Monday, October 14, 2013

Tiki Ridge Hike - With a Twist

This past Saturday, Aaron and I decided to go on a hike. We wanted something challenging and wanted a trail where weather wouldn't be as much of a concern. The Tiki Ridge -> Unnamed Peak -> Kawiwi hike came to mind. Aaron wasn't able to come the last time with me and Nick, so it was a good opportunity for him to see the trail. This time, however, Nick wasn't able to go, so Aaron and I went out to Waiʻanae. There must be something about this side of the island because just as before, we deviated from the original plan, and this time turned out to be nothing like the previous time.

Since I was familiar with starting from Tiki Ridge and moving in the Diamond Head direction, Aaron agreed to follow the same path Nick and I did instead of doing the trail the typical way. We started off on the service road and made our way to the fourth station where the concrete road turns to dirt. Turning left, we ventured into the forest and trekked along the valley under the shady cover of tall trees. Eventually we came upon a fork where one ridge of the mountain began. To the left were some ribbons, and to the right were also ribbons. Since Nick led the way last time, I hadn't really paid attention, which was probably why I made the error of choosing to head left. We followed a path marked by pink and blue ribbons, some of which looked fresh. As Aaron and I followed the path, we looked for the trademark white & red caps along the way but found nothing except ribbons. We figured that since the path was marked, people have been there, and we also figured we would eventually get up to the ridge anyway, so we kept following the pink & blue ribbon path. Upon reaching another fork, we stayed left again and moved on. The path began to gain elevation quickly, which I remembered from the first time I went, but then the ribbons led us to a steep mountain face. The face looked very difficult and dangerous to climb up, so we moved up towards the left to try to find another path. We somehow found a way up; a little safer but still pretty dangerous. Looking back, we saw how far of a drop was below us, not even realizing how high we had climbed up. Along the way to the top of the section we were on, there was a section where you have to go across Assassin's Creed style - there was a rock jutting out about 4-6 inches, and you had a less than 1 foot wide area to step on, with a huge drop down the mountain underneath. To add to the challenge, the step was a reach where it was about 2 feet away. If it weren't for the drop looming below, this section would be as simple as the part on Olomana with the hole in the rock.

After getting across that sketchy section, we thought the trail would start to look more like what was on the Tiki Ridge trail - more cardio intensive than anything else. Instead, we encountered almost constant climbing sections with no shortage of loose rocks, narrow sections, and difficult holds - something like True Manamana's terrain mixed with Olomana's climbing sections. The entire trip up was more climbing than hiking and was challenging, both mentally and physically. We were focusing on not falling and calculating what our next moves would be all while trying to move quickly to get past loose and unstable sections. Along the way, I heard the telltale sound of a beehive. When I looked up between a small valley formed in the mountain, I saw the bees flying crazily around an area about 10 feet up. I definitely did not want to go through there and took a necessary detour along the side of the mountain where there were solid holds to get past the hive. Then, the top of the section seemed near; I could see more trees and plants above and fewer rocks and dirt. More and more leaves coated the ground as I move on up, and I finally reached the top - only to find out that it was a mini summit on the way to the Tiki Ridge trail. We still had a little more to climb up to get the the Tiki/Kawiwi trail. The rest of the way wasn't that bad at all, or not bad compared to what we just climbed. Some climbing here and there, but nothing major.

After finally getting onto the actual Tiki Ridge trail, we decided not to go down Kawiwi and go down Tiki instead. We had seen all the challenging, death-defying hiking we needed for the day and opted for an easier way down. We were also getting a little hungry, so we picked the way that we figured would be faster. On the way down Tiki Ridge and back into the forest, we ran into a hunter with his dogs. They came up a pig trail, and we talked for a little before some rustling in the forest put everyone on guard and he took off in pursuit.

We don't even know the name of the trail we took on the way up, but through the forest there were ribbons marked with "wk065" or something like that. It seems that others have been on the trail, and it's a pretty quick way up the mountain - we took about 2 hours to get from the area where we parked to the Tiki Ridge trail.

And I got pictures this time:

Some pictures might look a little distorted around the edges because I had the fisheye and just used a program to flatten them out.

^ After getting across the Assassin's Creed section - the picture may not accurately show the difficulty of this section.
^ Looking down on the way up - another case where you have to experience it yourself. The red thing around the center is Aaron climbing up.
^ Looking towards Kaʻala and the trail we were supposed to be on.
^ Looking back at Aaron on the Tiki Ridge trail - that dark green mountain section on the left is what we came up on.
^ Another picture looking at the section we ascended.