OHE January 22, 2000 (New Route to Halawa)



Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 22:18:29 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)
Subject: New Route to Halawa

Today, Jay Feldman, Bill Gorst, Wing Ng and I opened up a trail from the Aiea Loop down to Halawa Valley. Some time in the 2nd quarter of this year (April/May/June), I will coordinate a hike for the club that will start and end on Iwaena Street in Halawa Valley. From Iwaena, our group will walk up the Halawa Valley access road under H-3, ascend the spur we opened up today, continue mauka on the Aiea Loop and then the Aiea Ridge trails, cross over along the summit, and then descend the Halawa Ridge trail back to its trailhead and then end up at Iwaena Street where we began. The whole route is about 15 miles but we should have ample time to complete it since daylight hours are lengthier that time of year.

For those who want to check out the new route we cleared today, the quickest way to get to it is to start on the lower side of the loop that comes out by the camping area (Map Point H in Stuart's book [p. 62]). From there you will descend on switchbacks into a gulch, cross a usually trickling Aiea Stream, and then climb out of the gulch. You'll pass a junction with a trail that heads to Camp Smith (Map Point F) and then contour along the side of a broad ridge. At another junction, where the loop trail first reaches a point where you can look down into Halawa Valley, turn right off the loop on a path that leads to an eroded hilltop with high powerline towers on it. Instead of climbing to the top of the hill where the powerline towers are, veer left down an eroded slope that will soon turn grassy.

About 50 meters down, with H-3 and Halawa Valley spread out before you, look for a trail that heads off the spur to the right (we did this to bypass a substantial rock band that cliffs off). The rest of the descent is fairly straightforward and is now marked and fairly well cleared. Among the vegetation we made our way past and through were ulei (plenty), ohia (a few), Christmas berry, silk oak, strawberry guava, and laua'e (plenty in the lower section).

There are several rocky sections with loose stones/small boulders where a bit of caution needs to be exercised but the overall danger level is low. The trail descends to a trickling streamlet then to a much more readily flowing Halawa Stream. Once on the bank of the stream, we followed it downstream, passing an old wire fenceline on the right, and then emerged on a wide dirt swath under the H-3 viaduct. We then continued under the viaduct for maybe 100 meters until the stream crossed in front of us, at which point I crossed it (the others didn't want to get their boots wet), climbed the bank on the far side, and then continued under the viaduct for 30-40 meters until I emerged on the valley access road. Once I memorized and marked the point where I reached the access road, I turned around, recrossed the stream, and rejoined the others for lunch.

For those heading down into the valley via this route, you can lunch and rest on the bank of the stream (no mosquitos, at least today) and either explore along the stream or head back up the way you came.

Thanks to Bill, Jay, and Wing for lending a hand today. To others on the list, give this new trail a try. It's a nice variation/offshoot of the Loop. Be forewarned that you'll be in clear view of motorists on H-3 for a good portion of the ascent/descent.

--DKT


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