OHE January 1, 2000 (Waahila Campout)



Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2000 22:10:10 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)
Subject: New Year's Eve 2000 on Waahila

Following through on an idea suggested by Jay Feldman, nine of us joined Jay for a campout on Waahila Ridge last night to usher in 2000. After some pre-outing discussion and scouting trips, we chose a pu'u at the 1,600-ft level that had nice views of Manoa Valley and further makai to the skyscrapers of Waikiki. This pu'u is about 30-40 minutes up the ridge from Waahila Park and is a couple hundred meters makai of the Kolowalu junction. It's a good spot that's far enough away from the park to be out-of-the-way but not so far to require a lengthy, strenuous approach. We were pleased with our choice.

In addition to Jay, in our group were Henry Davis, Kay Lynch, Mike and Nancy (Rawlins?), Dick and Brenda Cowan, John Hall, Inger Lidman, and I. We all arrived at the campspot at various times via various routes.

Coming up from Waahila, Kay, along with dayhikers Brandon Stone and friend, arrived at the selected spot at 10 yesterday morning only to find that someone else had set up camp at the best viewing spot on the pu'u. As things transpired, these folks were staking out the spot for a group of ten or so from a ultramarathon group who were to arrive in the late afternoon.

Henry came up the Kolowalu trail, arriving around 11 a.m. Dick and Brenda came up from Waahila as did Mike and Nancy. Like Henry, Jay, John, and Inger also came up Kolowalu, arriving around 3 p.m.

Wanting a longer workout, I parked on Dole Street near the UH dorms and hiked up Waahila Ridge. In the forest area below the park, I encountered a homeless man, who greeted me in friendly manner. When I reached the park, I saw a group of backpack-laden folks (these turned out to be the ultramarathoners) readying their gear to set off up the trail. They paused their preparations when they saw me hustling by, undoubtedly wondering if my presence on the ridge might throw a monkeywrench into their plans.

I kept hiking without saying a word. Where the ridge dips down at the first powerline tower, I had a clear view mauka and could see a tent pitched atop the pu'u we'd selected. "I wonder who in our group had set up there?" I thought. As it turned out, this tent belonged to the lead person for the ultramarathoners.

Around 4:15, I was making the final climb to our pu'u, passing a couple of wahines (and their dog) who camped out on the trail just makai of it. I greeted another couple of wahines who were in the ultramarathon lead group and who belonged to the tent I'd spotted from the down the ridge. About 30 meters beynd their tent, I said hello to members of our group, including Dick and Brenda, Jay, Henry, and John. Jason Sunada, who'd dayhiked up Kolowalu from his home in Manoa near UH, also arrived about when I did. Jason departed our site around 5:15, heading down Waahila and down to Dole Street via the same route I'd hiked up.

The main body of ultramarathoners (about ten to a dozen) arrived not long after I did, their group camping out on the makai-most segment of the pu'u. They had lugged up eight bottles of wine, plenty of food, and some big tents. They kept to themselves and caused no problems for us.

Our group, on the other hand, spread out over a much larger area. John and Jay found good spots between ohia trees to string up hammocks while Henry, a camera buff, grabbed a nice vantage point for his tarp set-up. Meanwhile, the rest of us staked out level areas for our tents. I chose one near the Cowans where I christened my recently purchased Walrus Mirco Swift bivy tent (2.85 lbs). Easy set-up and comfortable despite its modest size. For specs and pics , see

http://www.walrusgear.com/main_bp_micro_swift.html

On an uluhe-covered slope near John's hammock, we all gathered for dinner at six. Most folks had packed pre-prepared meals. Since I had a small stock of freeze dried stuff at home, I decided to bring a couple for meals. Using an esbit fuel tab stove, I boiled some water to add to a turkey, gravy, and mashed potatos meal. I didn't use enough water so the turkey ended up more chewy than I liked. It was okay otherwise.

While eating and talking story, we decided that our dinner spot was also a good one to settle down to take in the fireworks displays in Manoa and beyond. An array of snacks (cheese, crackers, cookies, etc.) were shared. Also appearing and consumed were a bottle of wine, one of champagne, and some hot apple cider spiced up with rum (mahalo to Nancy, Mike, Dick, Brenda, and Inger for these).

Jay kept us entertained with his conversational gifts, as did John Hall, with recollections of his many adventures. The constant crackle and boom of fireworks from the neighborhoods below also grabbed our attention, with some impressive aerial displays of both the private and commercial variety.

The night was nippy but not unpleasantly so. To help keep warm while kicking back on the hillside perch, I wore a windbreaker over my trademark red coolmax t-shirt, a pair of cordura hiking pants over my mesh shorts, socks, and a balaclava. I also stretched out a z-rest sleep pad for added comfort. At a couple points, I was so comfortable that I took short naps.

Breathing-wise, fireworks smoke was never a factor where we were. Views were clear almost all the while, except for the final thirty minutes before midnight when the haze formed a low cloud over the valley. We were able to see the big fireworks shows at the Hilton, off of Waikiki, and by the Aloha Tower. There was plenty of traffic on Tantalus across the valley, based on the parade of headlights winding in around Roundtop Drive. On occasion, we could see big flashes beyond Tantalus from the Kalihi and Salt Lake areas.

Midnight brought on the usual New Years congratulations and wishes, muffled as one might expect by the roar of the fireworks below. I was in my tent by 12:30 and spent a wonderfully restful night in a pleasant, warm sleeping bag. The wind was minimal and we had no rain.

I was up by 6 a.m., packed by 6:20, and on my way down Waahila in the semi-darkness at 6:30. The club had its traditional 1/1 hike at Koko Crater and I had promised some folks to meet them at the start point at the Blowhole parking lot at 8 hence the early departure from the campsite.

On the way down, I greeted another homeless man, again in the forest area below Waahila Park, wishing him a good day. I was back at my vehicle on Dole Street at 7:40, and after a quick breakfast stop at 7-11 Kaimuki, I was on my way to Koko Crater, arriving at a few minutes past 8.

Unless someone else does one, I'll do a write-up for the Koko Crater outing later.

Happy 2000 to all on OHE.

--DKT


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