OHE February 18, 1998 (b)

Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 09:36:05 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Hiking Accomplishments 2/13 - 2/16

== Friday the 13th, Pu'u Papaa (Kalaheo Hillside) Pau Hana ==

Drove to Haiku Valley to see if Dayle was still working on the Haiku Stairs access trail. Arrived near the Omega Station main gate at approx. 4:45 p.m. but did not spot his Navy blue jeep cherokee. Consequently I headed for a ridge I had wondered about but never climbed. Its the one behind Kalaheo High School and looks very similar to Kaiwa Ridge.

Drove along the back of Oneawa Hills/Kalaheo Hillside subdivision looking for a trailhead. Stopped briefly and asked two kids from the neighborhood. One of them told me to go farther down toward the Marine Base. Got back into my car and eventually came to what looked like a watertank road near the end of Iliaina Street.

I parked, walked up the road and discovered that houses existed at the top. As a result I looked into the small haole koa forest nearby for a trail and found one. Followed it up the ridge until I reached a concrete ditch. Hiked along the ditch as it contoured behind some houses. From the ditch another trail took me up a hill to a bunker. I had to push aside tall grass but the trail was very distinct. I went inside the two room bunker to check it out then got back on the trail. Followed the ridge line and ascended to another bunker (stacked) near Pu'u Papaa.

The views were excellent of the Ko'olaus from Konahuanui to Kaoio Pt. near Kualoa Ranch. I could see the ridge leading up to Konahuanui thru the opening above the saddle between Konahuanui and Lanihuli. The summit ridge was socked in but the sun penetrated the clouds in a couple of places illuminating the dark green sheer fluted cliffs. Kaneohe Bay featuring Gilligan's Island was on the right as one faces mauka and Kaiwa Ridge with the Mokulua Islands off of the coast was on the left. Mokapu Peninsula was straight back.

A fenced in communications station similar to the one found on the Ko'olau summit crest along the Makapu'u Trail existed behind the stacked bunker. I made my way along the fence to the Pu'u Papaa benchmark. The trail appeared to continue along the ridge skirting the left side of the installation. Not having enough time to go the entire length of the ridge I backtracked to the stacked bunker and enjoyed the views until darkness approached.

Retraced my steps to Iliaina and departed for home.

== Saturday, Feb. 14, Ohulehule Southeast Ridge ==

Just to add a little more to Dayle's account...

While Dayle was busy eliminating some "low bridge" sections on the trail, Arnold, Gary and I reached a position below the last massive dike under a canopy. I removed my pack because I knew what was up ahead, a narrow knife-like section which required complete balance.

The three of us bypassed the last dike on the right then worked our way up a steep eroded stretch. Toward Waikane Valley was a sheer vertical dropoff. The views were awesome but we were nervous. This was as far as Gary and Arnold went and after they headed back toward the last dike I decided to continue.

I walked very carefully along the narrow open ridge until I reached a good sized Chinese banyon tree growing on the leeward side of the ridge. I climbed thru it and straddled the ridge as if on a motorcycle (thats how narrow it got !). However, the ridge was shaped like a slightly opened umbrella, narrow at the top but spreading out gradually before the sheer vertical dropoff. I studied the area in front of me. It was very very steep, eroded and exposed with boulders sticking out. Free rock climbing looked like a real possibility but so did dislodging the boulders from the side of the mountain ! I noticed a wire and grabbed it. The wire was wrapped around one of the boulders. Stood up and made visual contact with Dayle who was just before the steep eroded stretch. We yelled back and forth to each other about the situation. Having concluded that any further progress would be too risky to undertake I reluctantly and very carefully retreated to the last dike where Dayle, Arnold and Gary were having lunch.

Ball describes this trail as the most dangerous hike on the island and I agree wholeheartedly. I greatly desire to reopen the southeast ridge of Ohulehule. From the summit down appears to be the safest way, tying off cables where necessary.

== Sunday, Feb. 15, HTMC Lanipo Hike ==

Please refer to Dayle's 2/15/98 post "Lanipo with the HTMC".

== Monday, Feb. 16, Nihoa Gulch ==

Dayle summerized the hike/clearing very nicely. The only additional info I would like to add is the unbelieveable hiking skills of a 70 year old lady. Despite the steep climb over loose dirt and rock Mabel Kekina worked her way up the trail in grand fashion !

== Monday afternoon, Feb. 16, Pu'u Kalena ==

Having plenty of time and some energy remaining in the day I headed for Schofield Barracks. Arrived at the Kolekole rock parking area and crossed Kolekole Road at 4:21 p.m. Worked my way up the steps which formerly lead to a giant white cross.

I had planned to take it slow but when I saw three dudes above me negotiating the steep large eroded hillside the competitive juices began to kick in. I increased my speed catching up with them before the Formosan Koa. They were taking a break as I passed them.

We exchanged greetings and I continued the hike reaching the benchmark where the ridge levels off briefly at 4:40 p.m. I sat down to catch my breath. Pressing on I climbed steeply over rock, bypassed a narrow section, climbed gradually on the famous rock dike, ascended more steeply over a small rock face and arrived at the top of Pu'u Ku Makali'i at 4:51 p.m.

Took a quick break then went left and shortly thereafter crossed a relatively level, very narrow section of the ridge. There are steep dropoffs on both sides. Ascended briefly with the aid of a rope then observed a spectacular razor thin side ridge coming in on the left. Began to descend toward an Ohia forest when I stopped to take in the views.

Taking inventory of the surrounding peaks/mountains from right to left I could see, on the far right, Pu'u Kalena (elev. 3,504 ft) which blocked the top of Mount Kaala (elev. 4,025 ft), the triangular peak of Ohikilolo (elev. 3,052 ft), noname' peak (elev. 3,000 ft), Pu'u Kawiwi (elev. 2,975 ft), mighty Kamaileunu stretched out beautifully toward the ocean. Slightly to the left was Pu'u o'Hulu followed by Pu'u Heleakala with the ridge leading up to Palikea (elev. 3,098 ft). On the far left were Pu'u Kaua (elev. 3,127 ft), Pu'u Kanehoa (elev. 2,778 ft), and Pu'u Hapapa (elev. 2,883 ft).

Enjoyed the views and did some thinking/evaluating regarding how things were going in life beyond 6 p.m. Desired to watch the sun set but figured that I would not be able to get down to my car before darkness set in (I had forgotten to bring my flashlight).

At 6:10 p.m. I started heading back toward Kolekole Pass. The famous dike section seemed easy compared to the section of the southeast ridge of Ohulehule beyond the steep eroded stretch.

Arrived at my car just before 7 p.m. Drove to Boston's North End Pizza Bakery in Wahiawa for some ono grinds.

Notes: It is only a matter of time before the U. S. bombs Iraq. Once this takes place guards will probably be positioned at all of the Schofield gates full time (at present many of the gates are open during the day making for easy access to the trails). If you've been thinking about hiking Kalena better go soon !

== Patrick

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