Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2000 14:12:12 -1000 (HST) From: Dayle K. Turner (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Haleakala 3/29 to 4/1 (fwd) rev
For the past several days, I joined eleven other folks on a backpacking trip in Haleakala and had an interesting and enjoyable time. Mahalo nui to Joe Bussen for organizing the trip and inviting me. Our group included Joe's wife Ruby, Chris Tolosa, Ned Burns, Edith Neff, Virginia Bail, John Hall, Eleanor Koes, Rich Jacobson, Fred Dodge, and Mark Short. We enjoyed ideal weather the first two days and then the rain hit.
We arrived on Maui on Wednesday morning (3/29), with Joe and I serving as the drivers of the rental vehicles--a van and a full-sized car. At my urging, we stopped at McDonald's in Kahului (five double cheeseburgers for me--$.99 per, and, yes, I discarded the buns) before heading to Haleakala National Park. On the drive up the mountain, Fred and John, longtime hiking partners and legends of the HTMC, told us about some of their adventures, including their multiday backpack & bushwhack from Pololu to Waimanu on the Big Island. Fred also recollected his experiences doing the 37-mile Run to the Sun, an event he did three times.
After an hour drive, we stopped at the park HQ to obtain water for the first leg of our backpack and to find out if the cabins in the crater were stocked with H20 since we had heard that Paliku might be dry. The good news was that all cabins were OK waterwise, a relief for us because we'd be faced with hauling in a cache otherwise.
From the HQ, we drove up to the summit. Prior to setting off into the crater, we solicited the assistance of a passing dayhiker to snap the obligatory "before" group shot. And then everyone, except Mark and I, headed down the Sliding Sands trail for the 5.8-mile leg to Kapalaoa Cabin, our first night's stopover. Instead of joining the group, Mark and I reboarded the rental car and drove down to the Halemau'u trailhead. We left the car there and entered Haleakala via the Halemau'u trail, hiking along at a gradual, pedestrian pace.
Mark, a practicioner of the lightweight backpacking philosophy, was lugging a compact pack. I'm not sure what it weighed, but it looked to be under 20 lbs. My pack wasn't too heavy, probably no more than 25 lbs. Instead of wearing Nike Sharks cleated football shoes as I usually do, I donned a pair of New Balance 802 trail runners (size 13, 4E): very comfortable, relatively lightweight, good traction.
On the way down the Halemau'u switchbacks, we enjoyed views down into the Koolau Gap and Haleakala crater at-large. We encountered a handful of dayhikers heading up Halemau'u, including one young woman who eyed enviously an apple Mark was eating while he and I rested on the grassy lawn by the gate at the base of the switchbacks.
After the rest, we continued on, passing the Holua cabin without stopping, and then headed southeast on the Halemau'u trail. Enjoying the relative coolness of the afternoon, we stopped for another break at the top of a rise just past the junction with the Silversword Loop trail, with massive Hanakauhi (8907 ft.) looming to our left (Mark and I would climb this the next day).
Onward we marched. We passed the Bottomless Pit and after skirting north of Pu'u Naue, we reached a junction where we veered right off the Halemau'u trail to head south on a connecting path to Kapalaoa cabin. At the cabin, we were greeted by the others, the fastest reaching there in under two hours via Sliding Sands.
As is the case with Paliku and Holua cabins, Kapalaoa has four triple-decked bunks. Prior to shoving off at the summit, Joe had requested that the lower bunks be reserved for the older (notice I didn't say "old") women in our group while the uppermost bunks be occupied by the youngest and/or most agile. During our stay, I ended up with a second tier bunk on nights one and three (Holua) and a lower tier on night two (Paliku). How I ended up on a lower bunk at Paliku was a mystery and pleasant surprise. Maybe the others thought I was hiking like an older woman. And that I didn't end up on an upper bunk attested to my general lack of youth and agility. 8-)
The gracious hosts that they are, Joe and Ruby supplied the first night's meal (pasta w/ clam sauce and garlic bread). Since I'm on a low-carb diet, I had to pass on the pasta and instead made an add-hot-water meal of beef and green beans that I ate with a few squares of pork rind bread (composed of pork rinds, mozarella & cheddar cheese) I had made at home. Rich had a large cache of food, and we joked if there was a need for some condiment or food item, Rich probably had it.
