OHE December 15, 1998 (Mokuleia)

Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 12:53:30 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Sierra Club Outing (The Mokuleia Trail)

Joined about 24 other hikers for a Sierra Club outing on Sunday, December 13 - a day hike along the Mokuleia Trail. The main reasons for opting to attend the Sierra Club outing were... I had hiked Olomana (the HTM trail clearing for that day) three times since November 3rd and I had never hiked the Mokuleia Trail which is almost impossible to sneak in to because one must go thru pasture land near a farm to reach the trailhead.

Drove to Waialua High School and waited for the group to arrive including the hike coordinators Atomman Kimm and Gwen Sinclair. Apprehensive at first until I noticed Kost and Gina Pankiwskyj drive up in their pickup truck and park on the ocean side of Farrington Highway. I went over to talk with the two of them then proceeded to the sign up area to put my signature on a waiver sheet and contribute $3. Recognized OHE-L and HTM member Fred Boll along with his wife Micha and found out that they, too, would be participating in the event. Also exchanged greetings with Inger Lidman whom I had met on a 1997 Haleakala Trip.

When everyone from the original meeting place (Church of the Cross roads in Honolulu) arrived, Atomman had us cross the highway so that the volume of his spiel wouldn't disturb any of the local residents. Following his brief spiel, I rode in Fred's truck as the hikers reorganized across from a plantation house (elev. 47 ft).

We started heading mauka toward the Waianae Range at 9:11 a.m. Mud stuck to our shoes/boots and dogs from the house barked as the group made its way thru the pasture which included diversified agriculture (birds of paradise flowers and hundreds of palm trees clustered close together).

Gradually gained elevation at a leisurely pace tramping up hills and passing thru gates in fences all the while avoiding dry and fresh cow patties. "Do not look around and hike at the same time" certainly applied to this segment!

Enjoyed perfect weather conditions - a nice breeze, a fair amount of blue sky with large puffy white clouds blocking the sun much of the day. Mount Ka'ala (socked in the entire day) dominated the landscape and I thought of my fellow hiking comrades as they ascended Oahu's highest peak from the Waianae side on the Ken Suzuki led HTM club hike as we traveled on the Mokuleia Trail. The ridge containing the Dupont Trail and the impressive valley below it also caught my eye. Met new people and took pleasure from conversing with Fred, Inger, and Steve Becker.

Ascended two switchbacks then passed thru mixed dry-land vegetation with occasional sweeping views of the north shore from Mokuleia to Pupukea, good size waves breaking off the coast. A couple of gliders-in-tow flew over our heads as well.

Took a break at the forest reserve boundary where the best part of the graded contour footpath begins (constructed by the CCC in the 1930's). Entered a forest of beautiful 70 to 100 foot eucalyptus trees, the terrific stretch reminding me of the first section of the Halawa Ridge Trail. The woodsy trail was in pretty good shape considering how long it had been in existance. Noticed a trail marked with red and orange ribbon going down into one of the nearby gullies (did I discover the trail Steve Poor and Wing Ng have been working on scheduled for the first quarter of '99 entitled "Peacock Flats to Mt. Kaala Lookout"?).

A transition from eucalyptus to guava trees took place and we stopped to pick fruit from a wild orange/tangerine tree. Upon closer inspection, the fruit appeared to be rotten at the core so no one consumed any. A few banana trees and several native ferns were spotted in route to the first intermittent stream bed crossing. Despite the slick rocks and mud it was negotiated without incident.

Kukui nut shells lined the path briefly as the group continued the pleasant stroll pausing briefly to study an area of very healthy lobelias, encircled by a wire fence to protect them from wild boar rootings. Dropped down into and climbed out of a second intermittent stream bed a short distance from the fence and contoured in and out of more gullies until we reached a camp site complete with a modest shelter. A five minute climb led to a nice overlook (elev. 2,403 ft) of Makua Valley, the majority of the hikers arriving there at 12:30 p.m.

Another four foot high, wire fence extended left and right along the crest of the ridge forming the upper boundary of the valley. I hiked a short distance along the fence toward Kaala but thick clouds obscured the view in that direction including most of the ridge which contains the Ohikilolo triangular peak.

At 1:30 p.m. the group commenced the return leg of the hike retracing our steps along the Mokuleia Trail, the warm afternoon sunshine our constant companion. Reached Farrington Highway at approx. 4:30 p.m.

Notes: There's more to life than speed hiking and I was certainly reminded of that this past Sunday while enjoying a leisurely stroll with interesting people along a classic CCC trail. Ball writes,"Mokuleia is a pleasant hike to the top of the Waianae Range. The route starts in pasture land near Mokuleia and ends at an overlook of Makua Valley."*

REFERENCES

* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.

== Paka


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