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  1. #1
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    Oahu in February: Recommendations

    Hi - I'm headed to Oahu Feb 9-17, and hoping to ride for at least one of those days. Looking for recommendations on rentals. I'm 6'5", so I need an XL bike. Currently ride a Santa Cruz High Tower CC 29er. I'm staying in Waikiki, but I'll have a car. I'm in NJ, so I do mostly cross country/light all mountain riding, with an occasional trip to the ski resort parks. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations for rentals, tails, rides, etc.
    Thank you in advance.
    Last edited by surfer454; 12-23-2016 at 07:16 AM. Reason: clarified title

  2. #2
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    Only place left that rents decent mtb:
    Hawaii Rides Mountain bike rental MTB

    Get the bike, drive to north shore for sunset hills or peakcock flat, or take the bike back to waikiki for st louis height downhill.

    There are other options like mililani that is closer to the rental place, but you will need someone to show you the way. This is a xc epic.

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    Peacock flats is a hellacious road climb, i really hate that climb. It has almost no cover so will be hot. The kealia down hill that it goes to is fun, but technical, rocky in many places, pretty narrow and has some pretty good exposure as its a switchback trail up a steep face.
    As menioned elsewhere Sunset Hills is our go to for XC on oahu.
    The new "ohana trail" in Olomana is fun. new school flow style mostly. Its on the windward side which gets more rain though so conditions may be bad with mud. I cant recommend riding in the mud here, lots of clay. Short though.
    St louis is our after work town ride. Right in town. But takes us 40 minutes to ride the road up and 10 minutes of down hill, if that. The upper section is fast and smooth, but as you get lower it gets rockier and some technical sections.
    I havent been to millilani in ages. Stopped going after they started cracking down. Ive heard its eased up since, but havent gone.

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    Hi Loll, Thanks for the response. I will check out Hawaii Rides and see what they offer. I'd like to check out the North Shore, so I'll read about all the places you mentioned. Not so much into the xc epic.

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    I have an XL Salsa Spearfish 80/100mm xc race bike setup more like a trail bike than XC. I'm in Waikiki, if u wanna link up to do a ride I can show u around and let u use my spare bike. LMK. I'm avail weekends

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    Thank you very much. Much appreciated. That would be great. I'm staying in Waikiki, coming in on Feb 9th. I have no specific plans so I could ride any time. What's the best way to get in touch with you?

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    ill send a private message

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    Hi, I am also going to Waikiki the end of feburary, 1st time for me.

    Maybe i can go to St.Louis trail very early morning free from my wife. Is it the place good for 29er hardtail?
    i am a parttime mtber, usually ride roadbike but ride mtb marathon race 120km in 7 hours. crimb is not a problem but i never try the dh type ride. only single track in Japan or marathon.

    any advice would help me a lot.

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  9. #9
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    Yes, St Louis height can be ridden backward (clockwise). Look for map of the park online. Stay at the upper half of the park and dont decent to the bottom half. I used to race XC, and during the week, I trained at the top half and ride multiple laps at times for practice. There is a big tree swing at the middle. Look for that and you know you are on the right trail I am talking about. Do know that you are going uphill on a downhill trail, so downhiller will always have the right of way to go first. 29er hard tail is fine in this uphill direction.

    Also, you can ride the road from the bottom to the top. Take all the short cuts on the side street and you will hit all of the steepest parts of the road. When I was in really good shape, I can barely make it up those roads on my easiest gear. (Small ring up front and big cog in the back).

    Alternatively, you can take the bus or drive up too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rukomasa View Post
    Hi, I am also going to Waikiki the end of feburary, 1st time for me.

    Maybe i can go to St.Louis trail very early morning free from my wife. Is it the place good for 29er hardtail?
    i am a parttime mtber, usually ride roadbike but ride mtb marathon race 120km in 7 hours. crimb is not a problem but i never try the dh type ride. only single track in Japan or marathon.

    any advice would help me a lot.

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    like loll said stay high, you can go down below the park a bit and still be ok, but the lower you get, the rockier, technical it gets. If you end up going to low and get to the water tank with concrete access road, take the road and exit out the side gate by the faculty housing, i donnot recommend taking the trail on the left side of the concrete road for someone on a 29 hardtail who is not DH ability.
    If you can get to Waimanalo/kailua, the Olomana "Ohana" trail would be excllenet for 29 hardtail!

  11. #11
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    The Bike Shop (3 locations on Oahu) rents very good mountain bikes, see their online rental form. And check mtbhawaii.com for some bike trail info. with photos and videos.