At night at the cabins, we passed the time before lights-out (actually candles-out since there is no electricity in any of the cabins) by star-gazing (John, Fred, and Joe are quite knowledgeable), talking story (plenty of recollections of hikes of yore), reading (I had brought Bill Bryson's *A Walk in the Woods*), and playing cards. Most of the folks are Bridge enthusiasts, and the games became quite animated, with some post-game discussions (which a casual passer-by might categorize as arguments) becoming semi-confrontational. But it was all in fun. Some of us played cribbage, a less complex game than Bridge but fun and interesting nonetheless.
We were up and about by 6 a.m. on Thursday. For breakfast I had some Vienna sausage, pork rind bread, and a protein shake. The others ate a variety of stuff, ranging from oatmeal to boiled eggs to hotcakes. After breakfast, we packed our things and tidied the cabin since we'd be leaving it for Paliku, four miles away.
Instead of taking the most direct route to Paliku, Mark and I decided to ascend to Hanakauhi, the highest peak on the northern wall of the crater, and then hike along the top of the rim and descend the Lau'ulu trail to Paliku. To get to Hanakauhi, we backtracked on the connecting path to the Halemau'u trail and then followed an unmaintained trail (a sign indicates this) that tracks northwest between Pu'u Naue and Pu'u Mamane. We climbed Pu'u Mamane (elev. 7400) and after a brief descent to a saddle, we commenced a steady ascent to Hanakauhi. The dry, rocky terrain along the ridge reminded me of Oahu's Kamaileunu. Obvious differences are the elevation (Hanakauhi is 9,070 feet high and Kamaileunu is a tad over 3,200) and the temperatures (it probably was in the 60s on the day Mark and I climbed Hanakauhi while the temps on Kamaileunu hover typically in the mid to upper-80s). From the signed junction on the Halemau'u trail, the ascent to the Hanakauhi is just 1.5 miles with an elevation gain of just 1,500 feet, but since we were hiking at a high elevation with full packs, we had to plod along slowly to avoid bonking.
About an hour and a half after leaving Kapalaoa, Mark and I arrived at the summit of Hanakauhi, marked by several stone ahu and a benchmark. The view there was beautiful, with Koolau Gap descending away from us to the north and the whole spread of the crater extending below us to the south. Even after heating up due to the tough climb, I quickly felt chilled and just as quickly fished out my dayglow orange windbreaker from my pack and put it on to warm up. I then sipped on some water, snacked on some sunflower seeds, and enjoyed the scenery.
From Hanakauhi, to the north far below the slopes of Haleakala are Keanae and Nahiku, which, from what I understand are usually not visible from the crater rim because of clouds. So it was on Thursday as Mark and I made our way almost due east along the rim, which is actually Kalapawili Ridge. Though northward views were obscured by clouds, we could see down into Haleakala with no problem, with the most prominent landmarks being Pu'u Maile about 2 miles due south and O'ilipu'u about the same distance to the southeast. As we moved further east from Hanakauhi, we could see all the way to the ocean down Kaupo Gap. Looming high above the clouds were massive Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, the sister peaks of the Big Island.
Contrary to what some might think, the rim of the crater isn't narrow and precipitous. In fact, it is quite broad, falling away to the north at a relatively gentle grade. Generations of goats, the last of which were removed from the park boundaries by fence and hunters' rifles, have left a lasting impression of their presence by the multitude of trails splintering off hither and yon.
About a mile east of Hanakauhi, just before we reached a large peak on the ridge, we came onto an old wooden post that marked the top of a trail that led down to a place called Crystal Cave and then down to the crater floor. Before we left Kapalaoa, Joe told us the trail was a substantial one that might have been suitable enough for horses and mules. Curious, Mark and I talked about exploring this trail on Friday on our way to Holua, that is, if we felt up to it.
