OHE December 17, 1999 (Makapuu Tidepools)

Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 00:23:25 -1000
From: Roger Sorrell (alohaboys@attglobal.net>
Subject: Description of Solemates hike, 12-15-99:
Just Poolin' Around

Some hiking groups plan special hikes for the holiday season. Solemates hasn't done that, yet, but if we were to consider it, a winter trip to the Makapu'u tidepools might well qualify for selection. The hike provides such an excellent way of getting into the holiday spirit, with its broad vistas, group closeness on the chancy shelf portions to the pools, and the refreshing letting down as we don our gay apparel (that is, swimming gear, in this holiday case) to enjoy splashing around and watching the fish, blowhole, and ocean. As such, this Wednesday hike was one of the best, though with some surprises. The 17 of us had planned to split up, as is becoming common, and some go up the asphalt road and then down to the pools, but all were finally persuaded that going along the shelf was safe enough with the lowering tide, so we all walked out on the flats together. After pausing to see the return of some rare native plants (the ma'o and the Marsilea fern), we forged on through unexpected mud--the downside of seeing all the beautiful greenery around due to the recent heavy rains. Still, by the time we reached Pele's Chair, we had the end of our slogging, and the beginning of a new world--the lunar landscape of the unvegetated, pure volcanic shelf of sun-baked rocks and surging waves. We trekked through this tortured and challenging environment, at times cautioning each other to avoid dramatic spray surges, at other times egging each other on to strip and enjoy the cool, clear beauty of the enticing pools under the huge cliffs above. Most of succumbed to temptation pretty early, and the merry-making in the pools began. By lunch, we were all strewn out like colorful shells along the pools, rocky ridges, and blow holes.

Some, however, couldn't resist the challenge and view from the cliffside switchbacks up to the candy-cane lighthouse above us, and so, with their inspiration, we all attained the asphalt road atop the cliffs, and marveled at how green the desert area of east Oahu had become now. We feasted our eyes at the Makapu'u summit and imagined how it would be to be the snorkelers and spear-fishers we could see straight down below, and contemplated future hike routes we could see from this high vantage point. As we went down the bunkers route, we discussed the amazing reality that the ocean we were now seeing was once the central caldera of the huge Ko'olau shield volcano, before an impossible-to-imagine landslide of world-tsunami-making proportions send over half this part of the island down deep into the sea.

We saw the usual tourists when we got down to the Makapu'u lookout. Some of them, the lucky ones, were attempting the steep climb we were just finishing descending. They would have a great reward. For the others, they would never know the wonder we had just experienced.

Happy holidays, Solemates! Roger and David

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