OHE April 17, 1999 (Kanehoa-Hapapa)


Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 18:39:57 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Kanehoa-Hapapa

Phil Booth will the lead the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club outing on the Kanehoa-Hapapa trail next Saturday (members-only, limit of 15), and a gang of us hiked the route today to prep it. We met at 8 a.m. at the Hawaii Country Club (aka Kunia Golf Course) on Kunia Road, and on hand were Phil, his brother-in-law Herman Dombrowski, Volker Hildebrant, his wife Charlotte Yamane (my idol), Grant Oka, his daugther Georgina, Jim Pushaw, Jay Feldman, Bill Gorst, Deetsie Chave, her dog Sam, Jason Sunada, June Miyasato, Greg Kingsley, and I. Trail maintenance honcho Mabel Kekina, still recovering from a bone spur in her left heel, was there to brief us.

From the golf course, we carpooled over to the billboard at the upper edge of the Del Monte pine fields (Stuart describes this trailhead in his book). With clear blue skies overhead, we set off to do our work. The trail is in the domain of the Nature Conservancy, and in the forest not far from where the trail begins is a sign announcing this fact.

Mabel mentioned that the NC gave us the green light to cut only four types of vegetation on our maintenance outing: uluhe, clidemia, Christmas berry, and guava. We were to hack nothing else. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

As we hiked along past ironwood and Formosan koa branches that encroached on the trail, I questioned this directive, but Bill advised me that chopping anything except the specified flora might jeopadize the club's hiking future in the Honouliuli Preserve. So I stifled my urge to hack and stuck to the game plan.

From the billboard (elev. 1,000 ft.), the trail rises steadily up a spur that eventually tops out at Pu'u Kanehoa (2,778 ft). The spur was a delight to hike today since it was pleasantly shaded, fairly clear, and not overly steep. Some segments were choked with clidemia (a green-light weed), and we smacked at it with enthusiasm.

After a short rest at Kanehoa, we turned right along the crest of the Waianae range bound for Pu'u Hapapa (2,883). All along the summit we were treated to excellent views of massive Lualualei Valley and landmarks such as Heleakala, Pu'u o Hulu (kai and uka), Kamaileunu, and even the Ohikilolo summit pyramid. In the Koko head direction, Kaimana Hila (Diamond Head) was easily discernible, and the stretch of the Koolau Range spread as far as the eye could see.

Christmas berry was the hack victim of choice on the summit leg, and we chopped it with gusto all along the way. Just past Hapapa, Jim Pushaw and Bill Gorst spotted tree snails and a large blooming lobelia. Bill even snapped some pictures. The group I was with ate lunch past Hapapa at a shaded area where the summit trail veers right to descend a ridge to the Honouliuli Contour Trail.

About ten minutes down this ridge, we passed a junction with a spur that descended steeply to the grassy meadow above the Kolekole Rock. I had thoughts of descending this spur but Bill said it was steep and potentially dangerous (in other words, he was suggesting I not chance it). I heeded his advice and proceeded downridge until reaching a second junction. There we veered left down a semi-steep, eroded trail (to the right at the junction, a trail stayed on the crest of the ridge and eventually reached the contour trail). And in less than ten minutes we dropped onto the contour trail.

On the contour trail at that point was a white circle made with chalk or flour. I recognized this as a marker left by Hash House Harriers (runners who like to consume alcohol), and I was surprised that this group would conduct a run on a trail like Honouliuli.

As we headed to Kolekole Pass on the contour trail, we spotted more white flour marks on the ground. Right before the grassy meadow, we spotted long rope sections used as climbing aids to ascend a steep eroded slope. It appeared as if the Hash Housers had used (or were going to use) these ropes to climb the hill because white flour arrows pointed up the slope. "Hard core," I thought to myself.

When the first group reached Kolekole Pass, Mabel and Deetsie's vehicles were there but no sign of Mabel or Deetsie. So we kicked back at a shaded, grassy spot until they arrived (they'd been cruising along the contour trail beyond where we had reached it).

Later, a mob of runners (the Hashers) came jogging/walking past. Just prior, three greyhound military guys zipped past, encouraging us to divert the oncoming masses (the trio were the chasees and the masses--the chasers). We had some fun chiding the chasers, a hodge-podge group of folks--young, not-so-young, fit, not-so-fit.

As we always do, we enjoyed post hike refreshments, talked story, made plans for future outings, and then bid each other farewell. The next outing, by the way, is tomorrow. The goal is to clear Waiau Ridge to the summit. We'll be making a two-pronged attack, with some working from the bottom-up and some hiking up the Waimano Trail and then working down the ridge from the summit.

Safe hiking to all,

--DKT


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