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    Does the bike shop offer mountain bike rental? Their website shows toad and hybrids only. I have been recommending people to hawaii rides for their santa cruz heckler for this reason. May be not?

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    Loll, I suggest you look again, The Bike Shop has had excellent mountain bike rentals for the decade that I've lived here. Currently available, Epic 29, Stumpy 29, Stumpy 650b, Stumpy 6Fattie (27.5"+), Camber 29, Enduro 650b, Era 29(Womens epic), Rumor 29, Ruze 29, Fuse Expert 6Fattie (27.5+), Intense Tracer 27.5" Pro build, Intense Spider 27.5", and they even have the Turbo Levo Comp 6Fattie (a high performance e-mountain bike that was recently featured in a shred-tastic Coastal Crew video out of Vancouver Island, BC). Also, Rusty Chain Cyclery in Kailua has a small fleet of mountain bike rentals (or at least used to within the last couple years cuz my friend rented a Spesh Epic from them, and they had some Davinci's too.)

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    loll Klivic, Thanks. I deffinitly follow your guide. I couldnt find online park map. if you know the link, can u share?

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    Closest i got on the phone viewing

    https://hawaiitrails.org/trails/#/tr...idge-trail/239

  16. #16
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    I'll be heading there on the 17th for a week... Same boat. I had a blast riding there last time with some locals that showed me some fun trails...is mtbeer still on this thread? Anyhow, I'm a pretty advanced rider and brought my bike last time and was pretty gun shy on St. Louis... It was semi fun but seemed like a crash there would be pretty ugly and that is no way to spend a holiday on this beautiful island. The North shore stuff was cool but tame. There was something in between that I dug but it was short. I heard Turtle Bay was building some trails... Did that ever happen?

    Anyhow, hope I can hook up with the locals again... That was a blast.

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    ...emptybe_er is hanging by a thread, man... hanging.
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    LoLL, Klivic,
    I found the below map,
    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/st-louis-dh/

    Understand not to go below from water tanks, however, still dont understand how I can make loop with stay high. Back and forth?

  19. #19
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    That is the downhill route. Guess access to map is not as good for hawaii.

    The upper part of the park is a loop. Not even down to the water tank. Perhaps on your first ride, do go down this route partially until you hit roughly where there is a power pole. Look for a split where instead of going right down to the tank, you split to the left. This will go to the tree swing but also take you around the back side to the top again. Once you do this once then u can reverse what u just did to complete the xc loop i used to train at.

    Squasho, you are on fire at demo, surprise you find st louis to be a challenging ride. You must be referring to that big jump a third of the way down? There is a smaller one to the left. Also, the in between area you rode last time is in Aiea/pearl city and it is officially closed. The jumps are very much like Carlmont. I think thats what you are talking about?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loll View Post

    Squasho, you are on fire at demo, surprise you find st louis to be a challenging ride. You must be referring to that big jump a third of the way down? There is a smaller one to the left. Also, the in between area you rode last time is in Aiea/pearl city and it is officially closed. The jumps are very much like Carlmont. I think thats what you are talking about?
    Hey yo! Yes, I was up there (St. Louis) in 2012 and solo. I just remember thinking that there were spots that I could have gotten in over my head and just got skittish and paranoid. All on me. It was cool though...riding in Hawaii is one of my favorite things because riding and Hawaii are two of my favorite things.

    emptybe_er: Hang in there Pal.
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    Rukomasa, wow I didn't know that somebody put St. Louis on trailforks...that's a bit controversial as access is under scrutiny. But to answer your question, you will probably have to just go and find you way around. It is not just one trail, it's actually about 5 different lines, but they all essentially start together from the paved path at the park at the top, and come back together down the water tower or slightly below the water tower. The way to ride back up is to go up the route that is the least steep. Sorry they are not marked so it's difficult to tell you how exactly but if you ride it a few times you will know. Just be careful on your way back up cuz other riders could be blasting down. Another option is to go out at the bottom and ride back up the St. Louis road (or take a public bus for $2 back to the top).

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    Hi Klivic,
    Thank you so much. i found lot of information from you and Loll. i agree with you, i need to be there to understand more. looks like i should bring my old 26' full suspension, ETSX 2017, but it is much havier for transport.

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    A big MAHALO to Mattntp for the generosity and hospitality during my stay! I enjoyed our ride along Kaena Point.

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    Finally arrive. ready but sleepy.


