OHE December 22, 1999 (Waimalu)

Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 16:31:55 -1000
From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>
Subject: Waimalu loop/ohe

Yesterday, Tuesday, Dec. 21, Kay Lynch and I and a visiting friend named Tessa went out looking for a good plant hike under heavy skies. I remembered that I'd wanted to do the loop around Little Waimalu Ridge, Burned Ridge, and the Waimalu Ditch Trail so that's where we went.

We started around 9am on Onikiniki St and soon got to the Little Waimalu Stream crossing. A couple of hundred yards beyond that, just where the trail turns sharply to the right back out into Waimalu Valley proper, we headed up the foot of an obvious ridge which I'll call Little Waimalu Ridge. Up we went on a fairly obvious but little-used trail. We made our way through hala, strawberry guava, and Christmas berry, but soon we were in lama, koa, and sandalwood aplenty, on a bed of kupukupu and uluhe ferns. The trail continued to be fairly obvious, but no one had been through there in awhile. We kept looking for the trail down into Little Waimalu that I'd read about on this list, but never spotted it. (Only tonight, on checking my notes, did I realize that it descends from near a powerline and winds up at an old dam in Little Waimalu Valley, connecting at that point with the Little Waimalu branch of the ditch trail.)

Our goal was Burned Ridge, the spur that descends to the Waimalu Ditch Trail just before the first stream crossing. I knew we were in the vicinity when I spotted the royal (?) palms on the opposite valley wall and a patch of bamboo on the valley floor. Just after lunch we reached a likely spot, but we forged on to the next knoll just to ensure that we went down at the right spot. The first one looked correct, so back we went and proceeded down a pretty obvious trail. Not too steep, and easy to follow, even though most of the pink ribbons had been torn down and left on the ground.

On this spur we saw the largest grove of Rauvolfia (hao) that I'm aware of, and most of the trees were in fruit. Lots of other nice things to look at, too, including an inquisitive elepaio that followed us for awhile.

We eventually emerged on the ditch trail and headed out, getting to our car around 4:15 or so. What a great hike and a great area! It would have been nice to spend much more time just hanging out on the ridge, with it's stunning views of Waimalu Middle Ridge and beyond. Gotta go back.


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