Did something out of the ordinary by hiking around the perimeter of the airport reef runway. With some big hill climbing coming up the next day, I decided I needed to give my legs a bit of work without blowing them out, so as I was heading home from Pearl City something told me to drive out to the end of Lagoon Drive, park my vehicle there, and take the semi-lap around that big coral thing-a-ma-bob that planes land on. A fence guards the runway itself but a 5-foot wide crushed coral path extends around its perimeter. I took an hour to reach the point of the ocean-facing side of the runway where a barb-wire fence blocks further progress. While out there, I encountered five guys on mountain bikes (all fisherman) who, using the path, had pedaled to some decent looking fishing spots on the boulder breakwater that protects the runway. I found a pair of XXL tabis (fit my big feet well) and even did some trail clearing, using my hand shears to clip some nasty thorny bushes that encroached on the path. Enjoyed some really nice views of the Koolaus, too.
Went on a really nice outing with comrades in backpacks Pat "Paka-lolo" Rorie, Laredo Murray (green hair on hike day), HTMC vet Wing Ng, and the hiking doctors Pete Caldwell, Gene Robinson, and Torrey Goodman. All the names are familiar ones to the OHE ohana except for Torrey, a Kaiser emergency room M.D. who resembles Linda Hamilton from "The Terminator" flick.
With the roster set, our plan for the day was to hike to the back of Waimalu Valley, ascend the ridge at its end (this ridge is referred to as "the middle ridge" or "Waimalu Uka," among other things), proceed north along the Koolau summit, and descend the Waimano Ridge Trail. Although we knew we had a long day ahead, we were hopeful we could complete the outing without having to use flashlights.
We started at 7:15 a.m., staging cars at both the starting point on Onikiniki Street above Pearlridge and the planned ending point at the top of Waimano Home Road. Wing, feeling like he needed a head start, began at 5:45.
The hike to the base of the middle ridge took approximately two hours, and the at-times steep climb to the summit about three more (sprint hikers Rorie, Robinson, and Murray topped out about 45 minutes before the rest of us). Waiting at the crest (elevation 2,570) was, as Wing mentioned in a previous write-up, arguably the best summit lunch spot in all of the Koolaus. Situated there on a corner of the summit crest is large grassy meadow that juts out prominently to windward, creating an amphitheater-like effect. It was our good fortune that clouds stayed clear of the mountain top, giving us pristine viewing conditions.
The crossover to Waimano was spectacular. The "trail" we followed stayed on the spine all the way--with exhilarating views of Waihee Valley and much of the windward Oahu coast--and some adrenaline-pumping climbs and traverses of some narrow sections (Wing, because of dehydration and leg cramps, decided he would return the way we came instead of making the crossover and Waimano descent). The rest of us reached the summit of Waimano two hours after leaving the summit of the middle ridge. During that span, we could see hikers resting at the top of Waimano. Undoubtedly, they could see us as well and were probably wondering who those boneheads were coming toward them. :-)
The sprint hikers again led the charge down Waimano, with Gene "Pua'a Chaser" Robinson getting out in under two hours (he ran part of the way), and Patrick and Laredo completing it in 2:15. The rest of us arrived thereafter. Gene earned the super-mahalo award of the day for driving down the hill to purchase huge double-gulp sodas and cups of tapioca that he presented to us when we walked off the trail. Thanks, Gene!
After resting and talking story for a bit, we drove back to Onikiniki and were shocked to see Wing's car still there. It was about 8 p.m. by that time and we thought he should have hiked out via the middle ridge and valley trail faster than the route we had completed. Come to find out, humidity, fatigue and lack of water slowed Wing considerably and he did not reach his vehicle till 9:15, ending a 14.5-hour day on the trail!
Happily, all turned out well for Wing and the rest of the band of merry hikers.
On a hot, humid day, joined the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club maintenance crew to work on the trail used for the "Pauoa Woods" hike. We began on the Manoa Cliffs Trail, followed it to Pauoa Flats, turned left on the Nuuanu Trail, and then headed down a not-often-used path on the ridge that leads to Pacific Heights. At the point near where homes begin, the trail descends toward Pauoa Valley, reaches a pipeline about midway down the hillside, and turns mauka, contouring toward the back of the valley. In the valley section, the trail passes some interesting rock terraces, huge banyan trees, concrete-capped Booth Springs, and a new water tank. We continued mauka, following a dry stream bed for a half mile before ascending through a thick grove of bamboo. Before making the final climb to the Cliffs trail, we passed along the top of a dry, 100-foot waterfall. Nice.
Members in attendance were Mabel Kekina, John Hall, Bill Gorst, Grant Oka, Grant's daughter Georgina, Jay Feldman, Carole K. Moon, Charlotte Yamane, Lita Komura, Ken Suzuki, Ralph Valentino, Joe Bussen, and Deetsie Chave. We even had a new recruit (I can't recall his name) who could be the replacement for Pat Rorie, noticeably AWOL on this day.
Kden, gang. Aloha and safe hiking to all.