Saturday, July 25, 2020

Manana Ridge Trail

Ok, next up we're checking out another O'ahu hiking trail, the Manana Ridge Trail in Pearl City's Pacific Palisades neighborhood. The neighborhood is a midcentury subdivision up in the hills, essentially surrounded by steep cliffs on all sides, and the only road from the outside world comes from the next ridge over, which takes a steep dip into valley between them. Bus 53 was really not enjoying those slopes when I took it to & from the trailhead. A protip is necessary for the bus ride: The stop you want to get off at is called "Auhuhu St. & Komo Mai Drive". On the way there, there will be an announcement for a stop at "Komo Mai Drive & Auhuhu St." Do not get off here. It's a completely different intersection, and if you get off the bus here you've just added another mile of distance and 300 feet of elevation to your hike, for no good reason. Never ask me how I learned this interesting random fact.

Like a lot of ridge hikes, the trailhead is at the upper end of the subdivision, and the initial bit doubles as a service road for water & utilities. The trail was uncrowded (by O'ahu standards) the day I was there, and the other hikers seemed to be a mix of neighborhood residents, often walking their dogs, and young people headed for the swimming hole at Waimano Falls, which is off on a steep side trail down from the ridge. I wasn't headed for the falls that day and skipped the side trip, and I did not encounter a single other human being on the stretch of trail past that trail junction. I don't know how typical that is, but it was nice at the time. Another reason to recommend this hike is that the views are different than what you see on the various trails closer to central Honolulu or Waikiki. In one direction you're looking back at Pearl Harbor, and in another direction you have a view across Central Oahu toward the Waianae Range that roughly parallels the Ko'olaus.

A problem I keep running into, when dealing with posts that have been floating around in Drafts for a while, is that I don't necessarily have a razor-sharp memory of the whole excursion now, and I don't want to give out inaccurate directions for a place where going the wrong way means either a much longer and tougher hike than you were expecting, or a much shorter hike and much longer plummet than you were expecting. So instead of me trying to replay the whole thing from memory, here are pages about the trail at The Hiking HI and The Hiking Project, and several local blog posts about the hike. There are actually two Alltrails pages about it, the first covering a popular initial segment of the trail, and the latter covering the whole trip up to the Ko'olau summit. I seem to recall that I turned around somewhere between those two turnaround points, but I don't recall where exactly. I tend to make that call based on how fast I'm going through drinking water, and how much remaining daylight I have to work with, and whether any knees or ankles or other aging body parts need to turn around, and whether the weather seems sketchy where I'm currently at or where I'm headed.

In any case, if you get an early start and are feeling sufficiently hardcore, and obviously if you have transportation lined up, at the summit you can turn left or right and do a segment of the Ko'olau Summit Trail (which runs the entire length of the Ko'olaus and thus the island) and cut in on another ridge trail, ending up at a different trailhead in a different suburb. I think I'd like to try that at some point, but so far the best I've managed is just getting to the summit, on a different trail I haven't posted about yet, and first I'll need to get back in shape after being holed up at home for months trying to wait out the current pandemic, and even then I might talk myself out of it after watching a few of those alarming KST GoPro videos. In short, don't hold your breath waiting for those photos, as it's likely to be a while.