Hiking 808: Kamilo Iki ridge to Ko’olau Summit Trail (KST) to Kamilo Nui Gulch – 13 OCT 2013.
Warning. Not safe for work. Photoshoot images contain partial nudity.
A year ago, my “sister” (Chosen Sister), my Husband N and Max the Bear hiked a oft neglected hike in East Oahu, Kamilo Iki. We entered the trail from the base of the Pahua Heiau (Hawaiian cultural site/temple) in the Kamilo Iki neighborhood in Hawaii Kai and then tramped up the jutting ridgeline to the Ko’olau Summit Trail (KST) where we stopped for an impromptu semi-nude “warrior” photo session.
The reason why we felt the need to shoot naked photos on top of a mountain wrapped in clouds: both of us had been through a roller coaster of a life. The kind of life that would normally debilitate someone and their self-esteem. It was important for both of us to remember that when we’re stripped down to the skin, covered in dirt and surrounded by shadows and rain, we’re still beautiful, powerful and essentially ourselves. We are powerful, women. We carry the world, create life, fight notions and ideas of what we should be, work multiple jobs and functions in our lives, live amongst double standards, and still stand. Instead of being ashamed of our bodies and our minds, shouldn’t we embrace the fact that we’re women? We are warriors, womenfolk. Particularly the woman in the pictures.
From this section of the “KST,” you get a great 180 view of the East Shore near Waimanalo (east southeast Oahu) and the 3 mile stretch of white sand beaches and the azure waters off the coast up to Kailua and heavenly legendary Lanikai beach. However, on this day, despite the blazing heat we endured down at sea level, and which beat down on us while we ascended, the summits were wreathed in fog and our visibility was poor.
With the summit ensconced in clouds and moisture, however, it made for pretty dramatic light–perfect for a silhouette-y, sexy, contrasty beast-mode photo shoot… and for cooling down Maxey, whose bear fur had caused him to overheat and put in danger of heat stroke (or expiration… scariest hike by far, just for that reason, despite the absolutely near zero-fatal factor). It was insanely hot up to the point we reached the treeline and my sister and I had to remove our shirts. I blended into the background with my nude hiking bra and green pants. Natural camo.
After our rest, we hiked down and back into the neighborhoods by descending through Kamilu Nui gulch, using a poorly marked, overgrown neglected trail–which I’m confident only pigs and maybe 1 or 2 lost hikers ever used to hike down into the farmlands in the back of the large valley in Hawai’i Kai. Overall, an okay hike. I’d do it again, but I’d bring more water and go on a more overcast day and leave the Bear Dog at home.
- Fitness level required: Intermediate. The ascent and descents have a bit of a roller coaster factor, and if you’re not naturally fit or used to climb, this hike could be hard for you. Most experienced hikers on Oahu would qualify this trail as easy, but for the average recreational hiker or casual hiker, this hike may not be your cup of tea. You gotta work on this one if you’re just a novice hiker like me.
- Bug Factor: Not so bad – Bring bug spray for the gulch
- Safety Factor: Meh – it’s fine as long as you stay on the trail and keep a good distance from the cliffs once you reach the summit.
- Sun Factor: It can get hot and there is very little shade for about 1.5 miles for the first part of the ridgeline. Wear a hat and arm coverings (I hike in a rash guard – UPF 50), bring plenty of water and sunscreen and avoid being on the trailhead and the first 1.5 miles during the peak hours of the day (10AM – 3PM), especially if it’s going to be sunny. I’d advise to leave your pets at home unless it’s overcast that day, otherwise they could get sunstroke. Max almost died. One of our other friend’s dogs had to be rescued from this trail due to sunstroke.
- Photogenic Factor: If the summits are clear, you’ll get a great panoramic at the top.
Me ke aloha ~ With love + aloha + live pono,