OHE February 10, 1998

Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 10:13:57 -1000
From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>
Subject: waiau/waimano

Greetings to all list members. I've been enjoying the messages for awhile and thought I might finally share some trail notes with all of you generous people.

I took a large botanically-oriented group up the Waiau trail from Kaahumanu St. on Sunday. We parked outside the private community at the end of the road and walked through starting at 9 am. This is the acceptable way to do it, according to the security guard. The first part of the trail is a beautiful stroll due to all of the maintenance work being done by Bob Silva and friends. I've seen them twice on the trail crafting their route. They were really happy on Sunday to see people enjoying their handiwork.

After about an hour, the Kaahumanu St. trail arrives at a junction with the trail that ascends from Hapaki St., one ridge to the Honolulu side. The going gets a little rougher after that, rollercoastering along through native forest. From the looks of the vegetation, my guess is that few people are using the trail. We were travelling very slowly, as plant-lovers tend to do, and arrived at the lookout over Waimalu Valley, just before the Big Dip, at 12:30 pm. At the high point before the lookout, 1644 ft. on the topo map, I noticed a trail running off to the left, down into the back off a small Waimano side-valley. We'll have to check it out sometime. Has anyone been down there?

Between that high point and the lookout, we passed a trail on the right that we made last year. It descends down a spur into Waimalu Valley. The trail should still be open and well marked. It comes out very near the foot of the Waimalu Middle Ridge and you can easily find your way to the stream and the ditch trail out.

More than half our group had turned around by the time we finished lunch, but six of us proceeded at 1 pm through the Big Dip and on up to a prominent knob at about 1800 ft. The trail was very obvious, but this stretch looked very lightly travelled, judging from the debris and overgrowth. Now it was about 2:15 pm, and three others decided to turn around.

The three of us who remained were intrigued by a scheme that I'd had in mind for some time. Our calculations convinced us that we had just enough daylight to accomplish our goal. We continued to the next knob (right at the 1800 ft label on the topo) and made our way down the trackless spur to the left into the adjacent branch of Waimano Valley. The spur was pretty steep and narrow at the top, broadening and flattening somewhat as we neared the valley floor. The spur forks at the bottom and we intended to stay to the right; however, I never actually noticed the fork going off to the left. As it turned out, we came off the spur right where we wanted to be--at the backdoor of the dilapidated CCC cabin by the stream. I'm sure some of you know that cabin; it has been severely dented, probably even totalled by a fallen tree. I think it took us about 45 min. to descend the spur.

After a quick ritual bath in a shallow, very cold pool, (BTW, the stream was barely trickling because of the drought), we ascended the little trail up to the Waimano ridge trail. Out we went with some haste, and we arrived by the guard shack at 6:49, just as darkness was getting serious, under a bright 3/4 moon.

The trip was wonderful for those interested in native plants. Birds, too. Write directly to me if you want to discuss those aspects of the trip.

Many thanks to those who opened up the Waiau trail. I look forward to going all the way to the summit sometime soon. If it is as open as it was at our farthest point on Sunday, it should be easy enough. I believe, though, that earlier messages indicated that the top mile may not be cleared at all. Does anyone know?

Brandon


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