OHE December 21, 1998 (Schofield)

Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 09:57:17 -1000
From: Nathan Yuen (nyuen@lava.net>
Subject: Schofield-Waikane

At least 30-something enthusiasts showed up for the HTMC club hike on the Schofield-Waikane trail. Led by John and Marcia Hoover, we assembled near a military access road near the end of California Ave in Wahiawa.

When I did this hike 2 weeks ago with the trail-maintenance crew, it was somewhat overcast and we were only able to see a glimpse of the view at the terminus of the trail before the rain and the wind beat down on us. As a result, I opted to join the group for another opportunity to see the fabled view.

When we started at just before 9 am, some folks jumped into the back of pickup trucks and other vehicles, while others started the trek from where we parked. Unfortunately, the truck I was in was not a 4 wheel drive vehicle and we were unable to acquire the first steep muddy incline. So alas... we were forced to walk on the dirt road for the greater portion of the distance.

When we reached the trailhead, the sun shone brightly and the clouds lifted off the summit tantalizing us with the promise of an unhindered view at the top. Since this trail is graded there are no really big climbs--it's just long--9 miles from the trailhead and 14 miles if you start from where we parked our cars. The initial portion of the trail which is maintained by the State was in fine form being 8 feet wide in places. Climbing up and down the meandering initial section, we reached the start of the unimproved trail where, the native vegetation becomes more prominent.

Since I had tagged along with some folks who are more knowledge about the native vegetation, I learned that certain small ravines with steep slopes that are tucked into the folks along the ridge are almost entirely native. We saw clumps of uki grass with their characteristic brown and white flowers, along with akia shrubs, on an uluhe covered incline with stands of ohia ha, kupiko, and manono overhead. Also hidden with these verdant ravines were naupaka kuahiwi with their unusual half-flowers and kulu moa, the Hawaiian mistletoe that grows as a parasite on the koa, ohia, and other plants.

When we reached the end of the trail, we were treated to a spectacular 180-degree view of the greenswept valleys of Kahana, Kaaawa, Hakipuu, and Waikane. Unfortunately, the rugged peaks of Ohulehule, Kanehoalani, and Manamana were shrouded in clouds. However, the clouds lifted periodically and the sun shone brightly so we were able to catch a glimpse of the peaks as they towered over the stunning blue and aquamarine waters off the coast below. What a fantastic view!

After completing our lunches and harassing each other at the edge of the precipice, the clouds began rolling-in and drizzled on us. As a result, several of us started on the return trek. Fortunately, the intermittent drizzle never got any worse than and we were able to retrace our steps back to the trailhead.

As we trudged back to our cars on the 2-1/2 mile dirt road we were quite amused to watch the military conduct rappelling exercises on a 4-story wooden structure and other exercises on the obstacle courses close-by. Anyway... we finally reached our cars and were pleased to have seen the wonderful unspoiled view at the end trail and most of all... to give our tired and sore feet a much needed rest.

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