But we still had to get to Paliku, so we continued on along the rim past the junction, skirting north around the large peak via goat trails through an area of low scrub, mostly pukiawe. We then descended gradually to a saddle for a quarter mile, arriving at another old wooden post that marked the top of the Lau'ulu trail. We sat down to rest there for twenty minutes, Mark using the time to take a brief nap in the warmth of the late morning sun. Since I had never hiked the entire distance of the Lau'ulu trail, I stated my desire to head down it to Paliku. Mark, on the other hand, opted to continue along the rim to pass Lau'ulu peak and Pohaku Palaha, where he'd veer south to eventually reach the notch trail just north of Kuiki. He could then use the notch trail to get to Paliku.
Hiking alone now, I discovered that the Lau'ulu trail is a fine one, with switchbacks carved into the steep upper slopes of the crater. Midway down the crater wall, the trail passes atop a pu'u called Kaluaiki and just to the south of Kaluanui, a small crater similar in look to Oahu's Ka'au. The trail then winds its way through thickets of pukiawe, kukae nene, and ohelo. I noticed many ripe berries on the latter, and stopped to pick and eat a few of the sweet, reddish-pink fruit. The descent to the cabin from the top of the Lau'ulu trail took me about 45 minutes. I felt good about making it to the Paliku and also about hiking some new territory today. It was 12:30, just in time for lunch and a nap.
By that time, the ten others in our group had long reached the cabin. Rich, in fact, had arrived at 9:30, needing about an hour to cover the four miles from Kapalaoa. Having settled in, most had gone off to do some dayhiking, several choosing to explore the notch trail up to Kuiki, where there is an abundance of native birds, notably amakihi, apapane, and the curve-billed i'iwi.
After lunching (pork rinds and a can of deviled ham) and napping, I joined Rich and John for a short dayhike partway up the Lau'ulu trail to where it overlooks Kaluanui. I lagged behind, picking ohelo berries as I went. Eat a few. Put a few in a plastic ziplock. Eat some more. More in the ziplock. Proceeding as such, I never got all the way to Kaluanui but I did gather a bagful of berries, which I would take back to the cabin to share with anyone who wanted some. Having bagged some exercise and some fruit, I turned around and followed John and Rich when I saw them coming back down the trail.
John is a low-key, intelligent man. I asked him about some black berries I'd seen and he identified them as kukae nene (translated = nene bird crap). He also explained about the pilo berry, its genus translating to "feces" as a result of the foul-smelling odor of the berries of the plants in the family.
Rich, also intelligent, is more animated. One Rich-ism is to spout out a song title or a saying as a take-off on what someone says. For example, if he hears someone saying "There's no business..." he'll echo, to no one in particular, "There's no business like show business." Also a movie buff, Rich delights in rehashing the better ones he's seen. "Waking Ned Devine," a comedy set in Ireland, is a flick he gives high marks.
Thursday night at Paliku was a restful one. It was also colder than at Kapalaoa. The night sky was sparklingly clear, and we all spent time out after dinner on the front lawn of the cabin enjoying the star show above. Wanting to eliminate bulk and save weight, I brought a bag liner instead of a sleeping bag. With temps dropping into the 50s, I might have had a horrid night at Paliku if if weren't for the polypro balaclava and fleece bottoms and top I did bring. But the night went well, and I slept restfully.
Just like the two previous mornings, Friday at dawn was splendid, with clear skies accenting the rich colors of the sights of the crater, far and near. It was interesting to stand in the early morning darkness and listen to the honk of a nene, and then another from somewhere else. Then, from the slopes of the steep pali behind the cabin a bird would whistle. Then another. Then seemingly dozens more. Beautiful and amazing.
The basic plan for the day was to pack up, clean up, and hike over to Holua for our final night in Haleakala. The day before, Mark and I tossed around the idea of ascending the Lau'ulu Trail, heading west along the rim, descending the trail to Crystal Cave, continuing along the Halemau'u trail for a bit, then crossing Koolau Gap via the Waikau Trail, and then picking up the Halemau'u trail to Holua. I'm not sure why--laziness most likely--but on Friday morning I decided against that plan.
