OHE February 22, 1999 (Laie-Malaekahana)

Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 15:54:47 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@mailhost.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Malaekahana Trail Clearing

A group of about 22 HTMC trail clearers got together yesterday (Sunday, Feb. 21) to do a double whammy clearing. We met on the perimeter of a park on Po'ohaili St. in Laie at 8 am. Following final instructions from the grey haired boss lady (70 year old Mabel Kekina), the gang headed mauka to do maintenance for two upcoming HTM hikes, Malaekahana Stream scheduled for February 28, and the Laie-Malaekahana Super Hike due to take place on March 27.

With the cloudless Ko'olau Summit Ridge visible in the distance, our group tramped to the end of Po'ohaili, went around a new fence at the beginning of a cane haul road and proceeded to the gate marking the start of the Laie Trail. At this point the group split. Dayle, Jim Pushaw, Ralph Valentino, Jay Feldman and I took the Laie footpath with the intent of clearing the Ko'olau Summit Trail (KST) between Laie and Malaekahana Ridges (actually, Dayle and Wing did most of this on January 10) then joining up with the Malaekahana group, a two pronged approach. The others continued on the dirt road bound for the Malaekahana Trail including OHE-L'ers Mark Short, Judy "not a garland but a beauty" Roy, Greg Kingsley, Carole "full" Moon, Jason Sunada, and Ken Suzuki.

While the Malaekahana crew checked out a new approach at the suggestion of Mabel Kekina, getting lost in the process, the 5 men on Laie made excellent time stopping briefly at the Norfolk Island pine grove to drain our lizards. After the long guava section we encountered loulu palms (the tall tree variety), slowly at first then in large clumps, and enjoyed nice views of the Laie coast. However, clouds moved in above us socking in the summit ridge.

At the crossover point (the spot where Brandon Stone once set up his tent), Dayle, Ralph, Jim, Jay and I paused again to hydrate, Dayle coughing profusely from a recent bought with the flu. Pressing on, Dayle led the way thru native forest as sheets of rain pelted us. It took about two hours from the gate to gain the foggy crest below the Laie foxhole (elev. 2,240 ft).

I changed into long pants and we turned north along the fabled KST, our machetes/bolo knives a swingin improving on the January 10th labor. Upon completing a couple of stretches which bypassed overgrown leeward KST segments, Jim, Jay, Ralph and I encountered a grove of Australian Tea trees. Dayle could not to be found and I yelled for him. Turned out he was on the other side of a nearby pu'u getting ready for lunch. Jim moved ahead of me as I worked on the Australian Tea. Jay, Ralph and I cut a nice swath thru the grove, ascended the hill and dropped down to Dayle's lunch spot as the sun came out.

A few minutes past 12 noon the five of us began consuming the midday meal (I dined on an egg mcmuffin, power bar, and part of an apple). During lunch the sun disappeared and chilly conditions prevailed.

Rested, fed and desiring to warm up, the group of five continued descending gradually over the Malaekahana Ridge. As had been the case all day, Dayle occupied the ram-rod position, Jim Pushaw not far behind. Jay, Ralph and I lingered in the back to widen the swath thru the uluhe and guava our two colleagues had created.

Slowly and methodically, we traveled oceanward and much to our surprise Jason Sunada reached our position, an encouraging development to put it lightly! He joined us in clearing the ridge of uluhe and eventually Larry Oswald and another individual became visible across a large bowl shaped region. I yelled and waved to them. Somewhere in this vicinity Ralph's weapon ricocheted off a guava tree cutting his right leg. Although not a deep wound, Ralph applied first aid to the effected area.

Studied a sheer wall of an adjacent rige which had two dormant waterfall shoots on it. Also, recognized an area used for camping (by pig hunters?) below a tall, prominent paperbark across a wide section of Malaekahana stream. After Jay moved ahead of Ralph and I, the two of us halted briefly to enjoy the sight of sheeting rain blown mauka by the wind.

Slid steeply and carefully down to a saddle thru lots of mud, a side trail leading to the stream and bowl visible on the left. Ralph and I then climbed out of the low point and cleared the ridge to the bitter end arriving at the top of a pu'u where Dayle, Jay, Jim and Ken were gathered. They strongly urged us to put away our tools and we did so.

With the reward of Mabel's ono deserts foremost on our minds, the sixtet motored down the remainder of the ridge and along the dirt road to the park, reaching it at approx. 5 p.m.

Immediately commenced the post trail clearing routine (clean up, relaxation, and intake of high caloric delights). I received more than my fair share of verbal abuse (all in fun, of course) regarding my G.I. pants ripped to shreds by the uluhe as mama Kekina and others examined Ralph's cut.

As the six o'clock hour came and went, the festivities concluded and each participant departed to his/her part of the island.

== Paka


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