OHE March 9, 1998

Date: Thu, 9 Apr 1998 10:23:49 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Labor Of Love II

On Saturday, April 4th, I headed to Kahana Valley to embrace the bosom of my lover Mount Ohulehule. It had been over three months since I last conquered her so she was calling me back again. I felt badly because I was scheduled to go with Dayle, Wing and Gary to Kawiwi but the weather was so nice (high overcast with sunny periods gusty trade winds) that I called DKT that morning to let him know of my change in plans.

Arrived at the beginning of the new community in Kahana and made final preps. Started walking thru the housing area at 10:16 a.m. Passed the hunter/hiker check-in box ten minutes later and descended to Kahana Stream. Forded the stream via a small dam.

Worked my way thru a forest for a time crossing a different stream twice. Emerged from the forest into an open area. Went left at a junction where a tin can was hanging on a tree on the right. The trail became somewhat overgrown as I began going thru uluhe, my gators protecting me from the fern.

Dropped down and came to another stream crossing followed by a bamboo grove. The stream was lower than I was used to and the surrounding vegetation appeared limp due to the recent drought.

Made my way across a sizeable open overgrown uluhe section passing under an occasional shade tree one of which had a tall metal pole near it. Noticed several side trails during this stretch and did not encounter any wild boar.

As I approached another forest I spocked the sphinx rock above me to the right of a ridge. Gradually ascended the ridge stopping at the Waikane saddle (not the true Waikane saddle - the true Waikane saddle (also called the Kahana saddle) is located between Waikane and Kahana Valleys and is a junction for the Waiahole Ditch Trail, the Waikane contour trail and the Pu'u Ohulehule trail via Pu'u Koiele) for a rest at 12 noon.

The Ko'olau summit crest was clear so I visually traced the long windward section of the Ko'olau Summit Trail from its start, as it continued under Pu'u Pauao, then to the Schofield summit and finally as it disappeared behind massive Pu'u Ka'aumakua.

Pressing on I carefully climbed to the spot directly below the first cable section. I immediately noticed the place where Grant Tokumi had dislodged the large rock. There was a small crater where it had been. I thought to myself,"Those damn guys! I'm going to get them!". Nah, nah, nah. Just joking! But seriously what went thru my mind was,"Repair work needs to be done here before the club hike.".

Ascended gently over the damaged area and then very steeply to a location a few feet below the second cable. Tied rope to well anchored roots nearby, temporary assistance until permanent cables can be installed.

Continued to climb steeply until the trail leveled off near the junction with the southwest ridge. I could see the summit at that point and kept moving toward it reaching it at 12:50 p.m. No lie, Kurt! Two hours thirty four minutes from car to summit!

Took off my daypack, camelbak and sat down to rest. Signed the log book which was inside one of Dayle's plastic containers. Afterward I got up and armed with my bolo knife and loppers headed for the southeast ridge to reestablish the trail I had created on it in late December of last year.

Cut back vegetation where necessary as the narrow swath descended somewhat steeply thru clidemia then leveled off between various trees and uluhe. Arrived at the spot where I had stopped in December and turned around. Instead of lengthening the trail I decided to spend the bulk of the time clearing the summit.

Returned to the pinnacle of Ohulehule reaching it at 1:30 p.m. Paused to catch my breath. A few minutes later I began clearing the summit of clidemia trees and ten foot tall ti leaf trees. From the uppermost point of the southeast ridge to an area well beyond the top of the northwest ridge I methodically chopped down clidemia trees using the loppers and ti leaf trees using the bolo knife. I hated to cut down the ti leaf trees because I like that type of flora and I had to ignore superstition which whispered into my ear,"The gods will get you for this!".

Periodically I descended just below the summit to eliminate tall trees which obscured the vista. The bark forming the trunk of a few of them was too solid to cut so I lopped off several of their branches. It was exciting to slowly see the restoration of a panoramic lookout.

During occasional rest breaks I enjoyed the fruits of my labor looking down on Kahana Valley, Pu'u Piei, the true Manamana, Kaaawa Valley, Kanehoalani, Hakipuu Valley, Chinaman's Hat, and Kaneohe Bay.

The only major problem I ran into was where to store the large heap of vegetation I was accumulating. As the time approached to leave the summit I ended up spending the final half hour throwing downed trees over the side of the mountain.

At approx. 5:09 p.m. I departed the apex of Pu'u Ohulehule and retraced my steps to the beginning of the new Kahana community (Hawaiian Homesteads?) arriving there at 7:13 p.m. Drove off five minutes later.

Notes: Those brave souls who recently visited the summit of Mount Ohulehule wouldn't recognize the region after what I've done to it. Plenty of work remains in order to return the pinnacle to its once grassy panoramic state. My greatest concern which has been echoed to me by Kurt Heilbron and Mike Adams is the erosion which is taking place along the very steep section of the trail. HTMC closed the southeast ridge route when part of it got so eroded and crumbly that someone fell 100 feet. Fortunately that person didn't sustain any serious injuries but the warning was heeded.

Mount Ohulehule is,"The craggy peak which dominates the windward coast from Kahalu'u to Punalu'u. It stands alone, being only loosely connected to the Ko'olau summit ridge. Radiating from its slopes are 4 undeveloped valleys, Kahana, Ka'a'awa, Hakipu'u, and Waikane. Ohulehule is a classic mountain, beautiful but dangerous."*

Ohulehule has been featured in many big screen movies including the recent Richard Dreyfuss effort "Krippendorf's Tribe".


* Ball Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.

== Patrick

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