OHE August 3, 1997

Contributed by Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu):

Was a slug this weekend and only got out to hit the trail on Sunday. Spent Friday and Saturday at home, napping most of the day. Hey, I'm on vacation. *8-)

==Sunday, August 3

Joined the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club trail maintenance crew out on the windward side to work on the Laie Trail. Pat Rorie and I had a talk prior to the outing and decided to use the opportunity to complete the last section of the Koolau Summit Trail we had yet to traverse--the one between Pupukea and the Laie summit.

We received the okay from trail clearing boss Mabel Kekina to undertake our proposed trek and after doing some work on the way up Laie, Pat and I set off from the Laie summit at 11:15.

The day was a good one for summit hiking, with clear skies overhead and a gentle breeze blowing across the crest. We reached the point where the Malaekahana Trail tops out in about 40 minutes on a trail that was fairly easy to negotiate.

Thereafter, the summit trail became bad, worse, and then hellish. We pushed on as rapidly as we could but the poor condition of the trail made moving quickly difficult to do. Pat led almost all the way, the result being heavy abuse from the thick vegetation, predominantly uluhe and strawberry guava. So bad was it that his shirt was in virtual tatters at the end of the hike. As trailing man, I affixed ribbons at critical spots on the trail.

On several occasions, we lost the trail and decided to bulldoze our way over the top of a few low hills that populate this section of the KST. But for the most part, we tried to stick with the original trail as it played hopscotch, jumping back and forth from windward to leeward with no apparent reason or rhyme. And except for a couple places hours into the hike, we saw no sign that anyone had traversed the route in a long time--no ribbons, no trash, no footprints, nada.

At 5:15, six hours after we launched from the Laie summit, we reached the benchmarked hilltop that serves as the terminal point/lunch spot for the HTMC's Pupukea Summit hike. Kost Pankiwskyj, who had hiked that segment three times in the past, told us the distance from Laie to the lunch spot is five miles.

From there on, the trail is wide open to the military dirt/gravel road leading to Pupukea. We reached my vehicle at the end of Pupukea Road at 7:00 and I then transported Pat back to his car at the Laie Trailhead.

Frankly, I wouldn't recommend that section of the KST to anyone except hardcore masochists. So if you fall into that category, feel free to indulge. The trail is now marked and relative to what it was before today--open. 8-)

Trek highlights/lowlights: I lost my machete. We encountered no pigs or freemen. We both ended up dirty as pigs. We ended the hike without having to use flashlights. Our cars weren't ripped off/broken into. The cookies Naomi Nasu gave us helped us complete the final 90 minutes of the hike. We avoided major injury.

Perhaps Paka-lolo will oblige us with his perspective on the hike from hell. What say you, Patrick?


Reply from Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net)

I noticed that you never mentioned the word "view" on the Laie- Pupukea Death March :).

Hey, that's the kind of hike I like to go, I can lop the strawberry guavas to my heart's content! Next time, or, from the way you wrote it, is there a next time?

I went Konahuanui with Stuart Ball as leader. Guys were all lazy, no one went to the second higher peak, and so I didn't want to go by myself. Two young fellows not with the Club came up, and asked who is Stuart Ball, and then took pictures with the idol. They also mentioned they knew the other idol Dayle Turner. Judging from their age, I think they might be Dayle's students. They ran over to the second peak too fast before I could ask them.


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