|Don't loose your head...|
|Translation: Good times ahead!|
|THIS is the Kalena Trail Head|
Initially the trail just follows an old dirt road until you reach a washed out section of colorful crumbly rock. There's really no trail here, just make your way upwards to the apex and you'll find the trail that will take you through a forest of introduced formosan koa. Right away it becomes clear that this will be a long, tough, and brutal climb to the summit of O'ahu's second highest peak.
|I guess this is it...|
The trail climbed steadily until we joined a ridge. Making a left turn at the ridgeline the trail continued up towards the first peak of the trail. Along the way there's a somewhat narrow section with a steep drop on the right and a painful drop into some christmas berry on the left. I didn't think it was that bad at all. My partner II has a healthy fear of heights and he remained upright here as well. Just before the peak there is a small climb. I relied upon the numerous hand and foot holds to get me up. This has to be the section that all the fuss is about. Honestly, I was expecting far, far, far, more. This wasn't the nerve tingling ridge walk I'd been promised in the articles I'd read. Don't get me wrong, there's some real potential for disaster if you slip but the dire warnings I'd read about crawling had me prepared to break out in a cold sweat as I traversed a sketchy, crumbly ridge with 1000' drops on either side of me. I was actually little disappointed. This part is actually worse going down than up in my humble opinion.
|A Look Back|
|Here's where the route becomes clear.|
|Naval Magazine Lualualei|
|Looking across the saddle to Kalena|
Continuing down we had to negotiate a large fallen tree across the trail. Near the bottom we passed though a very dry looking saddle. I really enjoyed this dry saddle and it's ohia. There were quite a few blooms to enjoy. This is the very last chance you'll have to stroll leisurely along the ridge because the final brutal assault on Kalena resumes at the base.
|Very symmetric ohia in the dry section|
The trail resumed climbing steeply again into a mixed native and introduced forest. I spotted a massive kāwaʻu tree. My phone serves as a scale of the huge trunk on this monster.
There's a brief boggy ridge section filled with natives until the very last short but steep climb up to the summit of Kalena. Another first for me in this area of the trail, a cloud forest with moss covered Lehua Ahihi, metrosideros tremuloides. All the others I've seen are dominated by standard issue metrosideros polymorpha.
|Lehua Ahihi cloud forest|
|Pu'u Kalena Summit|
|O'ahu's highest peak, Ka'ala viewed from the second highest.|
The guest log and a huge ohia trunk coated in moss.
|Waianae from the summit|
|Poor little rabbit.|
The rest of the trail was uneventful and we arrived safely at our cars with just a couple minor scrapes.
On the way down Kolekole road I spotted something unusual- a black rabbit on the side of the road. I stopped and tried to coax it close enough to catch it but it wouldn't let me get close enough. After five minutes I gave up. Poor little guy, obviously it was a pet a some point. A short time later I spotted a small group of pigs along the side of the road which bolted into the brush. All and all a great day on a great trail! That rabbit would have been a nice addition to the family though!
I shot lots of video but this week is crazy and I'm running out of patience with my computer. I'll try and get something together later.
Aloha and thanks for reading, as always, more pictures of this trail and others I've done can be seen at Flickr.