OHE December 22, 1999 (Koko Head)

Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 14:54:45 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Rainy Koko Head Wednesday 

I love rain, always have. I also love hiking in new places. Today I had a chance to experience both. Good deal.

The venue was Koko Head. Not Koko Crater, which I've hiked hither and yon and up and around umpteen times. Koko Head, on the other hand, I have only visited once before. And not the way I did it today. That it was raining made the outing more enjoyable. That there were nine other folks on the outing was also a good thing. These folks are regulars with the Wednesday hiking group. Some of them I've hiked with before, including Jay Feldman, Bill Gorst, Ed Gilman, John Hall, and Pete Sofman. In all, a good group and a good outing.

Today's hike was supposed to be Kuliouou/Haihaione. But the inclement weather led to a change to Koko Head. At first, I was disappointed about the switch, thinking Koko Head was a little nothing of a hike. But by the end of the hike, I was pleased--stoked, to use the lingo of the young crowd. I was also soaked, but, as I mentioned before, I love rain, so being drenched was acceptable. It felt wonderful, as a matter of fact.

Still dry at this point, from Kalaau Place in Kuliouou, we drove over to Koko Head District Park, which sits in the bowl area between Koko Head and Koko Crater. The rain fell gently all morning and, for the most part, never left us. All the others donned rain gear, but I decided to be one with the rain. As long as I kept moving, I avoided feeling chilled. As a consequence, I stayed mobile, never lingering in one spot long.

From the park, we piled into Pete's big van for the short ride up the park's backroad to Kalanianaole Highway by the entrance road to Hanauma Bay. There we unloaded and began tramping up the single-lane road that ascends to some communication buildings atop Koko Head. Signs warn of trespassing, but Pete assured us that an authority figure he spoke with told him hiking up the road and in the area we were to visit was okay.

Far below in Hanauma Bay, folks were frolicking on the beach and in the water, oblivious to the showers from heaven. Some of these folks, surely, must hail from cold-weather cities on the mainland, so a minor sprinkle will do little to deter them from enjoying their Hawaii vacation.

Ditto for the ten of us, who probably had few hiking peers on Oahu today, what with the weather, the Wednesday workday, and the close proximity to the yule. Pete referred to us as "people with nothing better to do."

At one point, Jay and I broke away from the group to do some rock scrambling in a small gully along the southern underbelly of Koko Head. Along the rock shelf in that same gully were some wooden platforms built by fishermen. A little later, a highlight of the hike was examining the small crater called Ihi'ihilauakea, where a rare fern has been known to grow after a heavy rainfall, according to plant expert John Hall. As a matter of fact, some topo maps show a body of water in Ihi'ihilauakea (and incorrectly spell the crater as Ihe'ihelauakea). In fact, for those interested, check out a map with the spelling miscue, our hike route and associated landmarks at


Hope everyone is having a pleasant Wednesday.

--DKT (still on vacation) [g]

Reply From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" <802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>

My understanding is that the rare fern you mention--very rare, BTW--is Marsilea villosa. I once helped weed that patch on a hot, sunny day. The "lake" only appears after heavy, sustained rains, maybe once a decade or so. The fern and other creatures in that strange environment are able to take advantage of these soakings to do what they need to do: release spores, mate, whatever. There are said to be tiny invertebrates which live buried in the soil just waiting for a real good rain. They just wait...and wait...and wait.


Reply from: James R Pushaw (jrpushaw@juno.com>

Today I decided to follow the lead of the Wednesday gang and hike the loop on Koko Head. Thanks, Dayle, for including the map! (By the way, how did you put the dots and legend on it?)

It was a great day, partly cloudy with a light Southerly wind blowing. I parked in the Hanauma Bay parking lot (free for Hawaii residents) and walked up the long stairway in the upper lot, crossing the road and maybe another 50 feet of flat lava to the access road leading up.

It was a short, but nice workout, and for those of you who haven't gone yet, it actually is a bigger area than it looks. Try it some day.

Merry Christmas!

Jim Pushaw

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