OHE August 23, 1998 (b)

Date: Sun, 23 Aug 1998 19:33:36 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Hidden Valley-Manamana TM

Doug "Dusty" Klein will lead the HTMC members-only hike called Kahekili (aka Hidden Valley) in a couple weeks, and to prepare for that outing a gang of us met at Swanzee Beach Park in Kaaawa this morning for trail maintenance. Another upcoming club hike is Pu'u Manamana, so our plan was to continue on to that trail from the usual terminal spot of Kahekili and do some additional work.

In addition to Dusty and I, on hand were Carole K. Moon, Georgina Oka, Lynn Agena, Naomi Nasu, June Miyasato, Deetsie Chave, Charlotte Yamane, Kris Corliss, her hubby Larry Oswald, Jay Feldman, Bill Gorst, Nathan Yuen, Ralph Valentino, Michael Valentino, Arnold Fujioka, Ken Suzuki, Jason Sunada, and Gerald Leao. Among the maintenance gang regulars missing were trail boss Mabel Kekina (she arrived later in the afternoon after returning from a mainland vacation trip today), Pat Rorie (mainland trip to see his folks), John Hall (leading a Nature Center hike) and Grant Oka (mainland backpacking trip).

From Swanzee, we hiked up the road adjacent to the recently-renovated Kaaawa fire station and picked up the trail at the end of that road. The trail commenced between the yards of the two residences at road's end, but either an easement exists for trail access or the people who live there allow hikers to pass through.

Whatever the case, we went by with no problem. After a few minutes, the trail veered left and up to begin an ascent to the ridgetop. There were a couple of switchbacks and an occasional straight-up climb over a dry, crumbly trail through Christmas berry.

Once the ridge crest was gained, there were nice views of the Kaaawa shoreline to the left, Pu'u Manamana ridge to the right, and the large pu'u (1,172 on the topo map) we had to climb straight ahead. For the first time in awhile, I had my camera with me, and I snapped photos with abandon. I hope to develop, scan, and post these in a week or so.

After a pleasant open section, steep climbing commenced to gain the 1,172 pu'u. There is one cable section just before the top but ample hand- and footholds are available to make the climb manageable. From the 1,172 point, we had superb views of Kaaawa Valley to the south and lovely and forboding Mo'o Kapu o Haloa Ridge, home of Pu'u Kanehoalani (1,900), beyond it.

After a short, narrow dike section, the trail veered to the right to contour below the ridge's top. Charlotte mentioned that years ago she and Al Miller had bypassed the contour route and traversed the ridgetop, which included some dicey climbs and drops. Today, however, no one was in an adventurous mood, so we stuck with the established trail.

Ample foliage and trees masked steep drops to the right and made the contour section seem quite safe. Extended dry conditions, too, made for dependable footing and less vegetative trail blockage to hack. By 9:45, we had reached the top of the waterfall at the head of Hidden Valley where the club hike will end, and we spent a few minutes resting there and talking story. Last year, a dead pig was floating in the small pool just above the top of the falls, but no deceased pua'a was there today. While we kicked back, Charlotte pressed on up Hidden Valley for 10 minutes to check out a grove of native Hawaiian plants she had seen in the past. She later reported that someone had pillaged the grove and an attempt at replanting was dug up by pigs. Auwe!!

After the rest break, we pressed on, ascending the finger ridge on the right (north) side of Hidden Valley. The first 15 minutes involved steady climbing up a fairly clear ridge, but we then hit a sea of uluhe, which clogged up the trail that obviously has seen little traffic in the past couple years. The uluhe section was maybe a quarter-mile or so, but the growth was so thick that we made painfully slow progress, arriving at the 1,938 junction with the Pu'u Manamana trail at 11:00. I ram-rodded all the way, in the process sustaining some uluhe love scratches on my knees and losing a contact lens (mahalo to Nathan, Lynn, and Naomi for assistance with the lens).

As a reward for bulldozing the path, I had tasty snacks rained on me by the others during the 20-minute rest break at the Manamana-Hidden Valley junction. The candy, grapes, li hing mango, brownies and more I received were consumed quickly with gusto. Mahalo nui.

During the break, we decided to break the group in two, with one group heading south toward Turnover (2,076) and the other heading north toward Crouching Lion and the infamous Manamana cable and dike sections. Wnating some excitement, I opted for the latter, as did Charlotte, Ralph, his son Michael, Arnold, Jay, Kris, Larry, Nathan, Lynn, Dusty and Gerald.

Ken led the south-bound group, later reporting that the steep, muddy trail from Turnover down to Trout Farm Road needs much more work than could be managed today (heavy clidemia growth along the way). It appears we'll have to conduct another maintenance outing of Manamana a couple weeks before the club hike.

The north-bound group, on the other hand, worked steadily until 12:15, stopping for lunch at a pu'u just upridge of the narrow dikes and cable sections. Gerald and Dusty shoved off downridge a few minutes before the rest of us, and I took pictures of them as they traversed the dike section pictured in Stuart's book. Hopefully the pics will capture the scene I observed.

After lunch, we put away our cutting tools since we needed both hands free to negotiate the sections ahead. Hiking makai down the ridge is more spectacular than hiking mauka, especially with the clear conditions and the pleasant trade winds that were ours today. I snapped a pile of pictures, my only regret being that I didn't have an additional roll of film on hand to shoot even more. Next time.

We all cleared the cable sections and the "purely psychological" dike segment without a hitch. Even the 7-foot rock and cable with a big drop didn't seem as intimidating as I recalled. Hats off to Manamana first-timers Nathan, Lynn, Kris, and Larry who completed the legendary ridge without flinching. Hats off and a big hand for Michael Valentino, also a Manamana rookie, who although just ten, showed no fear. A future Paka Rorie in the making? Perhaps.

After completing the diciest sections, we rested for a spell at the point of the ridge (~1,100 ft) that veered northwest to descend toward Kahana Bay. Someone has set up a white cross at the cliff's edge, and the cross is easily visible from the highway below.

The descent to Kamehameha Highway went well, with Jay and I hanging back to do some repairs on a severed section of cable. Meanwhile, Dusty and Gerald were long gone, having completed the descent to the road before we left the cross. The rest of us spent time climbing the rock outcroppings that are the head and rump of Crouching Lion (fun!) and then continued down past two bunkers before reaching the highway.

Most of us walked back to Swanzee Park while Ralph waited at Trout Farm Road in his truck for Ken's group. By 3:00, we were all assembled for a post-clearing snack and soda fest at Swanzee Park, with Mabel, fresh off a plane from the mainland, there to greet us.

An enjoyable day in the mountains it was.


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