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    Rukomasa, if you cant get to trails, at least ride Tantalus. Its a nice road climb with nice scenery and riding through forest/jungle, right in town. It takes me just under an hour to ride loop. You could ride from Waikiki, its only a few miles. Ride it clockwise though, not the counterclockwise that most tourists drive. Me and friends sometime ride it after work, but weather is looking rainy. There are trails but theyve been closed to bikes for years/decades now. Im old enough to have ridden them and they are not 29er trails anyway! Wet muddy super roots narrow.
    Anyway, hope you have a good visit, how long are you here?

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    Hi root, thanks for the info. I am leaving flight now but went there. An old hotel man told me Tantalus clock wise.

    I went st Louis twice, 2nd time I crashed on maybe most west side course on jump after wood deck. It's too hard for my skill. then went to Tantalus, just for 20min but I saw very nice views and well, rich house.

    Actually after that, I could ride but not walk because of hip joint pain. Went to doctor and got x-ray. No serious trouble at the end.

    One thing for the biginner riders who followed this thread, If you get down the on-road from water tank, check carefully on left after the 2nd tank. There's a small escapee gate. Don't miss it otherwise you see the metal gate securely closed at the end of the road.

    Anyway thanks all for all the people here, the hotelman and car drivers in Hawaii. You are all very kind to share the road.


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  27. #27
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    I'll be in Oahu April 18-22 and would love to ride. I've read through the FAQ thread sticky at the top, scoured Trailforks, and the mtbhawaii.com site and it looks like Peacock Flats/Kealia Loop is the type of ride that would appeal to me (long climbs followed by steep and gnarly descents).

    Would love to hook up with some like minded locals if anyone's interested.

    Looks like The Bike Shop has Intense T275s to rent so that should be a suitable bike for that ride, correct?

    I'll also be doing some mellower, intermediate type rides with my teen age son and his buddy on the following (or previous) day. Pupukea-Paumalu trails sound like they might be the ticket for them. Although it looks like a spaghetti bowl of trails and possibly difficult to navigate and easy to get separated. True?

    I also hear reference to Mililani. I assume these are of questionable legality from the discussion and because they aren't listed on the mtbhawaii site or Traiforks (or I don't know their names so can't search them). But they are closer to where I'll be staying at Ko' Olina Lagoon so just wondering what they are like or where I could get directions and/or a trail description.

    Looks like the new Ohana trail would be a good option for the boys too.

    Any other suggestions would be great. Thanks.
    Last edited by KRob; 03-14-2017 at 05:40 PM.
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    I am not a local, but have been going to Oahu almost every year since 95. I don't know if you have been to the island before, but keep in mind the traffic is insane in the morning and afternoon. During the week, traffic on the Interstate around Waikiki can still be crazy. Always check traffic on your phone before going anywhere so you don't lose valuable time sitting in a jam.

    Peacock Flats/Kealia is a great loop, but the climb is a lung buster. The views are outstanding, so at least that will take your mind off the suffering. Most the the loop is narrow jeep road with single track down Kealia. Be sure you park in the lot behind the airport control tower at Dillingham Field. It's the safest place in the area. Never park anywhere with anything of value in sight. Your window will be smashed!

    Pupukea is a great trail system with a little bit of everything. Great singletrack, some cool overlooks of the North Shore, fun twisty downhills (Party Line), and even an insane ladder drop. Lots to do here and it takes some time to figure it out.

    If the trails are wet, you might want to do something else for the day. The mud is super slick and combined with exposed roots makes for a frustrating ride. Also, as the mud dries it becomes very sticky and can pack up and stop your wheels.

    Feel free to ask questions. I'm not much of a writer like you, but can give you insight that will save you time and frustration.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raja View Post
    ... keep in mind the traffic is insane in the morning and afternoon.
    Great tip. Thanks for the heads up. I did wonder how much time I should plan on for picking up the bike. The Bike Shop Hawaii has their main location in Honolulu, but has two alternate locations where I could pick up the bike with 24 hrs notice. It looks like the Kailua Shop or Aiea shop would be closer or on the way from our hotel at Ko 'Olina Lagoon to Peacock Flats area on the Northwest corner or alternately to the Ohana trail on the east side, correct?
    I'm thinking I need to plan at least 45 minutes to an hour to get from my hotel to either riding area plus another 45 minutes to an hour to pick up the bikes. Is that realistic?

    Also, I can schedule pretty much any day, Tuesday-Saturday for the ride(s). Which day or time of day would be best for traffic?
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    Yup, the peacock flats road climb is hellacious. Rated as one of the steepest paved climbs on oahu. And it has almost no shade. Something like 1500 feet in three miles. The lack of shade really gets me, start as early as possible, be prepared to bake. Kealia is definitely technical.
    Pupukea would be great for everyone. It is a web of trails, but they are well marked. The crazy ladder drop is falling apart, no one rides it. Pretty much Red Bull caliber. Someones cutting another nutty dirt drop, dont lnow how thats going.

