OHE February 27, 1998

Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 19:41:37 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Koko Crater loop

Had some time to spare today so I headed out to the east end to hike Koko Crater, one of my favorite venues. I started at the botanical gardens a few minutes before one and hiked up the ewa side rim. High clouds drifted overhead accompanined by a nice breeze.

While making the initial ascent, I kicked myself for not bringing any cutting tools because some of that dry, thorny flora needed to be pruned a bit to make the early portion of the trail more pleasant. Compared to a typical Koolau trail, though, Koko Crater's rim is wide open.

Traversing the dike sections on the ewa side pumped up a bit of adrenaline which is always a benefit for my aging internal engine. I recalled the first time I tried the ewa rim and how I retreated after being confronted with the proposition of having to scramble over a narrow boulder. I made it past that obstacle and several others further on without incident today. Experience, it seems, is a good teacher.

I reached Pu'u Mai in a bit under 40 minutes which surprised me since I seem to recall taking much longer the first couple times I summitted from the ewa side. Maybe the increased speed is a result of the vitamin pills I've been taking daily the past month. I also was travelling with a lightened pack today, which also may have helped.

Whatever the case, I spent 15 minutes atop the metal platform at the summit, scoping out the nice views all about with my binocs and reading the entries in the summit log. One person mentioned reading the OHE-L webpage which made me smile. Several folks referred to the climb up the crater as a religious experience and a couple noted how much better they felt after reaching the top despite the exertion put forth. I penned a new entry for today's visit, promising to return in a month with a new tablet since the one in the bottle will be filled up soon.

After completing my summit rest break, I descended via the ocean-facing rim. The offshore waters were uncharacteristically calm and I paused several times during my downward trek to look for whales offshore and just to enjoy the scenery spread before me. Great beauty.

About halfway down the seaward rim, I encountered a haole dude who was deciding whether or not to continue to the summit. In typical HTMC fashion, I advised him that the rest of the way "wasn't too bad" and encouraged him to try for the top. The last time I sighted him, he hadn't moved from the spot I had talked to him so I'm not sure if he continued on.

I completed the loop in one piece, needing 1 hour, 45 minutes to complete the circumnavigation. As I was leaving, a haole couple and their young (12-ish) son arrived and were readying themselves to go hiking. I wished them a pleasant outing and headed home to Kaneohe via Nalo country.

Koko Crater is an enjoyable hike that I look forward to trying on a full-moon night.

--Dayle


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