OHE January 19, 1998

Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 20:46:58 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: DH Crater Rim

After yesterday's long hike up Halawa Ridge and back, I didn't have loads of energy for another marathon trek, so I thought a circumnavigation of Diamond Head crater (about 2.5 miles) would fit the bill. Pat Rorie, who also did Halawa, agreed to join me.

We met at the pulloff area on the left just before the entrance tunnel and after usual preps started off at 9:40 under clear skies. In addition to the heavily used traditional route inside the crater, there are many exterior trails available to climb to the rim of Diamond Head and the one we chose starts at the turnoff area beneath a sign that states, "No camping. No blah, blah, blah." Laughing to ourselves, we hiked by the sign.

Many tourists had congregated at the turnoff area for picture taking and undoubtedly some probably wondered where we were off to. The semi-steep climb to the rim, initially through haole koa and then over a rocky, crumbly path, took about 10 minutes. Once at the top we enjoyed views of the crater interior, the million dollar homes of Kahala, and especially the cloudfree Koolau summit crest where we could pick out many of the peaks and ridges we had traversed in the past.

We hiked the crater in a counter-clockwise direction and in the first couple minutes noticed laying on the ground a long section of the tan telephone line cable that is often used as a climbing aid on steep sections of trail on the island. I told Pat that when we completed the crater loop that we'd take some of this cable with us for future placement on trails.

The crater rim trail is desert-like with haole koa, cacti, ilima, and other flora typical of a dry environment scattered about. We passed a communications building, walked on a paved road for a short span, and continued along the rim on a dusty path. A nice breeze kept us pleasantly cool.

In clear view on the Koolau crest was Konahuanui and Pat suggested that we try the crossover from Olympus to Konahuanui this coming Sunday [1/25]. The HTMC has a scheduled trail clearing of the Olympus trail that day and Pat thought that would be a good opportunity for such an outing. I agreed.

As we continued along, we noted the urban clutter of Kapahulu below us. We also scoped out some routes up to the rim from the crater exterior, many which were documented by Wing Ng in a write-up he did a year or so ago.

The most exciting part of the hike is the dike section above the Fort Ruger Cannon Club. Although not overly dangerous, concentration is needed to make it through this area safely. While I shuffled across one of the narrower sections, Pat yelled, "Kalena," in reference to the well-known dikes of the ridge in the Waianaes above Kolekole Pass.

After the dike segment, we climbed a couple of rocky outcrops until we reached the bunker located just mauka of the tourist observation lookout. A half dozen folks were seated on the roof of the bunker enjoying views of Waikiki, Kapiolani Park, and the blue Pacific ocean. Several dozen more were packed into the railed-in observation area about 40 yards away.

Pat and I spent a few minutes resting at the bunker and then pushed on. We made our way through the throng at the observation area, waiting patiently for some folks to complete snapshot poses. After descending a concrete stairway and ducking under a chain, we passed another dozen folks kicking back on the roof of yet another bunker.

From there, the trail descended steadily on loose, pebbly soil until bottoming out in a saddle. After making our way down this section, we then climbed up to one then another bunker. At the second, a distinct trail leads up to it from Diamond Head Road, passing a water tank on the way. Wing is a regular user of the water tank trail and I told Pat about a previous hike where I met Wing by chance as he climbed up from Diamond Head Road.

On this segment of the crater rim, we had views of the ocean below the Diamond Head lighthouse. A dozen or so surfers and bodyboarders bobbed in the lineup waiting for a wave to carve up and two kayakers paddled casually about 50 yards offshore. Further along the coast was Black Point, the home of multi-million dollar homes, including the posh estate of Doris Duke.

About three-fourths of the way around the rim, we descended a concrete stairway into a two-roomed bunker complex. One room was painted baby-blue with a stenciled message on one wall imploring visitors not to deface the place with graffiti out of respect for a deceased soul. Apparently, the message had an impact for no graffiti was visible. We did find a pile of scrap, bottles, and old clothes, probably the belongings of a homeless person who inhabits/inhabited the bunker. The other room contained an inoperational motorized platform, that may have been used to hoist equipment or perhaps a cannon to rim level during WWII days. Some homeless person's castoff items were also on the floor there.

Seeing all there was to see in the bunker, we climbed back up the stairs and continued on to complete the trip around the crater. About 90 minutes after starting the hike, we reached the point where we had first reached the rim. Instead of heading down immediately, we spent about 20 minutes gathering and cutting up useable lengths of the tan cable we had spotted earlier. We'll put this cable to good use to assist hikers on other trails.

With 50-60 feet of cable in our possession, we descended to our cars without a problem. I headed home to Kaneohe while Pat still had energy to burn so he said he was bound for triple-peaked Olomana to complete a hiking doubleheader. Hopefully, he'll post a write-up to tell us how that went.


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