Got An Extra Hour, An Urge to Expend Some Energy While Overlooking Lanikai Beach?
Judging by the number of used Hawaii hiking books I see at yard sales and such, people must be buying, using, and then passing them on to other enthusiasts. Almost every guest I’ve had wants to include this activity, even though they can hardly pull themselves off our beautiful beaches. Then it becomes a matter of choosing a hike that is best for them. I find that most aren’t up for the more advanced mountain hikes that can last for hours. Now they are amazing, but need preparation and good conditioning on the hikers part. So this Windward hike can be absolutely perfect for just about anyone who can get over the Ko’olau mountains for just a short part of the day. The Ka’iwa Ridge is official name in case you want to check it out on Google maps.
If you have already been to Diamond Head, that structure on the top is also a pillbox, one of several built between the World Wars to act as lookouts. The two overlooking Lanikai are not part of a state facility so they seem to change color on a regular basis, depending on what group is out there doing graffiti and pranks.
morning, evening and full moon views from top of pillbox
My first time hiking this 600 foot ridge with my much better conditioned girlfriend and dog, was heart throbbing to say the least, but that’s because I was trying to keep up with her. But that’s what is so great about this hike, even doing it at a slow pace won’t take that much longer to go up and back, unless like a lot of people, you can’t seem to drag yourself away from the view to make the return trip. And not only does the top ridges give amazing 360 degree views, the breezes up there will cool off any overheating you have from the trip up. Now 600 feet may seem high for flatlanders, but this hike gets most of the hard work out of the way in the first few minutes of uphill scrambling, which some great soul made easier for all of us by installing a new rope line to hold on to. This part of the hike has been where I’ve made most of my bottom bouncing moves when coming back down. But not anymore!
sunstreams at sunset over the mountains, dry ridge path, peak inside the box’
I advise hikers who vacationing in Hawaii during the summer to go very early or right before dark. (The advantage of the sunset walk is the amazing view of the sun going down behind the Ko’olau mountains.) I have experienced heat exhaustion several times due to underestimating the heat of the sun (& I live here & have no excuse for that). I’ve also seen dogs experience this too, so take water for everyone. But I’ve also seen children just barely able to walk, and seniors of advanced age get up and down this hike and have the best time! So don’t let anything stop you from giving it a try. To find the exact starting spot use your map/GPS and put in 382 Kaelepulu Drive. Be careful to park off the road, take your camera, maybe a walking stick, and then brag to your friends back home about your world class walk you took.
Posted by: Bruce Fisher