Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pu'u O Ehu

November 1, 2012

A few months ago I finally got around to climbing Pu'u O Ehu behind the Hamakua Marsh again here in my hometown of Kailua.  Back in high school I'd climbed this one several times and a few months ago I'd scouted out the bottom after walking the dike that keeps Kawainui Marsh and Kailua town separated.  I'd only climbed to the rock formation a short distance up from Kailua Road but the view had been stunning so I decided I'd have to return and continue the short ridge towards Enchanted Lake.

With winter approaching we've had many of those amazing still O'ahu days where the Ko'olaus are cloudless but the vog has been relentless!  Finally I had a free morning where the mountains seemed clear enough to try this short little hike out. 

Instead of walking I drove over to the Waimanalo side of the dike and parked the Jeep then walked makai on Kailua Road to reach a drainage ditch next to Windward Boats and Outboards.

After a few feet the ditch makes a sharp right.  I paused to say hello to the scruffy guy that lives up here in the bushes.  He'd just returned from the store with a brown bag full of beers.  After a short walk in the ditch I took a left to follow the ridge up past his small encampment.  I took a picture of the lawn chair but out of respect didn't of his tent and tarp home.

Contouring around the encampment, I followed the old barbed wire fence up the ridge to the rock formation overlooking Kawainui Marsh.

Na Pohaku O Kahalakea
According to legend this formation is sacred to the two Mo'o women of the marsh, Hauwahine and Kahalakea.

Na Pohaku O Hauwahine
Hauwahine is from the inland section of the marsh while Kahalakea is from the previous site of a hala grove which once stood where Kawainui and Ke'elepulu met before being separated from each other by the dike system that protects Kailua from flooding.

Where the waters of Kawainui and Ke'elepulu once met
According to legend, any person coming from the 'ili where Ka'elepulu and Kawainui met had royal blood and took precedence over other Ali'i.  This area was called Wai'auia.  Today it's home to a Windward Boats and Outboards- doesn't seem right does it?

From the rock formation the beauty of windward O'ahu in the morning sun was amazing!

I continued up the ridge a way to the foundation of a water tank that once stood on the hillside.

Curiously, there's a mailbox filled with bags and a message imploring people to clean up after their dogs.

Free baggies!
The view from the site of the old water tank was pretty nice too.

I departed the ruins of the water tank via the old access road to continue along the ridge.

Upon reaching the crest I discovered it had been graded and a new fence had been partially completed along the summit.  While not fresh, it's clear that the work isn't that old because the earth hasn't settled  yet.

The next stop was the summit of Pu'u O Ehu at a whopping 315 feet of elevation.

The triangulation station and the geodetic marker were required photographs of course!

One of the really great things about hiking this small hill is how it's situated right in the heart of Kailua's geography.

Despite it's small elevation it affords views of almost every feature of the area.  Among them:


Pu'u Halo
Pu'u Papa'a
Ulupa'u Crater- legendary birthplace of man
Ke'elepulu Pond
Hamakua Marsh
I continued the ridge to it's end where back in the 1950's it was graded out to make room for housing in Enchanted Lake before retracing my steps back the way I came.   Total mileage for the route was just over 1.5 and it was all easy terrain.  There's plenty of old rusty barbed wire so I had to constantly watch my step.

On the way out I had a brief conversation with the guy who's living in the tent about the weather.  I still had warm coffee sitting in a cup in my Jeep and he'd already started drinking beer.  To each his own I guess!

More pictures from this trail and others I've done can be viewed on Flickr.  Aloha and mahalo for reading!

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