OHE December 9, 1997

Date: Tue, 9 Dec 1997 04:07:09 -1000
From: Mike Uslan (killah@off-road.com>
Subject: H-3 Tunnels Halawa Side

With a last minute scrub of a day hike with Wing, and seemingly clearing skies. I couldn't resist but to get up Aiea Ridge before it is forever gone to the rumble of the H3 below.

I got my pack on my back and started up Aiea Loop trail about 12:00 exactly. at 5 minutes I passed the ridge down to Kalauao and Aiea Lani. At about 15 minutes I passed the Bamboo forest, and about 12:25 I was at the mossy wall, one turn before the intersection with Aiea Ridge Trail. I got up and headed to a very familiar spot for me, the flat to the upper right of the intersection. Here I slept many a night. Always very peaceful and always quiet and cool. It is now overgrown with clidemia and my once open tent flat is now about the size of a sleeping bag. The H3 is hustling with traffic jams of vans and 18 wheelers even today, making their final runs to get the whole thing open by Friday, so even today the quiet is ruined. There is no quiet and I feel real sad. I study the valley wall near the tunnels, and pick out three ridges that look easy enough to make the summit. There is a waterfall about a 5 or 10 minute walk from the tunnels. Higher than Manoa Falls. I never saw this waterfall before, and I have been up here dozens of times. Today it is rushing well. It is within a stones throw of the tunnels. Just to the North. Huge waterfall.

There are three ridges that you could take to the summit from the Halawa side of the tunnel. The best one I think starts from a grassy park on the access road. I hope this park becomes public. It seemed to be diagonal to Kawipo'o. So I estimate once it is cleared you could reach the summit in 45 minutes from the park. This path would put you right into Aiea Ridge trail and summit. Clouds prevented my view higher up but it goes there. I'm sure of it. To the right of this ridge is a nice valley with the waterfall I mentioned before. It will be dry unless it is raining hard like today. Definately an intermittent waterfall. To the right of this valley is another steeper but shorter ridge that could be cleared. And then right above the tunnel, I mean exactly above the tunnel was a third way up, that seems to connect with Halawa Ridge trail a few turns before the summit. I like the first ridge best because of the park and hopefully easy access with vehicle if the state opens the road and park up to the public. Anybody know if this will be opened also?

I must say I was quite confused. I am really sad as I know the Aiea Loop and surrounding trails have lost something. Yet I am also excited about using the H3 as access to the Summit, and what I remember as one of the best streams on Oahu when I was young.

I started my way up Aiea Ridge towards Puu Kawipo'o and didn't get far. I scored the views I wanted early, of Halawa and even Waimalu summit sections. I turned around at the bottom of the first dip. The trail is so overgrown with clidemia and the elephant grass its choking. When I went in 95 with Dayle it was bad but not choked out like this. I turned around and went back down to my flat view.

The strangest thing happened here. Right out of the twilight zone. I sat down just a few feet from my last seat, took off my pack and was sitting down to study the ridges one last time, right in front of me a flower lei hung around a tree. It was right where I just walked past TWICE. Right on the trail I would have had to duck to miss this lei. It was very strange indeed. I thought maybe I HAD TO have walked past it not noticing, but HOW?? At this very moment a stiff breeze came up from Halawa and just kissed me. I dont believe in paganism or think the land is alive & what not gobbledegook, but all I can say is it was strange. Strange indeed. I still think somebody might have gone up here while I was up on the ridge, put the lei around the tree and went back down before I came back. Or maybe not. Do de do do do de do do......

I stayed here for another half hour total. It was quiet now. No trucks were going up and down. I think maybe when I got up and saw the convoys they just got off lunch. The next half hour was peaceful and quiet. Just the wind and a few birds. I enjoyed this quiet time. I saw someone walking alone on the H3. Maybe a foreman or a worker just wondering what he is going to do now that his job is done. The quiet was good, I carved a broken heart in the smooth mud a few feet from the lei. I guess I am not the only one who came up here to pay my respects. Anyone else who wants to hear the quiet one last time get up ther soon. Friday it is over forever.

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