OHE December 29, 1997

Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 07:28:47 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Honouliuli Contour

Yesterday (12/28, Sun) I went hiking with a group of friends on the Honouliuli contour trail in the Waianae Range. The trail is on the Wahiawa-facing side of the Waianaes and starts at Kolekole Pass, contouring at approximately the 1,800 foot level all the way to Palehua Road above Makakilo. We hiked a section on the Kolekole Pass end, doing some nice clearing work as we went.

The original plan of the day was to hike the Poamoho trail in the leeward Koolaus but rain prompted us to change venues. Tom Y. suggested Honouliuli (lit. "dark bay") since it lent itself to rainy day hiking and was relatively near to our pre-hike rendezvous point at the Dole Pavilion. After some discussion, members of the group agreed the suggestion was a good one.

We arrived at Kolekole Pass via Schofield Barracks (no sentries on duty) at around 8:35 and at 8:45 we were off. The trail initially skirts the shadow of Pu'u Hapapa (elev. 2,883 ft.). Across the pass stands Pu'u Ku Makali'i (~2,800) and Pu'u Kalena (3,504). Clouds obscured these three peaks when we started hiking but we were hopeful the weather would improve and the views would open up as the day went on. Most members of the group donned raingear at that point. Moreover, Pat was shouldering a new backpack and carrying a shiny pair of loppers, and Nathan and Chris wore new boots. Santa certainly had smiled on those three. :-)

For the most part, the contour trail travels beneath a forest canopy, snaking along the mountain face. Beyond Kolekole Pass, from the treeline to the summit crest, the land is leased by the Nature Conservancy from Campbell Estate. Towering eucalyptus trees populate the slopes on the Honouliuli preserve with an occasional koa here and there. Christmas berry is also prevalent.

For perhaps the first hour of hiking, the path was in good shape and seemed to be travelled with some regularity (the HTMC, for one, uses part of the route when doing the Kanehoa-Hapapa hike). Thereafter, we encountered a host of fallen trees and blowdowns, cutting what timber we could and hopping over or bypassing what we weren't equipped to clear. Pat, Ralph, Nathan, myself, and a couple others spent 20 to 30 minutes clearing a Christmas berry tangle that completely blocked the trail. Other members of the group climbed steeply around the tangle and continued on while we worked.

Later, while hiking a section at the rear of a dark ravine, we passed a massive rock dike on the right, easily a 100 feet high. Thereafter, the trail became narrow and slippery, and clidemia, the love/hate weed, had a pronounced presence. We pushed through this section, deciding to attack it on the return leg.

With the sun making its appearance, we stopped for lunch at noon at a pleasant clearing with a nice view of the Wahiawa plateau and the distant Koolaus. We had hiked about 3 miles or so, probably a sixth of the cumulative total of the contour trail, and the group did not intend to go any further. I did a bit of exploring further on and recognized across the gulch from where we were the massive ridge leading to Pu'u Kanehoa. A trail to the summit exists on that ridge and several of us discussed clearing the Honouliuli route all the way to it on a later date to form a large loop.

After lunch, we headed back the way we came and spent an hour and a half clearing a swath along a half-mile section choked by clidemia. Some impressive work by da gang!

Tired but pleased with the work we had completed, we then hiked back to our cars at Kolekole Pass. A few of us paused at the grassy meadow a few minutes above Kolekole and admired the pleasant view of Pu'u Heleakala, Pu'u o Hulu, and the sun-bathed Waianae coast. We reached our cars around 3 p.m. and enjoyed some post-hike refreshments and spent an hour talking story and relaxing. It was another great day on the trail with some good friends.


Reply From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>

HTMC used to go up Kanehoa, down Hapapa, and loop back on Honouliuli. I was fortunate to have done it once in 1982, a week or so before hurricane came.

HTMC has always had trouble with this trail. Prior to 1982, a trail clearing expedition was trapped and had to spend the night. Before my time.

Then the hurricane brought down tons of vegetation and totally blocked the trail. Trail clearing gang spent 4,5 weeks trying to clear it. A splinter got into Dick Schmidt's hand and infected him, and he had to stay in the hospital for a month, barely escaping with his life.

The trail was barely cleared, and they did the loop hike. It was so bad that most people could not finish, and instead bailed out to the pineapple fields somewhere in the middle. That was the last time I was on that trail.

Looks like you guys are almost there to connect with Kanehoa.

Couple years ago while clearing Kaua, we explored towards Kanehoa. Looks do-able.

Nature Conservancy and/or Sierra Club were supposed to clear Honouliuli to the standards of Maunawili Demo., one of these days. Matter of fact they are similar. I vaguely recall it's 22 miles, so would be a very long day-super-hike.


Reply from: "Arthur W. Neilson III" (aneilson@usa.net>

The Honoluliuli Contour Trail goes directly thru Nature Conservancy land. There are some very rare and endangered species (albutilon to name one) on the trail and great care must be taken with any trail clearing of any kind. The Nature Conservancy would be highly pissed at anyone opening up the contour trail, I believe they want to keep it closed so as to protect the ecosystem from humans. They do have a short section of it open to hikes they lead into the preserve, the section begins near where the trail up Pu'u Kaua is.

Reply from: Dick Beaton (dbeaton@aloha.net>

On last years HTMC's Hapapa to Kanehoa hike, a group of us missed the trail up Hapapa and continued on Honouliuli Trail. Eventually we realized we had missed the cut-off and I convinced three other members to proceed with me on Honouliuli Trail knowing that it would eventually reach the trail up to Kanehoa. With the execption of the fallen trees and heavy overgrowth in a few areas, the trail was in fairly good condition and we actually reached Kanehoa ahead of some of the slower hikers that day. Those of you who have hiked that trail realize that its far from a straight line with very many in and outs as it contours the mountain.


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