OHE December 23, 1997

Date: Tue, 23 Dec 1997 22:39:21 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: I can't believe that I ate the _whole_ thing

I must thank Dayle Turner for proposing the Waialae Nui to Ahi traverse. It will fill in the gaps of Waialae Nui to Wiliwilinui, and of Wailupe Middle to Hawaii Loa, and I shall have completed the entire Koolau crest from Konahuanui to Makapuu Lighthouse.

Furthermore, Prof. Turner would have conferred Ph.D. in hiking on Nathan Yuen. Dr. Yuen wannabe has made astonishing progress, doing highly dangerous undertakings like Waianae Kaala and 3rd peak Olomana, but this will be his first UNtrail done with flashlight, which if accomplished, should qualify him for the hiking doctorate.

I thank various members of this list for making it possible for me to make such an outrageous claim, by allowing me to do Konahuanui to Olympus, and from Waialae Nui to Olympus, recently. I already finished everything east of Hawaii Loa, and so today will be the day.

Moreover, I wanted to hang one rope at that loose dirt cliff near Ahi that almost fatally humiliated me last Sunday in front of this female almost rescuer.

We parked at the Ahi trailhead at 8:30, and then proceeded to Waialae Nui in Dayle's jeep. Started at 9:00, and I got to the top at 11:40, exact same time as Sunday before last.

Now left turn instead of right. Topo map shows a fearsome drop along the Koolau crest to the east of Waialae Nui. I have been worried about that. Turned out that there is lots of vegetation to grab onto, and the descent was "not too bad", really. We traversed this section with powerline poles that I have been admiring for 17 years. Well, finally.

Then my cell phone rang; actually I forgot to turn it off at 8:30. Dayle inquires my location, he is at the top of Wiliwilinui. I said I am somewhere in the middle. He will wait for me at the top.

Crossing took 50 minutes, and there is a crowd at the top of hikers who did Wiliwilinui. Dayle and Nathan had lunch already and wanted to proceed. I said no need to wait for me, we should call each other every hour.

Unusual to actually have lunch on these untrail hikes, especially as early as 12:30. I also called someone worried about my "near death experience" last Sunday, and I made assurance that I know what I am doing, I merely want to hang a rope ....

Onward to Wailupe Middle. This section was well cleared and took only 40 minutes. Reflected on the fact that last time we were here, Princess Diana was still alive, but she was dead already when we got down into the valley. The impermanence of life.

Last time the onward trek to Hawaii Loa looked horrible from the top of Wailupe Middle. Someone came up to clear the top some more, and there is now a large clearing, and even the crest towards Hawaii Loa does not look as bad as last time.

It was mostly gentle ups and downs, but there was hardly any trail to speak of, there is an untrail along the crest. Does not look like anyone has used it in years.

Time to talk on the cell phone: I was about to climb a major hill, which I assumed tops out to Hawaii Loa. Dayle says he is on top of that hill, and it's not Hawaii Loa. It's 2:05 already. I already made calculation that I need to get to Hawaii Loa by 2:30 in order to complete this trek to Ahi. If I am not there at 2:30, then I need to bail out at Hawaii Loa.

This section took a long long time. Turned out I was only midway when I phoned. The ascent to the hill is particularly overgrown, and the footing is also bad. It took almost a half hour to climb that hill.

The crest becomes easier after that hill; it is almost flat, with rather low vegetation. Somehow I feel that Hawaii Loa is near, and there is a major clidemia grove that I then decided to attack with abandon. Soon it's time to phone, and I said I am not at Hawaii Loa yet. Dayle said they are at the top of Kulepeamoa doing the cable section towards Kuliouou. I said you should be at Ahi by 5 p.m. I have decided to bail out at Hawaii Loa. Dayle says he will pick me up with car from the Kulepeamoa trailhead.

Actually I reached Hawaii Loa two minutes after I turned off the cell phone. It was 3:20.

The upper sections of Hawaii Loa and Ahi have both been made too wide. Today it rained a little and the trail is steep and very muddy, and clearing it super-wide means that there is nothing to grab. I fell and slid numerous times. One time I fell on my back, and a stump hit my back hard. When I got to the muddy cliff, I had to use that long rope, because I could hardly stand still. When it was dry, I never had to use the ropes.

Eventually it flattens and dries out, and I even found the junction with the trail down the valley, and the hike out to the trailhead was uneventful. I got out at 6:00.

No Dayle or Nathan. I had to walk 1h 10m back to my car in Kuliouou Valley. When I got back to my car, Dayle drove by, and says he must have missed me. He also got out at exactly 6:00 on his end.

I am sorry I am unable to hang that rope. Should have given the rope to Dayle.

But I thanked him profusely for engineering this occasion that enabled me to finish the entire Koolau east of Konahuanui. And poor Pat Rorie had to work today! Anyway he is still missing the section Mariners to Tom-Tom :-)


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