As an alternative, I came up with the idea of heading directly to Holua and then going up the Halemau'u switchbacks to the trailhead, hopping in the rental car we'd left there, and then driving up to the summit to retrieve the van we'd left there so we wouldn't have to worry about a vehicle shuttle the next day. Of course, I'd need someone to assist in this endeavor, and I found that someone in Rich.
Someone then suggested I could hike directly to the summit via Sliding Sands, retrieve the van, drive it down to the Halemau'u trailhead, and hike back to the cabin from there.. That way, I wouldn't have to enlist any assistance for vehicle shuttle. Plus, I'd log some good workout time, something I was looking forward to.
That plan sounding appealing, and I decided to give it a go. So after a breakfast the same as the morning before and after packing up my belongings, I was off. It was 7:30 a.m.
The hike to Kapalaoa was pleasant and cool. The early morning is actually the best time to hike the crater since the sun is still low in the sky and many parts of the trail are still shaded by the southern rim. As I hiked along, I looked for fresh footprints on the path. Most of the ones heading for Paliku were undoubtedly from our group heading from Kapalaoa the day before. Ones heading toward Kapalaoa also seemed fresh. Who made these, I don' know.
I stopped to rest at Kapalaoa, using the break to drink some water and refill my one-liter SafeWater squeeze bottle with built-in filter. No one was at the cabin at the time and it appeared no one had spent the night there either. As I looked back toward Paliku, white clouds were accumulating and moving up Kaupo Gap. I didn't think much of the significance of the clouds until later in the day.
Meanwhile, I had another six miles and 3,000 feet of elevation gain to complete to reach the parking lot adjacent to the trailhead of the Sliding Sands trail. I hiked westbound from Kapalaoa, watching a lone chukar pecking about in the grass on the cabin's west side.
The segment from Kapalaoa to the mamane tree hitching post junction is virtually level and over grainy, sand-like gray cinder. It was still cool and I felt good. I saw no one, which surprised me since I expected to encounter dayhikers coming down from the top. That would happen, but later.
I rested on the metal hitching post for five minutes at the mamane junction, eyeing the trail that snaked its way up the crater wall to the summit. Much has been made about how daunting it is to climb Sliding Sands. "Take one step, slide back two," is what I've heard. But that's far from accurate. Granted, the sandy footing in some places isn't the best, but the going isn't ever steep. The big factor is the elevation. When operating at 8,000 to 10,000 feet, everything becomes more taxing.
Using a put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other-easy-does-it technique, I hiked methodically up the first climb of Sliding Sands. After the initial huff-n-puff switchbacks, I reached a plateau-like area just south of Pu'u o Pele where the hiking was easier. By this time, a large mass of clouds had flooded the crater behind me. Little did I realize that not long later I would be engulfed in white.
After more climbing, I reached the junction with the trail that heads north to Ka Lu'u o ka O'o. I took a rest here and checked my altimeter watch. It read 8,500 feet, leaving me still 1,500 feet and change short of the summit at 10,023. The clouds had caught and passed me at this point, and visibility dropped to 80-100 feet. I still hadn't encountered anyone, but the clouds were accompanied by a steady chilling breeze that motivated me to get moving and keep moving.
As I plodded on, I reckoned that not being able to see the climbs ahead was a psychological blessing. With only a few feet of trail in sight, all I was left with was just moving upward. And that I did. With the clouds enveloping the area, the temperature had dropped, probably into the mid 50s. As long as I kept moving, I felt okay, yet another reason not to linger or rest.
Beyond Ka Lu'u o ka O'o, I began running into folks heading down the trail--a group of eight backpackers headed for either Paliku or Kapalaoa (I didn't ask) and then a parade of dayhikers, mostly Europeans, based on the accented hellos directed to me and the conversations I overhead. I was likely a strange sight to these folks--an unshaven, red-shirted behemoth with baseball cap, ski poles, knee pads, and New Balance running shoes.
