Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 15:38:23 -1000 From: Patrick Rorie
Subject: Kuaokala Campout 2000
Returned to work today following a very nice President's day weekend backpacking trip to the Pahole Natural Area Reserve along the Makua Valley rim. Others in attendance included Grant Oka, Georgina Oka, Ralph Valentino, Brandon Stone, Kay Lynch, June Miyasato, Kim and Judy Roy, Lynn Agena, Carmen Craig, Ken Suzuki, Steve Montgomery, Elton ?, Lester Ohara, Nathan Yuen, John Darrah, Don and Janice Pilburn. We had excellent weather, enjoyed each others company while spending time in one of the most scenic locals on O'ahu.
== Saturday, Feb. 19
With the exception of Lester, Steve, John, and Elton, the campers gathered near the guard station at the end of Farrington Hwy behind Yokohama Bay. At 8:35 a.m. we drove our respective vehicles up the paved road to a dirt lot just beyond the Kuaokala Trailhead (elev. 1,300 ft).
After final preps, the group commenced the day one journey to the secluded Mokule'ia campsite below the rim of Makua Valley, approx. 6.6 miles away, at 9 a.m. Stuart Ball has a nifty write-up of the route, so please refer to the Makua Rim trip in his "Backpacker's Guide" for further details. Terrific weather always sets the table for a memorable excursion and Saturday's atmospheric conditions were no exception - an abundance of blue sky and sunshine, intermittent white puffy clouds, and a cooling breeze.
The different colors and the things that appealed to the senses received the focus of my attention during the opening day leg. Colors? The broad white sand beaches of Yokohama Bay and Makua far below, the deep blue Pacific Ocean, the blue sky, white puffy cumulous clouds, the green needles of pine trees, the green needles contrasting against the blue sky, the yellow leaves of Kukui trees in gullies below the footpath, the red pukiawe berries, the yellow "carpet" region in the middle of Makua Valley, the white wake of waves breaking off the north shore. Senses? The sound of the wind soughing through the ironwoods and pine trees, the smell of the pines, the refreshing feel of the cooling trade winds, the magnificent views of the north shore, beautiful Makua Valley and the sheer cliffs of 'Ohikilolo Ridge with Mount Ka'ala in the background.
Our party ate lunch between 12 and 1 p.m. at "an overlook with a bench mark (elev. 2,108 ft)(map point H)"* where we gained pleasure from a superb vista of the whole north shore of O'ahu, the foothills between the northern Ko'olau Range and Haleiwa, the Norfolk Island pines scattered about the Peacock Flats area directly below and gliders in flight. After lunch other highlights on the way to the campsite included passing by plenty of koa and a few sandalwood, pausing at "a breathtaking overlook along the Makua Rim"* featuring the 'Ohikilolo triangular peak and the imposing flanks of 'Ohikilolo Ridge across the valley, the Makua Valley impact craters, and walking by the twin Norfolk Island pines marking the start of the abandoned Piko Trail.
Greeted by John Darrah who had come up the Mokule'ia Trail via pasture land, we arrived at the Mokule'ia campsite (elev. 2,180 ft) at 2:38 p.m. Tent spots were selected and up went our canvass converings. Upon erecting our humble abodes, each person headed down the Mokule'ia Trail toward Peacock Flats to pick up his/her water which Lester had hauled from the Kuaokala trailhead using his truck. A big mahalo to him for helping us.
Later, having accomplished the arduous task of lugging our water to the Mokule'ia campsite (some more than others, i.e. Grant Oka carried a 5 gallon flask in his 8000 cu. in. Dana Design backpack), the campers relaxed near the shelter and initiated the early stages of dinner preparation. Meanwhile, at 5:20 p.m., I snuck away to the Makua Valley overlook a short distance above the campsite to take in the sights. With completely clear blue sky overhead, I could see layers of waves breaking off the north shore, the eucalyptus grove of the Mokule'ia Trail, and gliders in tow to the northeast, the bright sunshine (only a slight breeze) providing warmth.
Eventually, the rest of the gang joined me to witness the sun set as late afternoon slowly transitioned to evening. Nathan, an admirer of Hawaiian tree snails, found one on a tree behind the overlook. Like a bunch of little kids, the group traded jokes, teased each other and took part in horse play, all while enjoying a nice sun set (no green flash). When darkness set in, a lovely golden hue appeared on the horizon, the stars came out, the Haleiwa/north shore lights became visible, and the full moon appeared above the Ko'olaus! The star/planet guru Ken Suzuki pointed out several of the major constellations.
Tired from the days journey and feeling the affects of the temperature drop (63 degrees fahrenheit), the campers departed the overlook for the Mokule'ia shelter, or, in the case of the Roys and Carmen Craig, slumberland inside their tents.
At 9:35 p.m., the sky still completely clear, I returned to the overlook to delight in the way the moon light lit up the dark sheer cliffs of 'Ohikilolo Ridge and the floor of Makua Valley. Hearing the sand man calling, I reluctantly descended to the campsite, entered my tent and retired for the evening at 11:20 p.m.
Notes: Stuart Ball writes "The rim lookout is an awesome spot. One thousand feet below lies the green expanse of Makua Valley leading to the ocean. In back are the dark sheer walls of 'Ohikilolo Ridge. Spend some time watching the interplay of sun and clouds on ocean, ridge, and valley. Who says O'ahu isn't as beautiful as the Neighbor islands?"*
* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO HAWAI'I. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1996.