OHE January 20, 2000 (Koko Tramway)

Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 14:38:59 -1000
From: JFEL873@aol.com (Jay Feldman)
Subject: Diamond Head/Koko Crater Tramway

The SoleMates broke new ground yesterday, figuratively of course. Not only did they separately and concurrently do two hikes, but the second of the two excursions was itself composed of two separate hikes. Following this collection of hikes the SoleMates gathered to celebrate the loss of a founder and a foundation stone of the Club - Pete Sofman. Not that we took any pleasure in our celebration of Pete and Pat's decision to leave Hawaii for Connecticut, but we wanted Pete to know how much we've enjoyed having him as a hiking partner, good friend, and part-time chauffeur.

The first hike, meeting at 7:30am, was organized by Rich Jacobson and was focused on reaching the summit of Lanihuli which sits across the Pali Highway from her big and equally daunting brother Konahuanui. Rich has written his own hike description, which stands as a tribute to the grit and fortitude of those wet-weather friends who faced what most of us would consider as a no-show hike.

Meanwhile the rest of us met at the Pali lookout at a more reasonable 9:30am for our hike up Mo^^ole Valley retracing the first section of Rich's hike. But, just as it poured for them, it cat and dogged us too. Gathering under what protection we could find, Roger and David, John Hall, Bill Gorst, Janice Nako-Piburn, Judith Bowie, Bart Mathias, Ken Friedman, Michael Cohen and friend, Inger Lidman, Debbie, Jean, and I decided, based on Roger's Waikiki weather intelligence, to visit Diamond Head for a hike up the inside of the crater. We arrived at about 10:15 and quickly lost any sense of identity as we were engulfed in a swarm of tourists, all bound for glory. Somewhat dazed by the multitudes, some of us carried our packs and wore boots, while others put their gear in the trunk and so lightened almost sprinted up to the top.

There were lovely and clear views from the summit across the ocean, and equally obvious were a number of squalls, apparently determined to lower the salinity of the Pacific. Inland we could see stretching across the Ko'olau Range to the Waianaes the gray cloud cover that had inhibited our early hiking efforts. However, as we shared stories and ate snacks, it soon became obvious that to the east, Koko Crater was clear and beckoning. John Hall suggested we pay her a visit and hike up the old tramway to the top. A number of us had never done this trek before, and feeling positively unconsummated by our Diamond Head sojourn, we were quick to agree.

Down the interior slope of Diamond Head we flew and leaping into our cars we were off for our next hike. Lurking in the back of my mind was the hope that we could top this second hike with a possible third at Makapu'u Lighthouse. Time, as it turned out, would serve as a veto to this clever idea.

Arriving at the old Job Corps parking lot, we were amazed to hear a continuous fusillade of gunfire coming from just over the adjacent hill. Knowing I was not personally under attack helped somewhat, but I was also aware that in very short order we would be highlighted against the hill for any sadistic snipers to see. However, John assured me, they were facing the wrong way and that this was just another hiking risk, albeit an unusual one, to be endured by those who choose trails as their path in life.

One thousand and forty-eight steps to the top, or so it was indicated in clear neat white paint on one of the lower railroad ties that must be trod all the way to the top. Happily, the air was cool, and though damp, there was no rain to distress us. Up we went, Bart leading the way, showing us his sixty something heels. Arriving at the top, we assembled ourselves for lunch and as we ate we were all taken aback by the obvious change in atmospheric conditions as the wind picked up. Picked up moisture, that is. As our unwelcome day's companion revisited us, we "chilled out" and began our descent back to the parking lot and off to Pete's party.

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