OHE March 25, 1998

Date: Sat, 25 Apr 1998 19:37:54 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: Kuliouou circumnavigation

HTMC is doing "Puu o Kona", and Professor Turner turned it into "Kuliouou-Ahi" instead. However, that's a circumscribed version of Kuliouou-Ahi, since they start in the middle section of the valley.

After having scouted both east and west ridges for accessibility previous weeks, it is time to do the grand tour, going up east ridge and coming down west ridge, at SEALEVEL.

Started at 8 am at Kawekiu Place, crossed the stream, and went up that dry gully. It was lavishly ribboned from the previous week. I gained the top of the ridge in a half hour or so, and proceeded up the main ridge. At 9:30 came to the intersection with the trail that Dayle & co. are coming up. I stayed there a few minutes, but saw nobody. I concluded that they must have walked by already, and so I decided to do a shortcut, by going straight up Kuliouou East.

Got to the top at 10:35, and then I reset my stopwatch (see later). Met the gang coming along the summit ridge. Prof. was ahead, but Paka started late and was running (he fell off the cliff, I was told) and passed me in a blur. The Crossover was uneventful, and I got to the Kuliouou summit at 11:15.

Unfortunately the watch acted up!!, which I only found out later after I got home. Turned out the stopwatch portion was OK, it was the time that was wrong.

I tried to enlist people to come down the far west ridge with me, with no takers. Paka and Dayle, man, their faces show intense fear of the unknown, and so I took pity on them and did not insist :-) :-). Stuart did it with me on 3-20-1983, and also passed.

So at 11:30 a.m., by the defective watch, I headed down. Please confirm this time if anyone remembers. The watch apparently stopped or went slow, with the result that it is now 2h32m slow.

Turned right after the first cable. It was very steep for a little while, but quite manageable. Then it got into native forest, where the old trail is now choked with uluhe. There has been a drought, and so the vegetation was not too out of control, and it was OK to trample down hard and make headway.

After an hour by the defective watch, I got into strawberry guava territory. That was pleasant, since uluhe is mostly gone, and strawberry guava does not overgrow too badly. After a half hour, the vegetation changed to ironwood, which was quite unpleasant, as they overgrow extensively, and I had to do a lot of lopping. After 2 hours by the defective watch, I was out in the open.

I was wondering a little how come time passed so slowly, and it was _only_ 2 hours since I left the top, since I was feeling tired already. Now I know, the watch stopped!!

In the open section, the sun beats down and it was hot, but there was good breeze. The trail also got more indistinct.

The Great Wall of Oahu also started in this section. It is a Hawaiian-style lava-rock wall that extended 1.5-2.0 miles along the top of the ridge. It is clearly man-made, since I walked on top, and the rocks wobble. Natural rock formations never wobble! It is rather amazing, and must have entailed a lot of labor.

I was getting really tired, and I sat down several times to rest. But it was so early yet, not even 3 p.m. (defective watch again), while it seemed like ages that I have been walking on this dry sun-parched boring ridge. Then after 3.5 hours by the bad watch, I got to the bottom, and climbed out, reaching Mahimahi Street.

It was only half-hour walk back to my car at Kawekiu, and thence home.

At home, I discovered the malfunctioning of the watch. I think that I got out at 5:40 p.m. at Mahimahi Street, and so the trek down the west ridge took 6 hours 10 minutes, rather than 3 hours 35 minutes that I thought I took according to the bad watch. No wonder I am soooo tired now!!!


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