About ten minutes up from Ka Lu'u o ka O'o, I stepped off the trail to let a train of folks riding mules and horses pass. They were headed for the crater floor. The group leader thanked me for stepping aside. "Spent the night at Kapalaoa?" When I told him where I'd come from, he seemed surprised. "Got an early start, huh?"
"I did," I nodded.
So upward I continued, and the parade of dayhikers emerging from the whiteout resumed. A couple hundred meters from the top, a young couple, Europeans by their accent, asked me what there was to see down the trail. "Beautiful stuff," pointing back where I'd come from.
"How far is it?" queried the husband.
"Maybe a couple miles. But then you have to come back up and there's the altitude and all which can make it harder." I said this all, hoping not to insult them in case they were from some town in the Alps where folks frolic around up high with no problem.
"Oh, maybe we better not try it since my husband is feeling dizzy because of the height."
"That'd be a good idea," I said. And off I headed. A few minutes later, I gave a quick pump of my right fist as a mini victory celebration when I reached the parking lot where the van sat. One myth vanquished.
It felt good to sit in the comfort and warmth of the van after four hours and 10 miles of hiking. I started the engine, turned on the heater, tuned in the radio to some good music, and sat there for a couple minutes while looking at my Haleakala topo map to reacquaint myself with the route I had hiked.
I then drove down the park road to the Halemau'u trailhead. At about the 9,000 foot level, a light rain hit. For the rest of the day until we left the next day, this rain never stopped. The rain was never torrential--mostly drizzly and misty. But it never ceased.
I gave some thought to driving down the mountain to pick up some burgers or a plate lunch before hiking to the Holua cabin via the Halemau'u trail. But with rainy, semi-whiteout conditions as they were, I thought risking an accident on the drive down and then back up wasn't worth it. The burgers and plate lunch could wait.
At the Halemau'u trailhead, I sat in the van and ate some pork rinds and deviled ham. It was raining and windy outside and I thought I'd hang out for awhile until this weather passed. Of course, I realized it might not pass, at least not soon, so I made mental preparations to be wet and cold on the 4-mile leg to Holua.
Before I set off, four noisy teenagers in a van pulled into the lot. They popped open the back of the van and commenced making tuna sandwiches to eat before taking a dayhike to the viewpoint at the top of the switchbacks. They seemed oblivious to the misty rain. When they saw me prepping my pack, one of them asked if I were going down into the crater.
"Yup, crazy, huh?"
"Nah, it'll be fun," said the teen with the Bob Marley hair.
"That's one way to look at it," I said, chuckling.
So after checking to make sure both the car and van were secure, away I went, waving to the Bob Marley hair guy and his tuna-sandwich-eating friends.
And despite the rain, it was fun. More fun than I've ever had while hiking Halemau'u. Sure I was wet, but as along as I kept moving, I avoided the chill. So I never stopped.
The switchbacks were puddly, but not bad at all to hike. And on the last mile stretch to Holua, I passed some of the same folks I had seen while I was heading up Sliding Sands. Several gave me a double-take, that hey-I-saw-you-before half-squint with eyebrows raised. I just laughed to myself, wondering what they might be thinking about this strange red-shirted mammoth.
It felt good when the cabin came into to view and even better to step into its warmth even if it meant ending my fun romp in the rain. My eleven companions were all there, having made it over from Paliku a few hours earlier. Some were caught in the rain and the fastest had beat it. Mark, meanwhile, had gone a good way along the Waikau trail but then lost the path when the clouds rolled it and the terrain became jumbled and convoluted. Making a smart choice, he backtracked and hiked the main trail to Holua.
With wet stuff abounding, we all stayed hunkered down in the cabin. Ned and Chris did a short hike to a cave behind the cabin; otherwise, we all stayed put. After changing into warm, dry clothes, I passed time by reading, napping, and watching the others play cards. While I like being out in the rain, I also like being warm and bundled up when it's cold and rainy outside. And so it was. As Stuart has said time and again, it couldn't be better than this.
