarian Vizslas, Kira, Copper, and Gatsby, to the top. The dogs were very playful and energetic. Kira, the only girl of the three, is also older, and Pat took her on the Olomana trail before, so she blazed through the trail. As we approached the fork with the ribbon trail and the tree-in-the-way trail, Pat led us over the tree and up that trail. We felt so stupid because we couldn't deduce that the tree-in-the-way trail was still hikeable. Anyways, the path is defined and straight up from there. There are about 4 or 5 sections on the way to the top of the first peak that involve climbing, and there are ropes on those sections to help. The dogs went up those parts quicker than the rest of us because of their superior paws and grip. There was one part where they were just waiting for us to come up, and when Mits and I were at the same level of Copper, he slipped. We grabbed him, but he slipped out of our hands. Fortunately, we slowed his fall down and he was back up the wall in no time. Pat helped the dogs up a more difficult rock climbing part later on. After the climbing parts, the trail returns to just dirt and rocks, then comes to the final climb to the summit of the first peak, a near vertical rock wall about 15 feet high. You could use the ropes on there, but remember not to rely on them too much in case they break. After the near vertical, you climb another easier rock wall and are finally at the top of the first peak of Olomana, about 1600 feet. Only Kira was experienced enough to come up to the top, and even she needed help from Pat. The two girls waited with Copper and Gatsby as the four of us and Kira went up. It was about 2:00 then, and Mits was even hungrier, so we decided not to hike the second and third peaks, but will come back another day to do them. I'll be sure to get some good pics when we do all the peaks later on. When the guys came down, they watched Copper and Gatsby so the girls could go up. Pat and his friend sat around and shared stories with us at the bottom of the near vertical rock wall. We later thanked them and were on our way back down. It took about an hour for the trip back down, and we were hungry, but very satisfied that we essentially did two hikes in the six hours we were out. Many thanks to Pat and his friends, and also the three Vizslas who made our hike to Olomana the most memorable of all the hikes Mits and I have been on. Pat told me he wanted to do the Dupont hike, and Mits and I would be happy to go with him, but we didn't give him our numbers or emails. If Pat ever reads this, give me an email and we can go hike Dupont one day.

Ok here we go i got the pictures up-

We parked here...

went across the bridge...

and to the guard house

this is the last picture i took before we got lost and the trail we went on wasn't really worth taking pics anyway

now round 2 going up with Pat

This is either Copper or Gatsby. Kira had a collar on so we could tell which was her.

the near vertical rock climbing part

Looking back down the climb

At the top of the first peak and the highest point of Olomana

Panorama. You actually have a 360 degree view up there