OHE March 26, 1998 (b)

Date: Sun, 26 Apr 1998 19:20:21 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Malaekahana

Did trail clearing with the HTMC today and the designated mauka pathway was the Malaekahana trail. We had a ton of folks on hand to work, including OHE-L'ers Grant Oka, Carole Moon, Chris Atkinson, Judy Roy, Lita Komura, Ralph Valentino, and Thomas Yoza.

We met at 8 a.m. at the community park on Po'ohaili Street in Laie and jumped in a couple trucks for the short drive to the trailhead. To my surprise, the dirt road used to access the Laie and Malaekahana trails has had a new (locked) gate installed at a point about a hundred yards before where the Laie trail commences. So we parked the vehicles on the road shoulder and began the hump, accompanied by light rain showers.

To reach the starting point of the trail, there was a walk of 10 to 15 minutes on a well-used dirt road until another new gate on the left was reached. A myriad of ribbons marks this point. On the mauka side of the locked gate is the Malaekahana trail. Actually, the first mile or so of Malaekahana is an old jeep road, the lower portion having been bulldozed clear some time in the past year.

Eventually, after some steady climbing, the old road became rutted and eroded and then a trail, which in the not-too-distant-past was a non-trail that the HTMC hammered open several years back. Lots of hard work was done creating a swath through the strawberry guava sections a few years ago and today we did some maintenance work so all the past labor will not have been for naught.

There were also segments of uluhe to deal with but with many hands wielding many cutting tools, we had no problem clearing the trail.

Eventually, at about the 2.5 hour mark (subtract an hour if hiking and not trail clearing), a junction was reached. From there, we descended a steep trail to the right for about 10 minutes to Malaekahana stream which was flowing with fairly strong force. By this time, the earlier rains had stopped and conditions turned muggy. Fortunately, the cooling water of the stream brought some welcome relief from the humid pall. In fact, several folks took a dip at pools upstream and downstream. Fun!

A year ago, Pat Rorie and I went upstream, scaled a small waterfall with the assistance of a rope, and went up a steep slope to the left of another much larger falls. Today, the water flow was so strong that going up the small falls would have been life threatening. As a result, no one went beyond the base of the small upstream falls but a handful swam in the pool just below it.

After lunch, about 20 minutes into the return leg, I met Paka-lolo, who had completed a hike at another windward side locale earlier and had driven out to Laie to log trek 2 of the day. I also met Thomas Yoza, who opted to continue upridge for awhile instead of descending to the stream. He went as far as the next prominent pu'u beyond the stream/ridge junction and even hacked out a lunchspot for anyone who wants to stay topside instead of going down to the stream. Nice work, Thomas!.

It is possible to continue along the ridge all the way to a junction with the Koolau Summit Trail (Pat and Wing did this last year), but no one was in the mood for such an option today. Instead, we all headed back downslope, enjoying the views of the Laie coastline spread out left to right in front of us. We reached our cars around 3:15, and as is our ritual, we kicked back for some refreshments and conversation before heading home.

Carole Moon and my idol, the famous woman hiker, will lead the HTMC Malaekahana hike on May 24. Please join them if you have a chance.


Reply From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>

The Malaekahana trail was a constructed trail, and so it contoured around humps it met. But when we re-opened it, it was so overgrown that it was easier to bash through along the ridge-top than to find and clear the old contours. Dick Schmidt did much of the hacking away of strawberry guava by brute force, when his knees were OK back then. I showed Pakalolo various signs of the old contour when we did it back in Sept. last, and we observed also a nice stretch way below when a lone big tree growing alongside.

If no one does the upper portion soon, it will probably revert to its old self.


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