OHE February 14, 2000 (Lanipo-Waialae Nui)

Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 08:14:20 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)
Subject: Lanipo-Waialae Nui

On 2/27/00, Jay Feldman and Wil Kawano will coordinate an outing up the Lanipo trail, and to help prepare the route for that hike, a large group of us turned out yesterday up on Maunalani Heights above Kaimuki.

Among those in attendance were several husband and wife teams, including Joe & Ruby Bussen, Connie & Gordon Muschek, Kim & Judy Roy, Larry Oswald & Kris Corliss, and Kost & Gina Pankiwskyj. Also on hand were Ken Suzuki, Thomas Yoza, Bill Gorst, Charlotte Yamane, Mabel Kekina, Deetsie Chave, John Hall, Dusty Klein, Pat Rorie, Carole K. Moon, June Miyasato, Rich Jacobson, Ed Gilman, Nathan Yuen, Brandon Stone, Lynn Agena, Kay Lynch, Jason Sunada, and Georgina Oka. Of course, Jay and Wil were also there. Also dropping by before or after the hike were Ralph Valentino, Mark Short, Lester Ohara, and Lita Komura.

Thanks to Jay bringing our attention to being quieter when starting hikes at trailheads in residential neighborhoods, mum was the word when we gathered to listen to Mabel's prehike briefing along Maunalani Circle. At 8:05, we were off onto the trail, passing along a fenceline and a large house on the right and a watertank on the left before breaking out into the open on the rocky eroded ridge. Rich and I did altimeter checks at the start and came up with elevations of 1,040 or 1,060, depending on whose watch was looked at.

Not much work was needed in the first hour. However, beyond the large pine tree campspot, uluhe and clidemia came more and more into play, and we slowed our pace to tend to the task of clearing the trail. It was warm (about 80 F), with a mostly cloudfree sky overhead. Plus, a lack of rain in the past couple weeks made for a dry trail underfoot.

As has been the case for the past few months, several of us carried walkie-talkies, using them to keep track of who's where on the trail, to pass on bits of info, and to throw occasional good-natured one-liners at each other.

Not far beyond the pine tree campspot, we caught up to two hikers heading for the summit. One was hiking in flipflops (and not having any problems doing so) and the other was someone I happened to know--Matt Souza, who graduated two years ahead of me at Kamehameha. Small world.

Lanipo has some rollercoaster characteristics but not nearly as pronounced and lengthy as Manana, the kingpin of rollercoaster trails on Oahu. One of my favorite sections of Lanipo is at a hilltop about 20 minutes from the summit. At that point, the final climb comes into view and it becomes obvious that the top is near. We stopped at this hilltop for a break yesterday, the same place where we ate lunch in a windy rainstorm three or four years ago during a trail clearing outing.

At the summit pu'u called Kainawa'aunui, we stopped again to rest and to enjoy the clear views down onto the windward side. A couple humps to our right along the summit crest was true Lanipo, distinguishable by its steep, sloping ridge that drops to windward to become Aniani Nui Ridge, which extends to the three peaks of Olomana. Rich and I did altimeter checks, and we both clocked in very near the 2,520 feet indicated in Stuart's book and on the topo map.

After making radio checks with Thomas (aka "Bike Man") and Jay (aka "Caboose"), Rich (aka "Kalalau Rich) and I (aka "Big Red"), along with Nathan, Dusty, Ed, and Wil, continued eastbound on the summit crest. The segment over to true Lanipo was only mildly overgrown and was thankfully mud-free. There are two fairly stiff climbs enroute and the ridge remains generally broad.

About five minutes east of the Lanipo benchmark is the terminus of the Waialae Nui trail, which was unmarked and overgrown. Thereafter on the Koolau crest is a steep descent past a row of powerline towers on the ridge, so if you're up there looking for the turnoff to descend Waialae Nui, remember that if you pass these poles while eastbound, you've missed the junction.

Our group started descending Waialae Nui about 11:45, stopping at noon for lunch at a hilltop that would have offered us panoramic views if clouds hadn't rolled in. Looking west from our position, we could see many others making their way along the summit crest. We could also hear the whirring buzz of Larry's hedge trimmer, which, according to reports I heard later, did an excellent job of mowing down patches of clidemia. As they had done most of the morning, Bike Man and Caboose continued to keep in touch via walkie-talkie.

At 12:30, a group that included Jay, Thomas, Carole, and several others reached our lunchspot, and after chatting with them briefly, our group of five (Dusty had pushed on ahead) continued the descent of Waialae Nui. We only did nominal clearing as we hiked along on a trail that was readily distinguishable though overgrown. We talked about how it would be better to leave the trail this way instead of clearing it 3 to 4 feet wide since a wider trail would give pests like clidemia, lantana, and palm grass a chance to make inroads.

By 2:15, we were ready to emerge on Aha Aina Place in the Waialae Nui subdivision tract. As we made our way down an embankment to get the street, a woman emerged from the last house on Aha Aina and walked in our direction. Anticipating a tongue-lashing from her, we apologized for skirting her property to reach the street. To our delight and relief, she was very nice, asking us questions about where we had hiked and how long we had taken. We also informed her that many others would be emerging at this spot in the next couple hours. "No problem," was her reply. Mahalo to this friendly woman. May other property owners be as accommodating to hikers as she is. And may other hikers who access Waialae Nui be respectful to her and her property.

My vehicle was parked on Aha Aina (earlier, several of us had left vehicles there and were shuttled to Mauanlani Heights by Ralph). Dusty, Ed, Nathan, Wil, and Rich jumped in and by 2:30 we were back on Maunalani Circle where we had begun hiking in the morning.

Posthike, we had an enjoyable gathering at Deetsie's house near the Lanipo trailhead and by 4:15, the last of the folks had been shuttled back to Maunalani from Waialae Nui.

It was a great day in the mountains with a fun-loving, hardworking group of people.

Hike on,


Return to OHE top | Return to Oahu Hike Tales | Email Dayle