Since Hawai'i SOTA kicked-off 1 Sept 2013, I have tried to figure out my next peak to activate. I settled on OH-013, Pu'ulanipo (commonly referred to as just Lanipo). Warning: This is not a summit for beginners. I was able to get some idea of this hike from various blogs from local hikers and from Stuart Ball Jr's guide book (pg 26). You can also search for Mau'umae Trial. The consensus that this hike is a "roller coaster" was right on the mark. Pack plenty of water. I lost about 8 pounds (sweat) on this hike and ran out of water on the way down. Although I told my wife exactly where I was going and when I would return, I broke a cardinal rule of hiking by going alone. Nevertheless, I had a good time and made it home in one piece.
I parked on Maunalani Circle at 5:40 am with the ill-conceived notion that I could knock this hike out and be home by lunch. Did I mention this hike is 7+ miles round trip and over 2000 feet elevation gain? When I started it was still dark outside except for the light from the waning moon present in the clear sky. Accessing the right-of-way to the trail head, I had to break out my cell phone to use it's light to keep me from tripping over the roots between the two chain-link fences.
Upon reaching the first vantage point of the hike I could see the eastern sky beginning to lighten. As I carefully made the first significant descent I could hear the chickens announcing the day's beginning down on my left in the Palolo Valley neighborhood. Ascending, and descending became the name of the game. Highlights of the hike were the many great vistas of Honolulu to include Diamond Head. There were also many flowers along the way which allowed me to stop occasionally and enjoy the view. I especially liked the sound of the wind as I passed through the stands of Ironwood and pine trees. As I approached the summit I saw the impressive Kaau Crater to the west with its waterfall leading down to the valley below. It was at this point that I realized this was the first time on O'ahu that I felt somewhat isolated. I had not seen another hiker on the trail. Aside from the occasional drone from a passing aircraft, all I could hear was the wind, birds, and insects.
After taking in the view of Kaneohe at the summit of the Mau'umae Trail, take a right to head for Lanipo (do not go straight or your hiking days are over). The trail from here to the summit (about .2 miles) is a hair-raising endeavor over two smaller peaks up the saddle. To the left of this trail is a precipice of life-ending proportions; at least a 200-250 foot near straight drop off. The low, heavy vegetation coupled with slippery footing requires acute attention to what you are doing. Take your time!
The 3.5 mile hike up took me about 3.5 hours, and 2 hours down. I do not think I will be back to Lanipo anytime soon or at least not until I shed some weight from my 35 pound pack. I enjoyed the hike, bucket list checked, but this trail kicked my butt. If I am able to reach all the summits on O'ahu, then maybe I will reconsider giving this one another go. I will be sure to bring someone who has not yet faced this peak to share the adventure.
Safe hiking and 73,
Allen - KH7AL
Thanks to those who helped me activate this summit for the first time.
18.165 MHz, times approximated:
Ball, Stuart M. Jr (2000). The Hikers Guide to O'ahu, Revised Edition. University of Hawai'i Press.