OHE March 14, 1998

Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 10:22:11 -1000
From: Dave Webb (dwebb@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Haleakala weekend

This past weekend I went on a guided hike / service project in Haleakala N.P. I don't know if any of you saw this, but about 2 months ago in the Advertiser, there was a little blurb about this service project and how anyone could write in for the lottery (only 12 were chosen). Anywho - I was one of the lucky ones!! There were 3 of us from Oahu and the rest were Maui residents. The itinerary called for us to meet at the Sliding Sands trail at 9 am on Good Friday and hike down and across the "crater" to Paliku cabin. After doing some work in the area on Sat. we would hike out down the Kaupo trail on Sun morning. Here's my summary of the weekend:

Friday: Got up early!!! 5:30 am on a holiday is BRUTAL!! Met my 2 companions at the airport and we were off to Maui!! After picking up luggage and car we were up to the mountain to meet the rest of the crew. The rangers who led the hike were great!! They told great stories and I learned a lot about the history of Haleakala and lots of info on native plants and animals and Hawaiian legends!! The whole gang was great - people of all different ages and occupations -- best of all, no whiners!! Some of the folks looked like they probably didn't do a lot of regular hiking but they did great anyway.

We were greeted with the usual cold rain and mist at the summit area, so everyone was ready to start hiking just to get warmed up!! I had been to the summit several times before, so I was ready for the elements!! I had raingear and ski gloves and balaclava - the whole nine yards!! If you go hiking in the crater, you need to take enough clothes for a trip to the north pole (I'm serious!!) Well, about 10 min down the trail, it cleared up and we were treated to spectacular views of the crater!!! We could see all the way across to Paliku. Truly magical!! We stopped at the first cabin down at the bottom of the crater for lunch. We then continued across to Paliku cabin and arrived there about 3-4 pm. The last two hours or so, we were hiking in the rain, so it got kind of cold. It is amazing how much the vegetation changes as you walk across the crater!

I awoke Sat morning with the hopes of doing some hiking before we had to start working at noon. Unfortunately the weather was awful, so I went back to bed. Finally I got out to hike the Lau'ulu trail about 9:30. We hiked to the ridge, but the weather was really socked in! There are some really neat areas up there! We saw a dry waterfall chute and a great little gulch by a flat grassy field. The ranger said that on a clear day you can see Hilo and down the back of Kipahulu valley as well!! Oh, well next time.

Our blackberry cutting was cancelled because of the weather, so we cleaned up around the cabin and inventoried everything. Passed the rest of the day playing cards and eating/sleeping.

Awoke early Sun and set out on the Kaupo trail. Great hike. It was clear in the morning and we could see the distant peaks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The clouds followed us down the mountain so for teh first three hours or so I was very wet. The bonus to this was that there were lots of great waterfalls on the left side coming down from the cliffs above. We hiked down to the ranch where two vans were waiting for us to make the return to the summit. The drive back was great. I had never been on that section of road before and it was amazing. There are some wide gulches to cross. Crazy in flood conditions!! Even though the car companies say not to do it, driving that section between Makena and Kipahulu is really not that bad if you drive slow and the sights are spectacular!!!


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