OHE December 22, 1998 (Tripler)

Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 12:14:25 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Tripler Ridge... Pau Hana

With Christmas shopping long since finished and a desire to escape the maddening crowds, I headed for the hills above Tripler Army Medical Center to reacquaint myself with the Ko'olau Mountain Range.

Departed work at 4:07 p.m., took H-1 west and a few miles later exited the freeway via the Pu'uloa Road-Tripler Hospital exit. Drove up to and around Tripler Army Medical Center then thru a military housing area. I would have stopped to "bother" OHE-L member Doug Klein but he had long since departed the hospital for his home in Kaneohe to walk his dogs. Turned left onto a one-lane recently paved road and parked on the side of the road near its intersection with another paved road.

After changing into hiking apparel, I stepped over a chain which blocks vehicular access to the other paved road at 4:40 p.m. Ascended steadily reaching the end of the pavement at 4:55 p.m. and soon after the start of the Tripler Ridge Trail. Traveled along the footpath, thick stands of guava dominating both sides of the trail. Climbed gradually to the top of a knob in the ridge arriving at a pair of tall Norfolk Island pines which are easily spotted from nearby ridges and valleys. A short distance later I sat down at a level eroded area featuring a nice panoramic view of Pearl Harbor and the Waianae Range to the west and the Ko'olau Mountain Range dead ahead, the summit ridge socked in by clouds. Looking across Moanalua Valley, I recognized the grove of Norfolk Island pines situated on a prominent peak along Red Hill Ridge as well as Pu'u Kawipo'o (elev. 2,441 ft) of Aiea Ridge.

Decided to hike to the next hump in the ridge. Forgot to wear my gators so I had to endure the intrusion of uluhe into the path, my legs scratched as a result. Upon completing the climb, I sat down again on the other side at another eroded spot at 5:21 p.m. Although not panoramic, the vista allowed me to see the very back of Moanalua Valley, the Moanalua Valley saddle (elev. 1,680 ft), and the middle ridge of Moanalua Valley. Noticed a beautiful rainbow emanating from the middle of the valley as well.

Enjoyed the cool five to fifteen mph trades, the impressive topography of the leeward side of the Ko'olau Range and birds singing below for twenty minutes then commenced the return leg of the hike (I didn't even come close to reaching the summit). Noticed quite a few koa and ohia trees on the slopes below the ungraded ridge trail but not much clidemia. Missed the sun set but gazed at the sliver of moon in the late afternoon sky on the way back.

Got to the pat-mobile at 6:12 p.m. and headed for home.

NOTES: HTM no longer hikes the first part of Tripler Ridge because the Army severely limits parking near the trailhead. While the road walk in the beginning isn't very exciting, the overlooks along the ridge are superb once the trail is gained.

== Paka

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