OHE August 20, 1999 (Papali-Punaiki)

Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 23:49:56 -1000
From: "Short, Mark E." (Mark.E.Short@bankofamerica.com>
Subject: papali/punaiki

For Thursday's WEHOT hike we started up Papali extended at about 9 am. Present were Thomas, Mabel, Bill, Lynn, Wing, Charlotte, Rich, Bob and my dog Sam. This trail seems like it is seeing some use. With light rain there were some muddy & steep sections. Those wearing cleats were glad. At one rest stop there was a nice view of a waterfall in Maakua Gulch. The junction with the Waiahilahila Ridge trail (aka Nipple trail) was reached by 11:30 and the entire group (minus Mabel & Wing who had stayed on the lower sections) arrived by 11:45.

Since it was still raining continuing was not that big an attraction. Lunch was eaten quickly and the group started down the Nipple Trail. Bill was checking out this route for an up coming Sierra Club hike and possible future HTMC hikes. With Sacred Falls closed this is the easiest windward route to the upper Castle trail and Kaluanui Valley. The exit from Punaiki Ridge was in question. Bill had mentioned that the exit Pat & Steve had used through a church property should be o.k. since he knew someone there. Bob was also familiar with the church and said it would be o.k. This exit included a long steep rocky descent with the aid of a very long rope. The exit I had used previously went down the Papali side of the ridge and followed the stream. This route was easier, the problem was blockage by hau which required me to walk about 20 feet on a private driveway at the end.

The descent of the Nipple trail was slowed by heavy overgrowth of uluhe. This was amazing, last May Papali was overgrown & Nipple was wide open, now the reverse is true. This shows what use or lack there of, will do to a trail. At the junction with Punaiki ridge trail Rich, Bob & I waited for the rest of the group who were unable to resist the urge to go into trail clearing mode. This was a long wait since there was a lot of uluhe. During this time we observed a very low flying HPD helicopter conducting a search for the two missing female Danish hikers. This made some nervous and they ducked under the cover of vegetation to avoid being spotted. Others were confident of the legality of being where we were, staying in plain sight and even giving the shaka sign as HPD paused overhead for a good look at us. Eventually the TMers arrived saying they had given up the battle for today.

Down Punaiki ridge we went. I really like this ridge, there is a long dike section but it never gets really narrow, and you can easily contour if you want. Paka had warned not to contour at one section because of impassable xmas berry. Our group was rready to clear this section. Rich & I took the high road up a 10 foot rock face with aid of a cable. I was figured the rest would struggle below then scramble back to the top when they'd had enough xmas berry. To my surprise they moved quickly. "Some one must have cleared that section" I thought to myself. Up on top Rich let me know he had a fear of places like this and that his hiking stick was the problem. Thinking he wanted a pole for his other hand I offered him one of mine. Turns out he wanted both hands free so he could contact rock with feet, hands & a low center of gravity. So I carried Rich's stick and my two poles. There is one spooky section where you have to step out on a rock that is tall & narrow and looks like it may tip over. It's really not that bad. After this section Rich was wanting to go down, but he was just a few feet from where the ridge got wider again. Soon he was comfortable again he made record time down to the bottom.

I now started to see fresh cutting and orange ribbons. "Wing" I thought. Soon enough I heard whacking sounds to the right. About 30 feet into a side trail was Wing. He had cleared a trail down from Papali then back up to Punaiki we talked for a while about the exit options & I showed him the church exit. We waited for Bob who confirmed the location. By now the others were in sight again and we decided Papali was the most Kosher exit choice, even though it ment one more climb. So down we went to the left, across the stream, then steeply up to the Papali trail. Some made comments about going down Papali after we had just climbed up to it and about how close the road was at the bottom. In the end everyone agreed that this was a good hike and post hike goodies were a great conclusion.

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