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kuliou'ou to wiliwilinui


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Pu'u O'Kona, our first destination

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Kulepiamoa ahead

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Olomana off the side to the distance

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Neat tree bridge

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Hawaii Loa coming up

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Last stop: WiliwiliNui

We got our earliest start thus far at 8am on an incredibly clear and cool day.  Hitting the Kuliou'ou switchbacks at a steady pace we ascended to the top in about an hour.  I figured if I stopped to take pictures at each of the peaks, we'd have enough of a chance to catch our breaths.  The pictures to the left are in order of our journey as we crossed the summit.

The rope section on the way to Pu'u O'Kona was a little muddy but easily negotiated without need for the rope assistance.   Beyond that the Windward side really starts to come into view, first Kanehoalani, then Olomana, then Konahuanui!  It was a really nice day but there was some haze in the air limiting the far off views.  Reaching Pu'u O'Kona rather quickly I was worried that like the last time I was there, I wouldn't be able to find the trail continuing on, but there it was!  Thanks to whoever did the trail clearing along the summit!

We dropped down into the saddle on the way to Kulepiamoa and shot up the steep climb on the opposite side.  By this time my pants were soaked from the moisture on the leaves as we passed through, and my toes were already squishing through the little pools of water in my shoes.  From here we dropped down into the smaller saddle on the way to Hawaii Loa.  It was right about this time that my right knee started to get sore...exactly like the other time when I was coming down Konahuanui.  But after a few minutes I was able to walk it off.   Up to Hawaii Loa we hiked and took another quick pit stop for pictures.  The clouds had started to come in rather quickly and I even felt a couple drops of rain now and then.

We continued on the last segment to Wiliwili Nui and back came that pain in my knee.   This time it lasted about 15 minutes and then it was gone again!  I slowed the pace a little to take it easier, but pretty soon it came back hard and I had to limp the rest of the hike!  What a drag!  Anyway, we got to Wiliwili Nui, took our snackbar lunch break and headed on down the mountain.  There were two other groups of people but other than them and another group we passed on Kuliou'ou, nobody else was on the trails!  Altogether a nice hike that I'd wanted to do for quite some time and a nice way to start the new year!

Date:  January 2, 1999
Time Duration:  5.75hours
Difficulty:  Blue
Danger: Blue

Notes:  I don't really like those Kuliou'ou switchbacks because they're pretty long, boring and can be really hot if the sun is beating down.  Once you obtain the ridge though, this hike was great!  From the top of Kuliou'ou 1 you can see from Makapu'u to Kaneohe.  Crossing the ridge to Pu'u O'Kona has that one eroded area but it's pretty easy to just scramble on up.  There are a couple areas with steep drops off one side but you'd be fine as long as you're careful.  Aside from the switchbacks there are a couple steeper climbs at Kulepiamoa and between Hawaii Loa and Wiliwili Nui.   That final section around Hawaii Loa is really overgrown.  I couldn't see the trail so I just stuck to the ridgeline.  The last steep climb was through a jungle!   But the clidemia make good handholds!