OHE February 21, 2000 (Kaipapau)

Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 20:09:10 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)
Subject: Kaipapau

I'm not a fan of gulch hikes. Why? Well, conventional wisdom indicates a hiker is more likely to get banged up while traipsing along in a gulch (wet rocks, loose rocks, bad rocks) than on a ridgetop, and my experience with softball-size welts on my shins from slips on gulch hikes has certainly confirmed this. And when I found out a trail clearing outing was scheduled for Kaipapau Gulch yesterday (Sun, 2/20), I began making plans to find some other hike to do instead.

My first notion was to do an outing with the J&J girls, but I found out they had another function to attend. Plan 2 was to do the club hike (Waimano). However, after Saturday's Kolowalu-Olympus-Waiakeakua trek, coupled with the fact I had done Waimano a couple weeks ago (trail maintenance), I didn't feel up to the 15 mile grinder Waimano can be. Plan 3 was to dayhike to Peacock Flats and the Mokuleia campsite to visit a bunch of folks camping there (Pat Rorie, Nathan Yuen, Ralph Valentino, Brandon Stone, Ken Suzuki, and others). Again, I found an excuse (long drive from Kaneohe) not to follow through with that plan. So what was left?

Kaipapau. :-(

Let me be clear that I do want to slight the good people who turn out for trail clearing for the club. That Kaipapau was relegated to my final option had nothing to do with the people in the crew. As I stated at the beginning, I don't favor gulch hikes. And that's what Kaipapau is. With a capital "G".

Even given my misgivings about those "G" outings, when 8 a.m. rolled around yesterday, I found myself at the beach park in Hauula where we always assemble to do Kaipapau, Koloa, and other nearby outings. A few minutes after 8, we piled into vehicles driven by Dusty Klein, Joe Bussen, and Bill Gorst for the short ride over to Kawaipuna Street where the Kaipapau trailhead is. Compared to the 30 folks who normally turn out, only a small group of us were on hand yesterday. In addition to Dusty, Joe, Bill, and I, also in attendance were Ruby Bussen, Mabel Kekina, Jay Feldman, Connie and Gordon Muschek, Thea Cousineau (first outing with the crew), Jason Sunada, and Lita Komura.

The main thing to report is that Kaipapau Stream is dry, dry, dry. Moving at a good pace, a hiker can cover the four miles from the trailhead to the waterfall in 1.5 to 2 hours (we were moving at a much slower pace yesterday since we were clearing and stopping to take lengthy breaks). Unless some significant rain soaks the area, one will not see any water in the stream for the first hour plus. Thereafter, some small pools pocket the streambed, and water flows, although very sluggishly. At the terminus, the plunge pool at the base of the falls has enough volume for someone to take a dip, and that's what Jason and Mabel did yesterday. A point of interest to some is that there is an 800-foot elevation gain from trailhead (40 ft elev) to terminus (840 ft.), so for those thinking that gulch hikes are level with no climbing, think again.

On the way in, Jay marked the trail and removed a bunch of old, faded ribbons. In all, we didn't have to do much clearing. And the dry state of the stream made the umpteen crossings a snap. No soggy boots and no slips due to wet, mossy river rocks. No complaints from me about that.

In many of the small pools, we spotted o'opu (goby fish), opae (shrimp), and prawns. If we were so inclined, we could have scooped up a bounty of these river denizens, but none of us were, so we left the o'opu, opae, and prawns unmolested.

Grant Oka will coordinate the Kaipapau outing on March 5. For more details, see the HTMC schedule on the web at


For more descriptive narratives about Kaipapau, see

http://www2.hawaii.edu/~turner/ohe/June99/6-7.html (by Nathan Yuen)


http://www2.hawaii.edu/~turner/ohe/June99/6-7b.html (by Jay Feldman)

Hope everyone is having a pleasant three-day weekend.


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