Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 10:23:55 -1000 From: JFEL873@AOL.COM (Jay Feldman) Subject: Puu Manamana Trail via Kahekili/Hidden Valley and Unnamed Ridge
In some cultures, individuals displaying excellence in a skill or art may be declared a national treasure. In the HTMC, we have a whole tier of active albeit older (65+) hikers who, in my opinion, deserve a similar accolade. To have the opportunity to hike with any of them is indeed a treasure and a pleasure. However, there is another layer of younger hikers coming along who will eventually share their status and Wednesday, I had the good fortune to have the exclusive company of one of them.
In the past, Dayle's write-ups when including Charlotte Yamane, had the added declaration, "Pu'u Wahine" or "my idol". After Wednesday's adventure, I may have to add a similar sobriquet to my descriptions. I've know Charlotte for years as a fellow trail clearer, she's half what I weigh and does twice the work. She is one of the most accomplished and knowledgeable hikers I know and can hike farther, faster, and more quietly then just about anyone. We have hiked alone before so I know what an excellent hike partner she is. So when she agreed to "take a hike" with me this week, I was more then happy to agree.
We met at Swanzy Beach Park at nine. The atmosphere was voggy, veiled by high level clouds and already charged with moist heat; of course there was not a hint of the trades. We entered Haumalani Street and parked; then walked along the entry between yards to the valley that starts the Kahekili ridge ascent. Working our way up we emerged from the foliage into the open air for our first views of Kaaawa below. The climb is a stiff one and we both felt logy and stiff as we worked off the lingering vestiges of last Sunday's Hike from Hell - Waimano. The trail was damp and slippery so we took our time consuming water, converting it to sweat, consuming water, etc. We finally reached and began our lateral bypass of the huge overhanging boulders that signify the downturn into Hidden Valley. By this time every cotton/polyester fiber of my shirt, pants, socks, underwear, and headband had absorbed an equal volume of my perspiration. Meanwhile Charlotte was searching her pack for another sweater.
Turning mauka into the valley we searched out some white hibiscus trees and awa plants that Charlotte has been monitoring and then I got my first real inkling that she was looking for some adventure. Charlotte has been hiking ridges and valleys since she was a kid and has a natural sense of where she is and an intrepid ability to get anywhere she wants to go. Knowing this and that she had promised me a short fun hike I was prepared for the worst. Sure enough, using some internal and pernicious guidance system, she had soon picked out an unnamed, almost vertical, and equally unclimbable ridge for exploration. "Let's check this out", I believe were her exact words; "Why not", was my unremarkable come back.
I had deliberately left my machete at home, not wanting to disturb any foliage, native or otherwise today. Just a short fun hike we had agreed. "Out early." "No bushwhacking". She handed me her cane knife and never one to waste words pointed and said, "You go!" Of course I went and thence began the saga of about two hours, as we worked our way up an unused, unopened, and apparently unredemptive ridge. It was what you might expect to find at an uluhe revival. It was everywhere, often so high and dense that the only workable technique was to drop to all fours and try to sniggle a pathway through its defensive line. At other times, it was leveraging yourself up using branches, knee dig-ins, and anything that came to hand, all the time hacking, hacking, and did I mention hacking. Somehow we avoided all the drop-offs and by lunch arrived at, of all things, someone's former campsite.
It was a small, flat area where the uluhe had been flattened down and apparently a tent had be set up. There was no obvious trail leading there, and no trash or other indication of human visitation. We looked for green glass or minute uluhe circles but nothing unusual was found. So we sat and ate our lunch talking about everything and nothing. Because Charlotte is a good friend and neither a snoop nor a gossip, you can tell her anything. But though we needed the rest more than conversation, we had lots to talk about.
Finally, sweaty and dirty and exhausted beyond belief, with uluhe ferns emerging from every crevice in our clothing, packs, hair, etc., we emerged on the Pu'u Manamana trail about half an hour short of Turnover; Charlotte's altimeter reading: 2,050 ft. We had bushwhacked our way into a state of pure euphoria and had Manamana trail not been so muddy, I'm sure I would have bended knee and kissed it. What a struggle, what a physical blowout, what fun.
Fortunately, we were well watered and had plenty of energy for the downturn and soon were on Kahekili for the return leg to that same valley we had visited so many hours before. Reaching the highway by 4:10pm, I bypassed a Big Dayle Gulp at the 7-11, and headed home for that hot shower I had been thinking of for most of the afternoon.
By the way, Charlotte is the current lead photo on Dayle's OHE web page.
Here is a follow up:
On Wednesday, 1 March, I (Kost Pankiwskyj) showed up at Swanzy Park in Kaaawa to join Charlotte and Jay for an excursion into Hidden Valley to check out another ridge from the valley up to the Manamana Trail. We hiked into the valley, past the skeletons of what used to be one of the most impressive stands of awa on this island, and after a while turned right into a side valley. We expected solid clidemia, lantana, uluhe. Instead we were treated to a fantastic native forest rising above the easily manageable clidemia. Here is a brief list of what we came across: possibly one hundred specimens of tall white hibiscus (Hibiscus arnottianus var. punaluuense); four types of nettles: mamaki, akolea, olona, opuhe; papala, papala kepau; at least three species of haiwale (possibly including Cyrtandra paludosa, C. propinqua); alani (Melicope honoluluensis); but probably most exciting of all, about 6 individuals of Cyanea, unfortunately without any flowers. Years ago I saw several individuals of the very rare Cyanea truncata in this valley. If these are also C. truncata, that would be great.
And then the narrow valley closed in, steep slippery waterfalls greeted our forward passage, so we decided to continue going up via slopes rather than valley floor. For a description of this, the reader is referred to the last two paragraphs of Jay's account above.