Sunday, April 10, 2011

4-10-2011: Kamiloiki Ridge to Tom-Tom

After hiking Kaupo Cliffs to Hahaione Windward last Sunday, it was rather bothersome with the fact that I still haven't hiked the Tom-Tom Trail.  My last "attempt" to hike this route was via the Makapu'u Ridge, which was back in late 2008.  Ever since then, the trail has been long forgotten in my never ending list of hikes to do.  Tom-Tom is a windward ridge situated between the terminus of Kamiloiki and Mariner's Ridge.  When one thinks of a Ko'olau windward ridge, one imagines: steep, rock climbing, free climbing, crumbly rocks, ripping loose vegetation from their roots as a climber scrambles for a good hand hold, Piliwale Ridge, etc. etc.  If you're not an experienced climber, but yet want to see what it's like to hike up and over the Ko'olaus, Kamiloiki Ridge to Tom-Tom is an excellent choice.  This was probably the same route messengers of kings used to relay messages between Waimanalo and the area making up Hawaii Kai.  Also in the end, the Tom-Tom trailhead (Kaupo Cliffs also starts from the same trailhead) spits you out within walking distance to Kalanianaole Rd. and Keneke's, an excellent post hike venue for food and refreshments!

On this grey and gloomy day, Francis Jimenez and I decided to take a leisurely stroll up and down this route.  In fact, with all the dilly daddling we did on this hike, we ended up taking longer than we should have taken.  But hey, nothing wrong with that!  With an 8:30am shove off time at Pahua Heiau at the end of Makahuena Place, we embarked on a 2.5 mile ramble to the Ko'olau summit ridge.  We talked stories of past hikes, GoPro setups, and the like.  I recalled my last hike up this ridge being one of the hottest hikes I've done on the Ko'olaus as there wasn't a single cloud in the sky.  Today was the complete opposite, the sky being a rather depressing grey tone, sucking away all the vibrant colors of the surrounding landscape had the sun been shining.  While photo ops were nearly nonexistant, it made for a comfortable hike with nice cool trades.

Before we knew it, we were at the the summit ridge with a stale view of Waimanalo Town and Bay.  We took a short break and as we were about to push off westward along the summit ridge, two local wahines appeared from the brushes, huffing and puffing as they made their final strides to the summit.  This was their first time on Kamiloiki Ridge.  It's too bad that the sun wasn't shining to really reveal the colors of Waimanalo Bay.  Next time!

We said our goodbyes and off we went towards Tom-Tom.  While the sky was overcast everywhere, the clouds did not sock the summit ridge until Pu'u O Kona and Bear Claw, where the clouds shrouded and revealed repeatedly.  As we got to the bottom of the saddle between Kamiloiki and Tom-Tom, I pointed out the topping out point of KauFaux Cliffs to Francis.  Gnarly!  I like!  Farther ahead we saw 2 hikers pop out at the Tom-Tom terminus and began heading in our direction.  After a short chat, we realized they were heading towards Kamehame Ridge, the ridge that houses the hang glider launch point.  We parted ways and came across the big water chute that heads down windward.  We fooled around here for a bit with the camera, posing as if we were to slide down this giant "waterslide".  Finally we made our last climb to the junction of Tom-Tom Trail at around 12:30pm.  Down below, Waimanalo Town beckoned and I could make out the red and white building of Keneke's.  "Das our lunch down there right?" I said to Francis.  He instantly agreed as we both opted out having breakfast this morning!

At this point, I didn't know what to expect on Tom-Tom.  But many people have ascended or descended this route so I expected it to be not bad at all.  Almost immediately, there is probably the only narrow dike on this entire ridge and it's not even required.  The trail contours over on it's left and Francis took the "low road" while I opted to walk over the narrow dike.  From there, the ridge descended quickly towards the residential area below.  While the ridge is steep, it never required 4 point climbing.  I would say the Graveyard Ridge of the Pu'u Manamana Loop Trail is probably more difficult.

Down down we went and we reached one last clearing before we made the rest of the descent through Haole Koa trees and other introduced vegetation.  I wanted to point out the junction of the trail leading to Kaupo Cliffs but we were so into our conversation that I didn't realize we were already at Manawaiola St.  The time was around 1:30pm.

We walked over to Keneke's for lunch and took the #57/#23 bus back to our starting point in Hawaii Kai.  Overall, this was a great stroll!  If you are craving for Keneke's and live near the Kamiloiki Ridge Trail and don't feel like driving, give this hike a try!


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