OHE December 2, 1999 (Castle to Waikane)

Date: Wed, 8 Dec 1999 13:13:25 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@k12.hi.us>
Subject: Day 2 - The Trip Ends Prematurely

During the night and early morning hours occasional strong gusts pounded the Castle/Ko'olau Summit Trail (KST) junction robbing Roger and Gene of sleep, but no significant showers inundated the region which made the group thankful, esp. Patrick since his slumerjack bivy is very susceptible to interior condensation buildup in heavy rain. At approx. 5:45 a.m. Patrick regained consciousness, and, knowing that it would take him atleast an hour to pack up, emerged from his tent to the fogged in region at 6 a.m. In a good mood, Rorie decided to rouse his colleagues by crooning an old Beatles song.

"Good morning, good morning, good morning a - nothing to do to save his life call his wife in!"*

The gesture worked, and soon Roger and Gene popped out of their respective canvass coverings eating breakfast and preparing for the day's journey.

At 7:38 a.m. still encompassed in heavy mist, Roger departed the junction heading south on the Summit Trail bound for Poamoho and a water refill (Patrick and Gene would not catch up to him until the KST/Peahinaia junction). Patrick and Gene followed minutes later trudging along methodically through frequent, deep mud pushing aside vegetation protruding into the trail. The first highlight of the day came via a large, interesting bowl area to windward of the footpath containing a small solar-powered weather station. Just around the bend, the first of what promises to be much fencing in the region was detected and scorned for being too visually intrusive. Further ahead, the men reached the 2,800 foot level of the summit ridge above Kaluanui Stream, and Patrick shared with Gene his desire to explore the area one day.

Although the section between Castle and Poamoho involved a gradual descent from 2,800 to 2,520 ft over the broad summit crest, the trip became mentally, as well as physically taxing because of the required concentration for every step taken. Furthermore, significant effort and noteworthy frustration came about while removing legs and feet from the deep mud pits!

The men recognized Kanehoalani in the distance whenever the clouds lifted and observed the headwaters of many streams while in transit. Patrick halted several times to gaze at the wealth of native flora on both sides of the trail. Gene caught up and remarked "Beautiful!".

"We've got to preserve this area" Patrick thought to himself "and if we can't kill all of the pigs, then a fence might be necessary as long as it is not visually intrusive and does not run in or along the trail".

At 9 a.m. the duo reached a prominent waterfall notch but the blustery conditions there persuaded them to linger only briefly. At an awesome overlook of the windward side, Patrick caught sight of his favorite peak Ohulehule for the first time which lifted his spirits. Fifteen minutes beyond the waterfall notch, Patrick and Gene came to a grassy tract covered with landing mats, and a short distance later regrouped with Roger (taking a break) at the KST/Peahinaia junction. While on the final windward section prior to Poamoho, Gene and Patrick noticed several blooming lobeliad plants featuring lovely pink flowers.

The trio arrived at the Cline memorial at approx. 10:38 a.m. and recognized more lobeliads in bloom, then dropped their packs and proceeded down the Poamoho Trail to fetch water. While Gene finished filtering H2O, Patrick and Roger backtracked to the memorial. Impatient for Gene to return, Roger continued south along the KST at 11:16 a.m. Eventually, Gene met up with Patrick below the Cline memorial and broke the news that he would go no further than the Poamoho Cabin. He ended with words of encouragement, however.

"Keep going! You guys can make it all the way!".

Patrick, disappointed but not surprised at his friend's decision, bid Gene farewell. On the way to the cabin, Patrick took pleasure from traveling on the recently cleared half mile stretch of the KST, some parts cut back entirely to the wall of the contour, six feet wide! Unfortunately, the cleared trail came to an end at the cabin, but the beginning of the long scenic windward section soon followed.

Patrick caught up to Roger, informed him of Gene's decision, and, at 12 noon stopped to make radio contact with Dayle Turner. After Roger snapping a few photos of/from a spectacular windward contour, Patrick completed his conversation with Dayle who was located at the KST/Waikane Trail junction.