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    Aiea would be the best location for you unless you plan to ride Ohana first. The Kailua shop is really close to Ohana. Any weekday will have heavy traffic unless it's a holiday. Only the weekends have lighter traffic. 45 minutes to Peacock sounds correct. Pupukea will be just over an hour unless the surf is up. It's right in the heart of the great surfing areas and traffic is insane if the waves are big. The big surf is usually in the winter, so you will probably be ok. Just be aware. I assume you are going to rent a bike and keep it with you the entire stay. If not, you will spend way too much time driving and dealing with the shop. Keep in mind everyone drives slow on the island, especially on surface streets. You won't be able to rush anywhere without standing out.

    Don't spend too much time on the bike scene on your first trip. The riding is cool in a couple of places, but doesn't compare to places like Moab and Whistler. There are a lot of sights to see and fantastic beaches to experience.

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    Weekday traffic is clustered around the peak times of morning and evenings in and out of town. Generally elsewhere traffic will be nice. Weekend the traffic is spread out over the day and areas and not as dense.

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    If you end up making it to the Windward side to ride Ohana, let me know. I ride that trail a few times a week. It's a nice flow trail. There are some other trails that are a little more technical that branch off of Ohana and if you'd like, Id go for a ride with your group. I'm no speed demon at 50 but always up for a ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPHI View Post
    If you end up making it to the Windward side to ride Ohana, let me know. I ride that trail a few times a week. It's a nice flow trail. There are some other trails that are a little more technical that branch off of Ohana and if you'd like, Id go for a ride with your group. I'm no speed demon at 50 but always up for a ride.
    Another old school rider? Awrite! Im a few months away from my big five-oh. I love it when insee some of the old vanguard still riding. Im back from the day where i cut my teeth on Tantalus trails, thatll teach you technical root and rock skills!

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    [QUOTE=root;13099690]Another old school rider? Awrite! Im a few months away from my big five

    Howzit root! Rode Tantalus back in the 90's. Wet roots and pedals to the shins. Right around the time they started giving riders a really hard time from being on the trail. Stopped riding in about 03. Just started up again in March of last year. The opening of the Ohana trail was perfect, a little climb up the highway from Enchanted Lakes and I'm on the trail. Hooked up with a group that does a regular Wednesday night ride. Many older riders in the group. Head in around 5 pm and end up exiting with headlights.

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    Memories! I remember riding Tantalus at night with NiceLite
    clamped to bar and Pelican flashlight strapped to helmet, that was creepy as heck! Now weve got amazing alien abduction lights the size if cell phones, and were not talking the first Motorolas that i had! We usually do St Louis on tuesday
    Nights and sometime do Ohana for changeof pace.

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    Hey JPHI, Looks like we're going to try Ohana Friday afternoon April 20th. If that works with your schedule that would be awesome to have a local guide. Let me know.

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    Hey KRob, April 20 is a Thursday, are you looking at the Thursday or Friday for a Ride? I'm trying to set up my work week so I will be able to take off for the ride. How many riders in your group? What time are you looking to ride?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPHI View Post
    Hey KRob, April 20 is a Thursday, are you looking at the Thursday or Friday for a Ride? I'm trying to set up my work week so I will be able to take off for the ride. How many riders in your group? What time are you looking to ride?
    Sorry I missed this. Yes, Friday April 21. Got my date wrong. There's four of us and I'm thinking a couple hour ride sometime in the afternoon before dark would be great. We're flexible but don't have lights.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Sorry I missed this. Yes, Friday April 21. Got my date wrong. There's four of us and I'm thinking a couple hour ride sometime in the afternoon before dark would be great. We're flexible but don't have lights.
    We are good till about 6:30 without lights. How would you rate the riding levels in the group. Ohana is more of a flow trail with some climbing and some tight switchbacks but all manageable. There are some really cool side trails that come off of Ohana but they are more technical, sometimes steep and rocky or rooted and some single track and of course more climbing. I'm going to see if I can find someone else to come with us so if you want to run a more advanced trail we can split and then meet up at a lower section. One nice thing about the trail system is that you can keep linking up on lower sections.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPHI View Post
    We are good till about 6:30 without lights. How would you rate the riding levels in the group. Ohana is more of a flow trail with some climbing and some tight switchbacks but all manageable. There are some really cool side trails that come off of Ohana but they are more technical, sometimes steep and rocky or rooted and some single track and of course more climbing. I'm going to see if I can find someone else to come with us so if you want to run a more advanced trail we can split and then meet up at a lower section. One nice thing about the trail system is that you can keep linking up on lower sections.
    Thanks!
    Ride group: 1 advanced; two intermediate; one beginner (My son's friend who has excellent fitness but limited mtbing experience... He did pretty well on the Space Mountain Trail in SoCal when we were there two years ago). From the trail description I think they can all handle the main Ohana trail without too much problem. I would appreciate some more technical options but I'm kind of responsible for the other three so don't need to split off necessarily.

