OHE February 27, 2000 (Laie-Malaekahana-Pupukea-KST)

Date: Sun, 27 Feb 2000 22:38:26 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)
Subject: Laie-Malaekahana-Pupukea-KST

In a couple weeks, the husband & wife team of Larry Oswald and Kris Corliss will coordinate an HTMC hike that will start at Pupukea and end in Laie. To help prepare the 15-mile route for the outing, a goodly number of folks turned out this morning (Sun, 2/27) to hit the hills to do some work.

Larry, Kris, Mike Algiers, Mike's friend Helene, Justin Ohara, Ken Suzuki, June Miyasato, and Carole K. Moon started at the Pupukea end and worked their way on the KST to Laie. Meanwhile, another group that included Mabel Kekina, Gordon & Connie Muschek, Grant Oka, Sandy & Dusty Klein, Kim & Judy Roy, Georgina Oka, Jason Sunada, Lynn Agena, Charlotte Yamane, Carmen Craig, Dick & Brenda Cowan, Ralph Valentino, Nathan Yuen, Ed Gilman, and I went up Laie, clearing the trail in somewhat of an organized scheme.

Mabel gave the Laie group a plan of attack that basically had the bulk of us hold off on doing any clearing until we passed the junction with the spur trail that heads down to Laie Falls. Moving very rapidly, Charlotte and Lynn were the first to reach the Falls junction, and they began clearing upridge from that point. Ralph, Nathan, Ed, Dusty, and I were the next to arrive at the junction, and we continued hiking up the trail, passing Charlotte and Lynn, until we reached the well-known cliff section of Laie. At that point, we took out our tools and began to work.

Uluhe and guava were available trailside in abundant quantities, and working methodically in mildly humid conditions, we were able to open up the trail better than it's been in the past few years. One thing I noticed was that Laie was the least muddy I've seen it in the handful of times I've hiked up/down the trail. A lack of rain in recent months is the likely cause of the lack of muck. Which is not to say the trail was mudfree. However, the amount of mud was much less than I've experienced. Good deal.

Since it'd been two years since Laie has had a good clearing, it took the lead group (Ralph, Nathan, Ed, and I) till past 12:30 to reach the summit foxhole for lunch. Once there, we experienced wind-whipped, whiteout conditions. Nonetheless, we were thankful for some time to rest, rehydrate, and refuel (Vienna sausage and water for me). By 1:00, Dusty and Sandy had reached the summit and Dick and Brenda did the same not long afterward.

Dick, having had lunch with some of the folks who hadn't summitted, told us the other folks in the Laie team would likely not be coming to the summit, opting to spend more time working on the mid- and lower segments of the trail. Kim, Judy, Grant, and Gordon were armed with loppers, and from what I understand they did a number on the guava. Right on!

For the summit folks, our plan of action was to head toward Pupukea on the summit trail and then head down the Malaekahana Trail. Hopefully, somewhere enroute we'd run into Larry, Kris, et al. coming over from Pupukea. Walkie-talkie communication with that group had been unsuccessful, so we in the Laie team had no idea where the Pupukea team was, and vice-versa. We hoped all was going well with them.

Departing the Laie foxhole at 1:15, the Laie summit group (Ralph, Ed, Nathan, Dusty, Sandy, Dick, Brenda, and I) set out bound for Malaekahana. I suggested we just push through and do at the most touch-up clearing as we hiked the KST since we had expended a large amount of time and energy on Laie. Everyone agreed to this.

Navigating a surprisingly minimally muddy KST with no problem, our group arrived at the junction with Malaekahana thirty minutes after leaving the Laie terminus. Sandy and Dusty trailed a bit further back, and we would not see them until much later in the afternoon. However, Dusty and I kept checking in with each other via walkie-talkie a number of times.

Seconds after I crested out the pu'u that marks the junction of the KST and Malaekahana, I heard a high-pitched female voice say, "There's Dayle!" (for a moment I felt like Johnny Carson being introduced by Ed McMahon). Come to find out, the voice belonged to Kris Corliss, leading the pack of folks coming from Pupukea along the KST. Kris and her group had just crested the pu'u about 60 meters away just Pupukea-side of the one our group was on. Talk about great timing.

Of course, we were happy to see one another, and we spent fifteen minutes resting, talking story, and getting status reports. Among the reports about the KST between Malaekahana and Pupukea: it's still relatively open but the guava is coming back; pig traffic has seemed to increase, based on the multitude of tracks spotted on the trail; it's still muddy but not as bad as it has been.

Also while we rested and chatted, Mike Algiers fished out some wooden trail signs he'd fashioned at home to affix at the Malaekahana/KST junction. Now at that junction are three green-colored wooden signs in the shape of arrows: one says "Malaekahana," another "Pupukea," and another "Laie." All, of course, point to the appropriate destinations. Mike also placed arrow signs at the KST junction with the Kahuku trail.

At 2 p.m., the Laie summit team, plus Ken, began the descent of the Malaekahana trail. It'd been nearly a year since the club had cleared and hiked this route, and I was curious about what state it'd be in. After going down Malaekahana today, I can report that the trail is mildly overgrown, only minimally muddy, and the swath was always easy to follow. That a bunch of us hiked the route today (we did no clearing) will help keep the trail open for the time being. Hopefully, the club will schedule a trail clearing and hike of Malaekahana at some point this year, so we can prevent the trail from being lost, which would be a shame since much effort went into opening it up.

While the Laie team headed down Malaekahana (led by Nathan "Speed Merchant" Yuen--must be those New Balance 902s), the Pupukea team (minus Ken, who decided to join us down Malaekahana) continued on the KST toward Laie and then hiked down Laie. By late afternoon, folks from all the various teams were reunited back at the ball park on Poohaili Street, where we enjoyed post-clearing munchies provided by Mabel (I'm still on my diet, so I dined on pork rinds :-) ).

It had to have been a great day since even Dusty "Mr. Serious" Klein was seen smiling and laughing at the end of the outing.

Next Sunday, the crew (new volunteers are always welcome) will assemble at the end of Califorina Avenue to work on the Wahiawa Hills trail. Meeting time is 8 a.m. Come on down!

Hike on,


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