Except for a can of vienna sausage, I ate all the rest of the food in my cache bag. That amounted to green beans, beef, turkey, and pork rind bread goulashed together. This wasn't fine dining but certainly hearty and welcome given the rainy day and the calories I'd burned that day. After dinner, I played cribbage, did some reading, and drifted off to sleep around 10:00, lulled away by the rain pattering on the cabin roof.
I was up at 5 a.m. on Saturday and by 6 everyone else was up and about. It was still drizzly and misty outside. At times the rain fell harder and the wind picked up.
Since we had two vehicles, a group of us decided to head out early and try to catch an early flight back to Oahu. I had reservations on an 8 p.m. flight but didn't mind trying to fly back earlier. Joining me in the early departing group were Mark, Rich, John, and Eleanor. Eleanor set off first, departing around 6:45. John, at 7:00, was next. Mark, Rich, and I left at 7:15. As each of us set off, Joe snapped photos of us. Smiling and thanking him, we strode off into the swirling mist.
Because of the unrelenting rain, the Halemau'u trail was transformed into a stream. Small cascades and landslides coursed down the switchbacks, circumstances that few people ever witness. About a quarter way up the switchbacks, Rich, Mark, and I caught up to John and Eleanor. They let us by and we promised to have the car warm and waiting for them when they arrived at the trailhead.
We made good time to the car. The segment of trail between the top of the switchbacks and the parking lot was characterized by a series of streamlets gushing down, across, and over the trail. This certainly was no run-of-the-mill ending to our trip. It was fun, to quote the Bob Marley-haired teen.
At 8:25, Mark, Rich, and I reached the parking lot. Immediately, a woman emerged from a car and asked if we had seen a lone man hiking in the crater. The man was her boyfriend (or husband?) and had entered the crater via Sliding Sands *yesterday* and hadn't exited via Halemau'u *yesterday* as he was supposed to. We told her we hadn't seen anyone on the way from the cabin. Privately, we hoped the boyfriend had found refuge in either Kapalaoa or Paliku cabin because if he spent a night out in the crater in the rain and cold, his life might be at risk.
After wishing the woman well, we retreated to the rental car to wait for John and Eleanor. Just past 9:00, they reached the parking lot, and after stowing their gear in the trunk, away we drove, bound for Kahului.
After dealing with massive lines at Kahului Airport, we all were able to get flights out before noon, and I was home in time to eat a massive meal (three Jumbo Jacks sans buns and a 4-egg spam and cheese omelet), shower, shave, and catch a 4 p.m. movie (*Erin Brokovitch* ) with my GF Jackie.
It was a great four days. Mahalo again to Joe, his wife Ruby, and the other folks for making the trip a fine one.
We love you, Haleakala.
Just a few additions to Dayle's great narrative on our Haleakala trip. Dayle was kind not to mention the faux pas by the NPS entry person, who questioned Dayle's right as a native Hawaiian to enter the park free for religious purposes; we assumed he is just a new guy and ill-informed. We also had a Golden Age pass in each vehicle. So the group saved $20.
I did a trip in Dec. 98, incl. Ruby, Janis & Don, and some of my students and their friends. We had incredible clear weather throughout. After sleeping in Kapalaoa Cabin the first night, we climbed to the heiau on the rim behind-one of my favorite places. The two Hawaiians in the group, Tish Hanakaki and her boyfriend Aaron Kahalawai, were really thrilled to be there. From that location, if you can see down to the coast, you can see the black tongues of lava sticking out into the ocean (LaParousse Bay, I think) from the most recent activity on Maui, about 200-250 years ago.
In Dec. 99, Ruby caught a bad cold from my son, just back from San Francisco, and has to stay home. My 10 companions were Janice and Don, Stuart and Lynne, Mark Short and his son, Jacob, Alvin Tsukayama and his son, Daniel, Hui Lin Dong, and Greg Kingsley. We slower hikers got rained on the last two hours into Kapalaoa; after that the weather was even more gorgeous than the year before. Coming out Halemauu, we could see all the way down Koolau Gap to Keanae.
Last week, the gorgeous weather continued, for two and a half days. Our only problem was the disintegration of Virginia's shoes, solved with daily wrapping with duct tape. Then, at lunch time, half way between Paliku and Holua (for the slow folks), the rains started.