    If earlier afternoon works better for traffic we'll be coming from the west side of the island, picking up the bikes at The Bike Shop in Aiea. If later in the afternoon works better for you, we can work it out either way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Thanks!
    Ride group: 1 advanced; two intermediate; one beginner (My son's friend who has excellent fitness but limited mtbing experience... He did pretty well on the Space Mountain Trail in SoCal when we were there two years ago). From the trail description I think they can all handle the main Ohana trail without too much problem. I would appreciate some more technical options but I'm kind of responsible for the other three so don't need to split off necessarily.

    If earlier afternoon works better for traffic we'll be coming from the west side of the island, picking up the bikes at The Bike Shop in Aiea. If later in the afternoon works better for you, we can work it out either way.
    I'll work on a second rider and if it works out we can split. The splits would be very short, 10 minutes twice on the ride, Once for Renegade, probably closer to 5 minutes and Desperado and rock garden, Maybe 10-15. Understand the responsibility thing, a dad myself. Everyone should be fine on Ohana.

    For times, the only thing I have is picking up daughter from school at 2:18. I can ride around 10:30 or 11 and be back in time or around 2:45 after picking her up. Going to see if I can get a pick up for her, If so my schedule will be wide open.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPHI View Post
    I'll work on a second rider and if it works out we can split. The splits would be very short, 10 minutes twice on the ride, Once for Renegade, probably closer to 5 minutes and Desperado and rock garden..
    Sent a pm. Figured we can discuss details better there.
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    We had a great time on Oahu. Thanks so much for all the suggestions and help we received from the Hawaii forum and pm's and phone conversation from clivic and JPHI.

    Unfortunately it rained quite a bit the two days we had the bikes reserved for so our options were limited. We ended up spending a couple hours out at Pupukea on Saturday. Trails (and roots!) were wet and a bit slick in places but not sticky. The pine needle ground cover and thick trees kept the trail from getting too saturated. Good times.

    I'm glad I had my trailforks app going. I think I would've circled around quite a bit before finding my exit without it . I'm from wide open Nevada and it's always easy to tell where you're going. Ha ha.

    We hiked (Diamond Head, Stairway to Heaven), fished (Boom Boom Sport fishing excursions), snorkeled (Sharks Cove North Shore Surf Shop), and basically ate our way across the island (Hukilau Café, Kahuku Grill, Boots and Kimos, Le Tour Café, Ted's Bakery, The Cookie Corner, Monkey Pod, etc.) so not too sad that we didn't get more riding in.... except I'm sad to have missed Peacock Flats/Kealia and to have gotten turned back by the security guard half way up Stairway to Heaven. Next time.
    Last edited by KRob; 04-28-2017 at 06:31 AM.

  45. #45
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    Sorry you didn't make it all the way up the Haiku stairs. Did you make it past the first flat area? That hike is probably one of the coolest things I have ever done.
    We got lucky one afternoon that the guard had gone home early.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raja View Post
    Sorry you didn't make it all the way up the Haiku stairs. Did you make it past the first flat area? That hike is probably one of the coolest things I have ever done.
    We got lucky one afternoon that the guard had gone home early.
    Yes, barely. We had stopped to rest on that flat spot before hitting the last really steep pitch when he caught up to us. GPS said we'd climbed 1600'. I know what I'll do differently next time. Park a few blocks away (the neighbors are seriously grumpy), start at o'dark thirty, and cut in a little higher up just to be sure.


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    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
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    Sorry you didn't make it to the top. The neighbors in the area are pretty hostile, to be fair they have put up with a lot of crap from inconsiderate hikers at all hours of the night.

    It dried out after you left, I rode the following Tuesday to do some trail clearing and it was good, the next night for our Wednesday Night Ride the trail was perfect. Started raining again Friday and we have had between 5-6 inches of rain over the last three days. This time it's going to take a while to dry out.

    Hope to ride with you on the next trip.

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