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Ko’olaus Calling!

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A hiker pauses on the KST on a spectacular clear day.                                      Endemic Hawaiian vegetation rules!                   Central Koʻolaus: Peering over the edge down the windward side.

For hikers on O’ahu, the Ko’olaus always beckon us as they are a constant presence as we go about our daily lives. Summer days can offer ideal weather for a chance to sample stunning views and have memorable experiences. Ascending one of the ridge trails, in a short time the downsides of civilization leave us quickly and the wonders of our unique Hawaiian ecosystem surround us. Best bets for enjoying our mountains safely are to take advantage of the Nā Ala Hele state trail system or hook up with an organized weekend hike with the Hawaii Trail and Mountain or Sierra Club. Lots to learn from these experienced folks! Following sections of the Koʻolau Crest is a step up in adventuring and needs to be undertaken only with caution and careful preparation.  The Ko’olau Summit Trail contours along both sides of  part of the crest from Pūpūkea to Kīpapa and is a challenging and strenuous journey. Continuing further along the summit crest from that point is an epic adventure and can be very hazardous.  Two excellent resources are Stuart Ballʻs Guide to Hiking Oahu and his fascinating companion book on the history of Oahu trails. Head for the hills!