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Keaau Ridge

Wiliwili Tree in Keeau, Seen while Hiking in Hawaii#1

We hiked through a beautiful forest on the Leeward side of Oahu.

Hikers on Keaau Ridge, Oahu, Hawaii#2

Following the ridge, we summitted Pu’u Keaau.

Ryan descends Pu'u Keaau Middle Ridge, a Hawaii Hike on Oahu#3

We hiked across a saddle in the ridgeline and descended Keaau Middle Ridge.

Descending from a ridge hike in Hawaii#4

Above
Hiking to the summit of Pu’u Keaau and down the Middle Ridge with: Lei, Chenay, Pete, Chase, Ryan and August. Leeward side of Oahu, Hawaii.

It was a long hike that took most of the day. Keaau is a Hawaii ridge hiker’s dream.

With the heavy rain we had in Hawaii this season, the Waianae Mountains were as green as I’ve ever seen them. It was a perfect time to hike them and my friend Pete had a hike planned.

There are a different ways to hike this area. We did a loop that goes up the front of Pu’u Keaau, turns left (sort of) into a saddle in the ridgeline and then back down Keaau Middle ridge. We were on the trail for something like 8 hours.

#5

Pete knew the trail and lead us up Keaau Ridge. The crew for this hike: Lei, August, Ryan, Chenay, Chase and Pete on this hike.

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We started at a stream bed.

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Pete lead us through this forest to the base of Pu’u Keaau.

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With no real warm up time, we were making our way up the 2,650 foot tall mountain.

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The summit of Keaau came into view and we wanted to get to it as quickly as possible.

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We got a chance to catch our breadth as we traversed this small foresty area.

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And then it was back to climbing.

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I don’t think these mountains typically look this green. The cows and goats in Keaau must have been as happy about this site as we were.

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Taking advantage of the cooler morning air, we kept pushing up the mountain.

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During the hike up, we encountered some protruding dike formations that we had fun scrambling over. We would see a lot more of this later on.

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Looking back periodically I could see stunning views of the ocean. I could also wave for Ryan and Lei’s cameras. And I could also give them a break from looking at my butt.

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Onward and upward.

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Onward and upward.

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Onward and upward.

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Break time. We were not yet at the summit but we were hungry.

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The closer to the top of Pu’u Keaau we were, the more amazing the views were of this incredible ridge.

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Rock dike formations abound in these hills.

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If your balance is a good as Chenay’s you can peer step out to get a better view. But, not too many people have balance as good as Chenay.

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Most of these dikes have contour trails that run beside them. Sometimes we contour, sometimes we climb.

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Just a bit more hiking and scrambling and we would be at the top of Keaau.

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Chase inspects the dike here to see if it would be better to rock hop or contour around it.

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In this case, the contour was the better option.

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At the summit of Pu’u Keaau we stopped for lunch.

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We then continued along the ridge that dips down into a saddle and then hits Keaau Middle Ridge.

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Pete and Chase checked out the geocache. Amongst the items in it was a journal that listed hikers that have passed this mark.

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You could see all of Waianae from the top.

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The ridge was clear of growth but there were significant drop offs on either side.

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We set off to find the junction to Keaau Middle Ridge.

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Along the ridge we would pass through shrubbery. Nothing that required bushwhacking though.

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And then, a cliff.

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There was a trail that lead down the side of the cliff that made it safe to pass.

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At this lookout point we broke for a snack.

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From here we could look back and see the ridge we had just hiked. This is Pu’u Keaau.

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Way off in the distance we could see a waterfall.

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We hiked over this red mound to find our trail junction.

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Our objective was this peak. To the right of the peak you can see a point. That’s the summit of Ohikilolo. (You can learn about hiking to Ohikilolo on Josh’s 808 Goonies blog.)

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We hiked up another red mound.

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The spines of the Wainae mountains have a different character than the Kooloaus.

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One last scramble and we would be at the peak.

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Lunch, part deux.

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August and Pete look off into the distance at some hikers they spotted on Ohikilolo.

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After a much needed break, spent eating and talking story, we made our way down Keaau Middle Ridge.

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Some parts are forested and some are exposed.

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There were ropes in place on several sections that help in getting down slippery sections.

Hikers in Hawaii on Keeau Middle Ridge, Oahu Hawaii#49

The middle ridge is a beautiful hike in itself.

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After a couple hours of descending down the ridge we were finally on level ground.

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We walked down the dirt road passing cows and a huge bull.

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It was late afternoon and we were happy to be closer to sea level.

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The views we saw on the trail were majestic. Almost as good as seeing your car still in the place you parked it after a long hike.

See also:

This story was last modified on May 12, 2014. (Originally published in April 2012.)

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