One night we got the full story from John Hall about the time he was nearly killed by a rhino (his daughter Wendy was with him; it was her 13th birthday). His pelvis was broken (both sides), and numerous ribs. Even when the mother rhino took his arm in her mouth (it sort of fit between her molars and incisors). John decided to continue his playing-dead strategy instead of trying to escape. Maybe John will repeat the story at Kupuna night.
The 26 hours or so of rain were quite heavy, I thought. We couldn't run to the lua at Holua without getting very wet. There was a lake about three inches deep on the lua floor, and it was raining through the roof.
The last seven of us left Holua between 8:15 and 8:45. First Fred Dodge, then Ruby and my Kailua bridge friends, Edith Neff and Virginia Bail. Ned Burns and Christine Tolosa helped me finish the cabin clean-up, and then we started slogging through the river-like trail. Chris is one of my fellow grad students at UH in geography; she was the only under-30 youngster in the group (Maybe under 40? Dayle? Rich?). Ned is her hubby Dave Smith's best friend (you may have seen Dave's byline; he writes for the Hilo Herald tribune). Chris has many talents; among other things, she is working on a screen play, with advice from her golfing buddy, Dennis Hopper. Edith and Virginia are in their mid 70's, and I was a little concerned about them getting up Halemauu under the conditions. Both of them had been in Haleakala before, however. Edith has run the duplicate bridge game in Kailua for the last 20 years. She has hiked in the Alps, but with a lift up to the heights (she suggests one for Haleakala). Virginia is a retired archeologist, with ties to Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools. She had worked on a project in Haleakala many years ago. She talked about hiking with "Kenneth", who always wore only zori's in the field. That's Kenneth Emory, Bishop Museum anthropologist. Virginia was the oldest of the group (77, I think), but she plays tennis several times a week, and she did just fine. She had shiny duct-taped shoes, silver, just like Dorothy's (in the book, not the movie; learned this from Who Wants to be a Millionaire). We went up the switch-backs a couple hours behind the early group. Waterfalls cascaded down the side, everywhere, and rushed across the trail, or sometimes down the trail. Mud and debris clogged the trail in two places; Edith sunk one foot knee deep and had the hardest time extricating it. One place looked like it was about to wash away. Everyone was soaked through, no matter what kind of rainwear they had. My only big worry was that the rain might turn to sleet and hail. I tried to tip-toe around or jump across the puddles, but the three women took the wiser course and slogged through them. About half way up, Edith was really struggling. I caught up with Ruby, transferred my G4 pack (~18 lbs) to her, and took her Mountainsmith Mountainlight (~8 lbs), then went back and relieved Edith of her pack. I wore hers on my back and Ruby's on my front, with my arms through the shoulder straps, and the bottom resting on my ample front porch. Still had my hands free for my two trekking poles.
We emerged about 11:15; Fred, Ned, and Chris had the van warmed up for us. We drove down to park HQ. Some of us did some changing there, but some didn't want to brave the run from van to bathroom and back through the rain. Our next goal was Pukalani McDonalds, where Virginia went in to Foodland and bought zori's for herself and a barefoot Edith.
On to the airport, we dropped Chris and Ned at Aloha to fly back to Hilo. after returning the van, we went through a very long line to check in, then went to the gate to get stand-by numbers. On the third flight there was one seat, so we sent Fred off. With about an hour till the next flight, we four Kailua seniors (I told everybody this was a geriatric trip) went to get a bite to eat. On the way back, about 4 pm, I looked out the window, and there was the whole mountain, in all its glory, completely clear! We could see the domes on the top. Ruby and I got on a 6:15 flight, and retrieved all our bags. Edith and Virginia got on the 6:40 flight (we had been scheduled for 7:05), and about 7:15 we all piled into a car driven by Virginia's daughter for the trip to Kailua.
I talked to Mark Short yesterday, and he said how much fun it was hiking out in the rain. I hope that Ruby, Edith, and Virginia will say the same thing, after they have a few days to think about it.