If information about the trail I'm about to describe s supposed to be secretive, any of the Tantalus veterans out there should feel free to pull this off the blog. I don't want to spill any inadvertently spill any beans. If not, read on....
Yesterday, I went out on the trails with the intention of travelling a ways up the Pu'u Konahuanui trail from the Pauoa Flats Lookout. From my childhood days of hiking, I remember roughly two sections of this rugged trail that would get you to the summit. The first follows the ridge immediately behind the lookout, thus taking you up and down huge stairsteps. Like most Ko'olau summit trails, its either steep ups or steep downs, very muddy, and heavily overgrown staghorn ferns that shred your shins. The second section is a steep, overgrown scramble to the summit that really isn't that long. To my great surprise, however, I found that a new trail had been cut across the face of the ridge that overlooks Nu'uanu valley. The trail (marked by ribbons) is highly runnable at times and generally very flat. Within 15 minutes or so, you have been deposited directly at the base of the final steep section of Pu'us, leaving you with only a 30 min. scramble to the summit. I couldn't believe how easy it was!!!
I left Nature Center at 4:30, and summitted just around 5:45PM to see the sun slip over the horizon. I was back at Lookout by 6:30, not having to even use my flashlight yet, and got back to the Nature Center around 7:20. Did all you guys know about this?!?! This new trail instantly drops you within spitting distance of the summit of the Ko'olaus! It truly amazed me, after slogging up and down the ridge I previously described in my childhood hiking days. If you have never been up there, it truly is amazing to look down all the fingers of ridge from the summit, with views of the Windward side, Hawaii Kai and across the other Koolau ridges of Central Oahu. If you have never been up there to watch the sunset, I found out that its pretty amazing. I know that the Pu'u Kona trails is technically off limits, but the thing is marked with ribbon (and pigs footprints) If your ever out on Tantalus and can see the summit of Pu'us, I highly recommend this side trip.