OHE February 26, 1999 (Kepauula)

Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 16:08:57 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@mailhost.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Pu'u Kepauala... Pau Hana

Yesterday (Feb. 25, 1999) I found myself temporarily relocated at the D.O.E. office in Kapolei because of painting at my regular downtown Honolulu office. Soo... I thought I'd take advantage of the situation and undertake a pau hana hike on the leeward coast.

Dug out of work a few minutes past 4 p.m. and drove along the leeward coast on Farrington Hwy past Nanakuli, Ma'ili, and Waianae Town. Parked across from Kamaile School on Ala Akau (elev. 20 ft).

Changed clothes inside the pat-mobile and continued on foot at 4:40 p.m. From Ala Akau I traveled on Kaulawaha Road, made a detour under some trees and around a couple derelict vehicles to the foot of Kamaileunu Ridge.

At 4:47 p.m. I began my assault of the mountain, stepping over an abandoned metal irrigation ditch early on. Walked thru the heiau (no disrespect intended) and spotted nests but no wasps at the place where Dayle and I got stung on one occasion. The trail is wide open and runs mainly along the crest of the ridge over or around various rock outcroppings. Little or no vegetation to speak of except thorny keawi plants and low level grass.

Completed the initial climb to Pu'u Kamaileunu (elev. 1085 ft) in twenty minutes and sat down for two minutes to catch my breath, hydrate and enjoy the vistas (leeward coast beaches, vast Pacific Ocean, Makaha Valley, Keaau Ridge). Although the unobstructed sun and light and variable winds from the west made for hot/sweaty conditions, the cooler late afternoon temps kept the situation from becoming unbearable.

Pressing on, I negotiated the long relatively level stretch guided by the ribbons left over from the HTM club hike as much as possible. I paused briefly and looking across Makaha Valley, I spotted the eroded pu'u of Keaau Ridge, the Ohikilolo Pyramid, and Ohikilolo Ridge which forms the steep northern wall of middle Makaha Valley. Recognized the Makaha mansions and the Sheraton Makaha Golf Links on the floor of the valley as well. During the level section I entered the Waianae Kai forest reserve at the Makaha benchmark (elev. 1,312 ft) in route to the sometimes narrow dike.

Upon crossing the dike, I reached the base of the second serious ascent at 5:33 p.m. Climbed steeply, eventually the angle of ascent became more gradual. An increase in vegetation including trees and a multitude of cacti caught my attention. Tramped up and over a number of smaller pu'us closing the gap on the ridge leading down into Waianae Valley from Pu'u Kepauala. The ridge looked like a giant shoulder as it stuck out from the main ridge.

Gained the summit of Kepauala (elev. 2,678 ft) at 5:59:30 p.m., the prominent pu'u which precedes the steep descent to the first ironwood grove on Kamaileunu Ridge. Took pleasure from the terrific panorama for only five minutes including the lone Norfolk Island pine on Ohikilolo Ridge, the Ohikilolo Pyramid, Makaha Valley, massive Keaau Ridge, and Ohikilolo Ridge beyond the pyramid as well as sweeping views of the completely clear Waianae Range from Mount Ka'ala to the beginning of Nanakuli Valley, vast Lualualei Valley, much of Waianae Valley, the vertical "ribs" below Kalena, Pu'u Kailio, Kolekole Pass, the Waiawa Dip of the Ko'olau Range above Kolekole, the sheer fluted cliffs below Hapapa, Kanehoa, Kaua, Palikea, Pu'u Heleakala, and Pu'u O'Hulu Kai and Uka. No sign of Bu Laie or Sam Choy and didn't see any goats all day.

Looked around briefly for goat skulls then commenced the downward leg into Waianae Valley at 6:06 p.m. Recalled that gale force winds pushed me around the last time I descended the side ridge but there was little or no breeze on this day. Suffered a major blowout of my right boot but managed to keep moving. Studied the brown, rugged, vertical walls of the gulch on the left and stopped for a few minutes to watch the sun disappear beautifully below the horizon (no green flash).

Successfully completed the descent arriving at the water tank at 6:57 p.m. Jogged down the board of water supply road which became Kawiwi Way darkness having already set in. Gazed up at the vertical alignment of Saturn, Venus and Jupiter in the western sky and up at the 70% moon almost directly overhead. A golden hue existed where the sun had set.

Turned left onto Piliuka Place and slowed to walking speed as I entered a Waianae neighborhood (probably the most dangerous aspect of the hike). Made my way thru the hood without incident (ample street lights, dogs barked behind fences and keikis played in the street).

Once I reached Waianae Valley Road, I started jogging again. The road seemed like it would never end! Slowed down and walked along the perimeter of Pililaau Park where Waianae Valley Road becomes Plantation Road, a plethora of activity taking place.

At long last I made it to Farrington Hwy near McDonalds and Taco Bell and went right. Began jogging anew past Waianae Intermediate, the entrance to Waianae Boat Harbor and onto Ala Akau.

Breathed a sigh of relief when I found the pat-mobile as I had left it at 7:33 p.m. Took off for home shortly thereafter.

== Paka

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