OHE December 27, 1999 (Maunawili Loop)

Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 14:15:37 -1000
From: Carmen C. (carmenc@pixi.com)
Subject: Maunawili

After waking up to a beautiful morning and puttering around the house for a while, I finally got my booty into gear and headed out for the Maunawili Falls Trail. I parked my car near the houses up the hill and was on the trail by 10:00 looking forward to a quiet day after three days of activity. The trail was slick after yesterday's heavy rains but it was fun getting muddy. The stream was a little higher than usual as well. I ran into a local couple at the first of the three stream crossings and they expressed a little concern about my hiking by myself. After making it clear that I knew the area and dangers well I tip-toed across the rocks and continued on my way. Those were the last people I would see for an hour.

I made it to the turnoff to the falls at 10:30 and sat for a quick hydration break. I sat looking at the mountains which were a stunning contrast to the deep blue sky and the green mountains with their grey, rocky waterfalls. This sentiment would continue at I headed up the connector trail. About halfway up I stopped to take pictures of Mt. Olympus and Mt. Olomana (and catch my breath). I continued on my way and noticed a small grove of what appeared to be baby koa trees. About 8-10 of them were marked with fresh pink ribbon. I was curious about who was thoughtful enough to make sure these weren't cut.

I reached the junction of the Maunawili demo trail at 11:00 and again turned to enjoy the spectacular view. My original plan was to head toward Waimanalo and see parts of the trail that I hadn't been on before but Piliwale ridge was just too enticing so I headed right toward Pali Highway. I ran into a couple of groups of people and overheard a woman, who appeared to be from the mainland, comment that "NOBODY hikes in Hawaii. They all go to the beach." I couldn't help but giggle and continued on my way. The next group was an apparent firefighter and two young children. I stopped to answer a couple of questions about the markers and told him that we were at approximately where a one mile marker should be and that there is a 1.5 marker ahead. We talked for a bit and he was interested on how I was going to get back to Maunawili. When I pointed out the ridge he just kind of shook his head. I laughed and continued on my way.

I sat down at the Piliwale junction to drink some water and have an Odwalla bar for energy. As I was putting on my pack to head up the ridge the two children and man turned the corner. After another conversation about the up-hill climb and explaining that some people have been to the summit (keeping Jason Sunada in mind) I again laughed at his look of disbelief and ducked into the bushes at 11:35.

I headed up-hill for about 300 yards looking carefully to see who was ahead of me, as I'd been doing the entire hike. The ground was quickly drying but I noticed very clear, large, brand-new piggy tracks. I started whistling and headed a little farther up-hill to make sure that I wasn't mistaking the a dog for a pig but I was 99.99% positive that they were indeed pig and though it made me sick to miss the wonderful view I headed down-hill.

About halfway down the ridge toward Maunawili, at the junction, I chose the left trail instead of the right. It was a little bigger but looked interesting (and I can never remember which way is faster. I've come to the conclusion that it's the same amount of road walking either way.) It turned into a jeep road and was slick as ice. Thanks heavens I was by myself because it could have been a comedy routine with the slipping and sliding. ;-) I came to a gate which I slipped past to get to the road and noted that it said private property. "Oh well, it was an accidental trespassing," I thought. I got back to my car, checked my watch, and was astounded to see that it was only 12:13. Gulped down a liter of water and headed home for another liter and a snack. Since the weather is holding beautifully and is completely unpredictable this winter break, and because we're in Hawai'i, it's BEACH TIME!!!

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