OHE March 19, 1998

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 1998 08:49:01 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Aiea to Halawa summit hike

Pat "Paka" Rorie, Nathan Yuen, and I did the crossover from Aiea ridge to Halawa ridge yesterday (Sunday, 4/19). We began the day with the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club trail maintenance gang, which was scheduled to work on the Aiea Ridge trail. We departed Keaiwa Heiau State Park at 8:15, did some work on the way up, and reached the Koolau summit at 11:30. After a brief rest, we began the crossover on the Koolau backbone to Halawa at 11:48.

We had clear views for the first several minutes--Temple Valley and Kahaluu was just below us--but then the clouds rolled in, socking us in for most of the segment along the summit crest. At several points, the gong from the Byodo In Temple echoed eerily through the mist.

As might be expected, there was the usual Koolau rollercoaster effect to deal with but the climbs weren't overly demanding, the vegetation on the crest wasn't nastily thick, and the ridge walking wasn't overly perilous. At all times, we were keenly aware of the steep windward pali to our left.

Along the way, we passed some interesting low-grass bowl ravines to leeward, and, yes, there are na pua'a who reside nearly 3,000 feet up in the Koolaus--at least there must be based on the rootings and pig scat we saw.

Perhaps the most memorable point of the crossover was when we encountered the top of the Haiku Stairs on the north side of Haiku Valley (the stairs everyone is familiar with is on the south side of the valley). We didn't descend these stairs, which supposedly terminate at a steep dropoff. However, we ate lunch nearby just outside a small concrete structure, akin to the winch house on the south side. Inside this structure were a couple of dirty, puka inflatable matresses, an old deck of cards, an assortment of trash, and a full jar of peanut butter (with some interesting looking mold growing on the upper layer--yummy).

To my surprise, several hundred yards of the crest are stocked with a metal walkway and handrails and another section has a long cable strung through metal posts, also serving as handrails. These probably were used by workers who once maintained the huge wire array that used to stretch across Haiku Valley.

What's more, the 1993 Nissan Sentra that once occupied a pu'u not far from the top of Halawa has been removed (the scuttlebutt is that the car was dropped there by a military chopper pilot on a dare/bet). The place where this car sat is readily apparent by the dried vegetation in the shape of an auto-sized rectangle. Also, by the time we reached this pu'u, the clouds dissipated, giving Pat, Nathan, and I extraordinary views of the natural amphitheater that is Haiku Valley. Even the eyesore H-3 could not mar the beauty laid out before us. As is our custom, hands were held high in exultation.

We reached the summit of Halawa at 2:30 (2 hours, 42 minutes for the crossover), and after a brief rest and last glances at the windward side, we began the long trek down the Halawa trail, departing at 2:40.

The trail down Halawa ridge is in nice shape, thanks to recent clearing efforts by the HTMC and the Sierra Club and also the lengthy dry spell we've experienced on Oahu in the past months. Although lengthy, the descent is very gentle, allowing us to talk story and enjoy the pleasant surroundings while moving along at a nice pace.

Pat, who did bang-up work as the ramrod on the crossover, had left his car near the start of the Halawa Valley access road and we reached the Pat-mobile at 5:40, ending a 3-hour descent of Halawa and 9.5 hours total time on the trail.

A good day's hike in our beloved Koolaus.



Return to OHE top | Return to Oahu Hike Tales | Email Dayle