Kuli’ou’ou Ridge | Lanai Lookout | June 16, 2018
On Curtis’ days off, he leaves his alarm set for 5am just so we have the option to get up and get an early start on a hike. This has yet to happen, but maybe someday… When I finally roll out of bed (because I’m the early bird in this relationship) the first thing I do is look out the kitchen windows and check out the cloud situation. How much of the Ko’olaus are obstructed today? Today, I was first struck by the sunrise colors coming in through our front window that I grabbed my camera and took a few pictures. Then I turned around and low and behold…the entire ridge was clear! I could see every single peak, including the elusive “K2,” the highest peak in the Ko’olaus that NEVER shows its face on Curtis’ day off! I immediately told Curtis he had to get up, made some breakfast and prepared for a hike.
However, as much as we’d like to attempt the Ko’olaus highest peak, a long hike wasn’t what we wanted for this Saturday. Curtis had to work early the next morning, so we didn’t want to spend our entire day hiking. Instead, we decided to hike Wiliwilinui, another peak along the Ko’olau ridge. We loaded the car and began our drive. And that’s when we realized…we couldn’t see the peaks anymore. Just like that, within a half hour of them all being visible, they vanished in the clouds.
We were disappointed, but altered our plans and continued with the drive. Curtis mentioned another peak but didn’t know the name, just the general area. I looked it up in our hiking book and thought I found it, so I directed him to the trailhead. It turned out to be at the end of a congested residential street where we definitely didn’t feel safe parking. Curtis looked at the book and saw this wasn’t the hike he had been thinking of, but neither this one nor the one he wanted appealed to us now. We decided to go back to our original plan of Wiliwilinui and hopped on H1.
We drove up the winding residential street that goes up a ridge where the trail begins. We reached the guard house protecting the exclusive neighborhood at the end of the road, and only then realized we needed IDs to hike this trail…which we had both forgotten to bring. It was now getting later, we no longer had an “early start” and we couldn’t see the mountains. But we’re no quitters, so we went with a familiar and safe option: Kuli’ou’ou. It was sure to be more popular, but at this point we just needed to do something.
We hiked straight up with minimal stops, mostly waiting for people to descend the narrow steps towards the end of the trail. We arrived at the end and found it completely socked in with clouds, but also vacant of people, so we sat and enjoyed the silence. This has happened both times we’ve hiked this ridge together, but both times we’ve found that our patience at the peak pays off. The clouds were moving fast and there were several times when gaps would reveal views in different directions. We were alone, and we were happy.
Such is life these days. We make plans, and our plans change frequently and are often outside our control, but we always find a way to make the most of the circumstances. We don’t really plan ahead for our weekend adventures because we never know what the weather may do. We try to plan ahead for little getaways, but never commit until we hear the final word (because the final word is always “no” hahaha). When our plans are cancelled, we compromise and just go for an old familiar hike, followed by homemade poke or fish tacos.
When we lived in other places, we rarely liked to repeat hikes because there’s always something new we could do instead, but here I’m glad to have so many go-tos that we can fall back on. I personally have done both Makapu’u Lighthouse and Ka’iwa Ridge 8 times, and many others at least twice.
We hiked back to our car and began our drive home. We made one other stop at Lanai Lookout, a pull off along the South shore that we hadn’t visited before. While it did provide great views and a fun place to walk on, we were saddened by the amount of trash that was everywhere. Not just bottles and cans, but plastic and paper trash littered all around. That and the missing letterbox put a bit of a damper on this stop, but it is still beautiful.