OHE August 28, 1998 (b)

Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 10:13:06 -1000
From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>
Subject: upper Kalauao/ohe-l

I had an opportunity to do a weekday reconnaisance of upper Kalauao Valley yesterday (8-28-98) with a visiting German friend. We started about 8:50 am from the top of the parking lot at Keaiwi He'eau State Park in Aiea Heights. In about 90 minutes we had made it halfway along the Aiea Ridge Trail. We descended a spur that I'd spotted a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, the 'trail' that I thought I had seen must have been a pig run because it plunged down into the gulley on the mauka side of the spur rather than down the spur itself. Still, as we moved slowly down the spur, hindered by uluhe and maile, there were hints that some (possibly human) creatures had been down that way before. The spur I'm referring to here is slightly mauka of the steep dropoff, or 'forehead,' in the ridge on the left (Waimalu-side). It descends into Kalauao from the 1925' spot on the topo. We marked this spot only with one ribbon on the main trail, not wishing to lure anyone down there that wasn't fully prepared. Our ribbons start about 50' along our route.

We descended about 700' down the spur, marking our way with pink ribbons, and emerged at 11:20 am beside a nearly dry Kalauao Stream. There were a few signs of hunters even this far upstream--trash and hanging entrails--but any trails paralleling the stream on either side were extremely overgrown or nonexistent. We walked upstream in the streambed itself, taking the path of least resistence. There were occasional laundry basket-sized depressions filled with water but soon even these petered out and we walked dryshod through the rock-filled streambed. Eventually more water started to appear and we passed by several shallow pools that wouldn't normally have been too inviting; we were hot and tired, though, and ready for any relief. After an hour in the streambed we came to the biggest pool so far, maybe four feet deep in the middle and twenty feet long, in a mostly sunny location. Time out!

We took a dip and ate lunch, mostly sitting in the sun but enjoying an occasional light shower, and then retraced our steps downstream and up the spur, back along Aiea Ridge and Loop, and to the car. We were out by 5:30 pm. I should note that the 'trail' up the spur is pretty steep, but doable.

The vegetation along the spur was almost entirely native, and even in the streambed there was quite a bit of native stuff, along with the usual common guava.

I had taken compass readings on our way back downstream in order to make a crude map which I could later compare to my topo to see how far we'd gone. (I find it nearly impossible to keep track of our location by reading the topo as we go; too many twists and turns.) We made it farther than I'd expected, quite close to the summit, up to about the 1500' level in the streambed. In another half-hour, I would guess, we'd have reached a point where the stream started to ascend more steeply up the slopes of the summit. There appears to be an error on the topo map (!), the first one of significance that I've found. Kalauao Stream forks at 1400', but the left fork is not penned in on the map. You can infer its existence from the contour lines, however, and can trace it up to the summit crest. The right fork is shown on the map, but it seemed to us as we passed by to be smaller and steeper; it originates on the slopes of Pu'u Kawipo'o.

Camping spots are plentiful beside the stream, though not many people would take the trouble to get there. Any further exploration, though, will probably require more than a day-hike. My next goals are to go down, cross the stream, and get up onto the ridge separating Kalauao from Waimalu Valleys. It looks to me as though that ridge will provide a good route to the summit as well as several ways down into upper Waimalu. I have my eye on another spur, too, which leads right down to the fork in Kalauao Stream, which is a good place from which to explore either fork of the stream or to ascend the next ridge.

I was very surprised that there was so little water in Kalauao Stream. I've seen it bone dry before when there's been little rain, but we have had rain lately; in fact, it rained on us yesterday as we drove up there to hike. The ground must drink the water right up in this season. I look forward to seeing this area when the stream is flowing more fully, but recognize the difficulties that the added water will add to walking up- or downstream.


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