OHE December 23, 1999 (Tour de Tantalus)

Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 16:42:39 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Tour de Tantalus

A picture's worth a thousand words, says the old aphorism. So here goes:


This URL is a map of the route I hiked around this morning, a cloudy, sometimes drizzly one on Oahu. As the map indicates, I did more road walking than trail hiking, but I was able to hike on some trails I'd never visited before. I enjoyed that.

To recap--

I started at the Nature Center in Makiki Valley, launching just past 9. As I went by the Na Ala Hele baseyard, I said howzit to Reuben Mateo, who works for NAH. "Gonna go play in the mud?" asked Mr Mateo. "Yup," I smiled.

Actually, the trails weren't overly mucky. In fact, the footing was decent. Kanealole Stream was flowing pretty good, as were Moleka and Maunalaha Streams, which I passed/crossed later.

I went up the Kanealole trail, turned left on the Makiki Valley trail, and bypassed the right turn up onto Nahuina. I'd never done the little connector to Tantalus Drive from the Makiki Valley/Nahuina junction, so I figured I check it out today. It's well-maintained and in three minutes I emerged on the road.

I'm not a fan of road walking, but I decided to stay on Tantalus Drive to see how long it would take to reach the point where Nahuina and Kalawahine join it. The walk on the road was pleasant enough, and I enjoyed smelling the lemony aroma of eucalyptus droppings while listening to the wind rustling the tree tops. In fifteen minutes, I passed the start/end point for Nahuina and a minute later, Kalawahine.

Bicyclists and joggers use the 10-mile Tantalus/Round Top circuit for workouts, and I saw a couple joggers and and 6 to 8 bicyclists during the time I was on the road. I also was hailed by two visitors in a rental car, asking for directions to the east start point of the Cliffs Trail. I pointed them in the right direction, describing the pulloff area and the trailhead sign to look for.

At Kalaiopua Place, just east of the Pu'u Ohia Trailhead, Tantalus Drive transitions into Roundtop Drive, a little piece of trivia to amaze and astound friends and family at upcoming holiday gatherings. Another factoid to toss around is that homes in the upper part of Tantalus rely on catchment water, and many homes have corrugated metal roofs and rain gutters, like those found on wilderness cabins, to better collect precipitation. My friend Bill told me that if one of these homes goes ablaze, there is little the fire department can do to save it, since there are no hydrants anywhere to be found and tanker trucks would not be able to respond quickly enough and provide enough water to battle a fire. In a word: poof.

After more road walking than I thought I'd have to do, I arrived at the pulloff that marks the start of both the Moleka (makai side of road) and Manoa Cliff (mauka side) trails. I turned right on Moleka, noting that it, too, wasn't as muddy as expected. I waved to a guy cutting bamboo in a grove about two minutes from the road. He turned out to be the only person I saw while on a trail today.

Where Moleka joined the Makiki Valley trail, I went left and in less than two minutes was crossing Roundtop Drive to get to the little connector down to the Ualakaa Trail. Initially, I thought I'd go visit the lookout at Ualakaa Park. But, I found an interesting little trail that contoured on the Makiki Valley side of the spur leading to the lookout. Just beyond the lookout (while on this trail, the lookout never came into view), the interesting little trail turned into an obscure but still interesting one. Plus, someone put up a ton of pink ribbons. I figured I follow the ribbons to see where they led. I also spotted another trail heading down the right toward Makiki Valley. I'll return to check that one out later.

In about ten minutes, the increasing volume of a weed whacker told me I was approaching homes. As I made my way down a slope, following pink ribbons all the while, I could see rooftops through the vegetation. Darn, I'm coming out in someone's backyard, I thought. Before I resigned myself to backtracking the way I had come, I figured I'd go as far as I could along the ribboned route to find out if maybe just maybe there was a vacant lot or easement to help me emerge on a road.

As it turned out, the rooftops I saw were on the farside of the road. On the embankment I was descending, there were no homes at all. So I emerged on Roundtop Drive, a roadway not built with foot traffic in mind (no sidewalks & narrow/non-existent shoulders). Fortunately, vehicular traffic was light and those cars that did go by saw me and veered to give me room.

At 11:30, having descended most of Roundtop Drive, I was pelted by a small rainshower, but I didn't mind since I think of rain as a good thing. At 11:45, I waved to Reuben over at the Na Ala Hele baseyard and a minute later I was back at my vehicle in the Nature Center lot.

It was not my most memorable hike, but I was glad I took some time to go hiking nevertheless.

Hope everyone is having a pleasant eve of Christmas Eve.


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