Roger instructed Patrick to take the lead and said "I'll stay on your heals".

That's all the motivation Rorie needed! He bent back his ears and assumed the speed hiker mentality. Normally, Patrick would proceed slowly on this section due to the magnificent vistas available, but because he didn't want Dayle to wait too long and the fact that he and Roger were behind schedule, inspired him to put it in high gear. Soon a gap opened up between the two men, but Rorie halted on a few opportunities to check Roger's progress and to gaze at the awesome 2000 foot sheer cliffs, lush, undeveloped Punaluu and Kahana Valleys, Pu'u Piei, Turnover, Pu'u Manamana, the rugged flanks below Pu'u Kanehoalani that form the east wall of Kaaawa Valley, Ohulehule, Chinaman's Hat and Kaneohe Bay in the distance. Once around the bend of massive Pu'u Pauao, most of the KST etched into the crest of the Ko'olau Range came into view! While closing in on the Schofield-Waikane (S-W) terminus, Patrick recognized the impressive albezia forest in upper Kahana Valley. Yet, overcast skies created a shadow on the outstanding topography.

With no sight of Roger, Patrick arrived at the S-W terminus at 1:07 p.m. but continued hiking without a break. Gale force winds nearly blew him to the ground and a passing horizontal rain shower stung his face. Also, the combination of the two caused him to squint making travel even more difficult.

Twenty minutes beyond S-W, Rorie reached the KST/Waikane Trail junction marked by a rusty metal stake. He noticed Dayle, wearing his bright red rain jacket, descending the Waikane Trail and radioed him immediately.

"Which way are you going?" Rorie asked.

"I left some stuff for you guys" Turner replied.

Patrick told Dayle that Gene had bailed at Poamoho, thanked him for the food and drinks, and, before signing off, informed him of Roger's plan to give him a call that night. Dayle's care package (a combo of gatorade, chips and fig newtons) gave Patrick much needed hydration and fuel. Nevertheless, the men suffered a serious psychological blow by not having Turner join them for the leg to Kipapa.

Eventually, Roger came into view and arrived at the KST/Waikane Trail junction at 1:50 p.m. Patrick told Roger that Dayle had come and gone, leaving a plastic bag full of goodies for their consumption. Seven minutes later with Patrick in front, the duo began ascending the KST toward Kipapa.

Leaving the long windward stretch behind, Patrick and Roger crossed over to the entirely leeward section. Another gap opened up between Patrick and Roger, and they negotiated a couple of landslides. As Patrick rounded the bend not far from the base of Pu'u Ka'aumakua, a downpour soaked the men. Patrick continued past the dead loulu, reached the base of Ka'aumakua then exhorted himself.

"Tell him! Tell him! Tell him you've had enough!"

Rorie turned around and waited for Roger to arrive. When the men met, Patrick communicated his desire to end the trip prematurely. Although strong willed and determined to accomplish the task at hand, Roger agreed, and the duo headed back to the Waikane Trail which they descended to Waikane Valley, and, ultimately, to Kamehameha Hwy where Laredo Murray picked them up at 5:30 p.m.

Notes: Special thanks to Dayle Turner for transporting Gene, Roger and Patrick to Pupukea on Thanksgiving morning and for leaving gatorade, chips, and fig newtons at the KST/Waikane Trail junction on Friday afternoon. Also, a big mahalo to the HTM trail maintenance gang (esp. Ken Suzuki and Kris Corliss) for clearing the KST between Poamoho and the cabin.

So what's it gonna take to conquer the Silver Trail? First of all, "Early summer (May-July) is the best time of year to take this trip"** or a completely clear, variable wind stretch of days in winter. Silver Piliwale himself took five days to accomplish the journey, so an extra day would be most beneficial. Furthermore, a relatively new cabin exists half a mile beyond the Poamoho Trail terminus. Wisdom dictates that a night should be spent in the cabin.


* John Lennon/Paul McCartney from SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND. Copyright - 1967.

** Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO HAWAI'I. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996.

== Paka

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