OHE February 22, 1998 (b)

Date: Sun, 22 Feb 1998 17:35:10 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Hapapa-Kanehoa-Honouliuli Loop

Yesterday (2/21), Pat Rorie and I completed an enjoyable hike in the Waianae mountain range. We started at just before 10:30 at Kolekole Pass and headed left, the side opposite from Kalena.

About 15 minutes from our vehicles, after passing the sacrificial rock, an open meadow and a paperbark tree forest, we veered right and up on a rocky trail to begin a steep ascent toward the Waianae range crest. We reached the crest at about 11:15 and continued on while enjoying nice views of massive Lualualei Valley below us and much of the Waianae coast beyond it.

In just under an hour, we took our first rest break at a clearing right before the summit of Pu'u Hapapa (elev. 2,883 ft.). After the break, we continued along the crest, passing Hapapa then descending fairly steeply past a rocky section that once was cabled but is no longer.

Thereafter, we continued our summit walk, which featured some gentle rollercoaster action and continuing fine views left and right. A hump or two before Pu'u Kanehoa, we had to climb steeply to reach the top of a sizable nob on the crest. As it turned out, this nob was the one Pat topped out on last month when he tried to find an alternate route to the crest from the Honouliuli Contour Trail. From the nob, we thought we spotted some folks at the summit of Pu'u Kaua. I yelled out but received no return shouts or waves.

After the nob, we contoured to the right of an imposing rock formation on the ridge and then we traversed a narrow, boulder section. Pat yelled out in glee while going across the latter.

Just before the summit of Pu'u Kanehoa, we passed a junction with a trail that leads down a ridge to the pineapple fields (a green billboard marks the starting point of that ridge). Pat and I would descend that trail, but lunch called first.

We spent 30 minutes or so eating lunch at the summit of Kanehoa (elev. 2,778). The summit nob offered a nice panorama that included the Waianae side, the central plateau, the Koolau range, and urban sprawl of metro Honolulu. Nice!

After lunch was pau, we backtracked 50 yards to the junction and headed down the ridge toward the pineapple fields. However, our intention was to descend this ridge partway until we found a spur heading left and down to a point along the Honouliuli Contour trail.

About 10 minutes down the ridge, we had one false start where we began descending to the left but backtracked when saw that our line didn't look too productive. A bit further down the ridge, we spotted old ribbons on the left and began following them down.

Well, we had to work hard to make our way downslope, pounding through uluhe, clidemia, and lantana. We continued to spot ribbons periodically during the descent which encouraged us to keep going. As it turned out, we ended up descending a gully (a hiking no-no) instead of a ridge. Fortunately, we didn't encounter any sheer waterfall sections, which often pop up when one foolishly follows a gully downslope. We did battle through a fair share of clidemia, lantana, and fallen branches until finally emerging on Honouliuli. Total time needed to descend: 1.5 hours. Pat and I realized that we had veered left and down from the pineapple field ridge too early. If we had continued just a bit further down we would have encountered the spur we had intended to use to access the contour trail. Next time.

The return leg to Kolekole Pass on the contour trail went well, with much thanks extended to the HTMC trail maintenance crew for some fine work opening up the route recently. Accordingly, we reached our cars at the Pass in 1.5 hours.

Overall, this was a nice loop hike, one I'd urge everyone to give a try (save for the gully bushwhack). As Pat has pointed out, Schofield Barracks may become off-limits to non-military personnel if the war with Iraq erupts. So head on up there soon if you plan to do it or better yet, pray for no war.



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