OHE August 23, 1998

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 17:24:52 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: Discovered end of Olympus-Castle!

Next week HTMC will do Kaau Crater, but I'll probably go do a camping trip, and so I went up there solo today.

Trail is in excellent shape. In 1994 I almost fell off a muddy steep slope with no handholds. So I brought a rope and tied it there for safety. Steps have been dug, last year by Ralph, and this year by Patrick, and so it's merely for reassurance, it's no longer a life death situation :-)

I recall some lady was drowned or swept away summer of 1997. Today, at the top of the 100' waterfall, I saw a bronze plaque, memorializing Heidi Marie Page, 1971-1997. Presumably the same lady. I didn't think she fell off the waterfall though. It would be certain death to fall off that waterfall for sure, but it's not even "purely psychological", the route is at least 5' away from the edge, it's very hard to fall off.

A few places on the East ridge have been eroded dreadfully. One place right near the top is now ten feet wide, all mud. The Hawaii Loa Ridge syndrome is here: the path gets so eroded, with no handholds, that the only safe way is to put up a rope.

Crossed over and had lunch at the West summit. Excellent view of the Windward side, and of the Maunawili contour trail. Looked longingly at the continuation trail to Ziggy's Rock, and to Olympus. Tried to look for any swath of Olympus-Castle meandering on the face of Olympus, and could not find anything definite.

See, Olympus-Castle goes from the Konahuanui ridge to Olympus, and _then_ continues to end at the West ridge of Kaau Crater. I think the original plan was to go on indefinitely, a contour trail on the Leeward side, Lanipo, Wiliwilnui, etc.etc. Either money or will ran out, and so it stops on the West ridge of Kaau, in the middle of nowhere.

Came down and kept an eye open on the right side, and sure enough, less than 10 minutes down is something on the right. Cut through the uluhe with machete, and sure enough there IS a contour trail going gently up along the hillside!! I cleared some 20-30 feet of the trail and called it quits. I put up a pink gift wrap ribbon at that spot, so that next week's hikers won't end up on Konahuanui ridge :-)

Opening it would probably take several thousand man-hours of work, and don't see that forthcoming in the foreseeable future. Used to be, Mr. Castle just paid money and built the trail. These days one probably needs a few years to get a building permit, and then file environmental impact statements, have hearings, etc.etc.etc. Indeed I don't know how Maunawili contour got off the drawing boards.


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