OHE August 5, 1999 (KST trip)

Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 09:50:19 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@k12.hi.us>
Subject: View from the Caboose (more from the Ko'olau Summit Backpack)

Dayle did a superb job of describing the day to day events of the recent HTM Ko'olau backpack trip but because our group essentially broke up into two parts during the ordeal, I wanted to include the perspective from the sweep position.

First of all, Carole Moon and June Miyasato proved to be the inspiration to us all by overcoming cramps, exhaustion and all of the obstacles the KST could throw at them over the three day period. Carole even offered me a spot in her tent during the night if rain penetrated my bivy. She also noticed the most important piece of gear in my pack not by inspection but via her nose. I apply lots of old spice high endurance to counter any body odor generated during backpacking trips and Carole appreciated the gesture. She commented that I smelled like Ralph Valentino. What a compliment!

The sweep position was a walk in the park because the journey included Ken Suzuki and Thomas Yoza (affectionately nicknamed "Burrito Boy" on this trip due to his use of a blue tarp for shelter during the night). Both men made sure Carole and June were well taken care of (not that the wahines needed much assistance) thus freeing me to look around as much as I desired. Ken provided a filter to treat water from the small waterfall at Kawailoa and gave me two cups of boiled H2O for supper.

As for the gear I used other than old spice stick, I'm still "old school" in many ways. The main reason I brought my slumberjack is because the manufacturer is now providing aluminum replacement poles. I highly recommend Gene Robinson, Dayle Turner, Wing Ng and anyone else with broken poles call them at 1-800-233-6283. Passing showers at night soaked the outer shell of the bivy and I noticed some condensation inside the tent but there wasn't enough to significantly dampen my sleeping bag. I slept warmly and comfortably inside a thinsulate lite loft (2 lbs) applying a lesson Gene and I learned in May of last year when we neglected to bring sleeping bags on the Laie to Waimano backpack trip. A therm-a-rest pad provided adequate support but I still woke up in the wee hours of the morning with a sore back.

Food is the most important item to me and I don't play it cheap dining on Mountain House vegetable lasagna Friday evening and chicken stew Saturday night. Four apples, three 12 oz doctor peppers, a small bag of honey nut cheerios, tang (to neutralize the iodine taste of the drinking water), five power bars, a bag of lettuce for roughage, and four 1.75 oz bags of chex mix rounded out the menu list. Although much heavier than the ultra light stoves, a propane stove with bottle is extremely reliable and my choice on every trip I attempt.

My hiking attire included a medium sized white coolmax shirt (a firm fit around my torso to protect against flora snags), brown cotton quiksilver short pants (30 inch waist) from Savers, red speedo bathing suit to avoid chaffing, gortex sox to keep feet dry, two pair of cotton sox over the gortex sox all inside standard walmart hiking boots, and above the shin high gators over the top of the boots and covering the cotton sox. I installed an extra large drybag inside my Kelty backpack to make absolutely certain critical items like warm clothing remained moisture free. Every morning before hitting the trail I smeared Coppertone Sport spf 48 onto my balding head, face, neck, and arms. I drank only one to two liters of tang flavored water each day along with a doctor pepper in the morning to give me an initial sugar/caffine jump start. Did anything go wrong? You bet. My backpack extends several inches above my head when I have it on (see group photo on Ko'olau Summit Backpack Trip webpage) so branches constantly impeded progress.

I'm far from a plant expert so my observations were very basic. On day 2 I enjoyed pausing many times to gaze at the abundance of healthy lapalapa trees between Kawailoa and Poamoho. Ball writes "Lapalapa has yellow-green rounded leaves that flutter in the slightest breeze. The name derives from the sound the leaves make in the wind."* Also, on day 2 and day 3, the clumps of tall loulu palms and the occasional lone tall loulu brought pleasure. Spotted many of the common lobelia including a few big ones, esp. on day 3. Inside the fence enclosure beyond the Castle junction I observed baby green swords or something similar. I'm probably mistaken but they looked like what some of us saw in the bog area of the West Maui mountains last December.

On the morning of the final day in the Ko'olaus, I encouraged our group (Carole, Ken, Thomas, and June) to take it slow from the cabin to the Schofield terminus because I had a feeling the morning clouds would lift revealing awesome views of the windward side. Sure enough, the fog dissipated shortly before 10 a.m. and the five of us along with Brandon and Kay marveled at the incredible sights. To my knowledge most of Dayle's group (except Dayle himself) missed out on this phenomenon chosing to hike as fast as possible to Schofield.

Prior to reaching the KST/Schofield trail junction, Brandon took Ken, Kay and I on a brief side trip to the top of a panoramic pu'u. After lunch at the Schofield terminus while the others commenced the long descent to California Ave., I sat down and looked across upper Kahana at the Waikane Trail and noticed cloudless Pu'u Ka'aumakua towering high above the graded contour. "I wish I could visit Ka'aumakua today!" I told myself. During the descent of the Schofield trail I also recognized the final stretch of the Kipapa Trail cut magnificently into a summit pu'u on the completely clear Ko'olau crest. "Man, I wish we could have kept going on the Summit Trail!" I thought to myself. "Especially since its such a nice day!".

Special thanks to Dayle for taking reservations and arranging the pre- and post-hike transport, and Bill Melemai for all of his help. You're coming with us next time, Bill! :-) Imua and excelsior!




* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO HAWAI'I. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1996.

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