OHE January 2, 1997

Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 07:16:51 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Koko Crater with the HTMC

By tradition, the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club welcomes each new year by conducting a hike to the summit of Koko Crater. Yesterday, about three dozen folks turned out for the 1998 trek at the Halona Blowhole parking lot, where the hike would begin.

Several club members, including Grant Oka, Jim Yuen, and Ralph Valentino, arrived earlier than the 9 a.m. hike starting time to set up ropes on the rock bridge section on the ocean-facing slope of the crater. Jim also brought a drill bit, a hammer, epoxy, and a bolt to set a permanent anchor point in the rock for a rope or cable. Nice work, Jim and crew.

While everyone else ascended the steep trail from the Blowhole to the rim and turned left to climb to the summit, a handful of us--Stuart Ball, his wife Lynne (Stuart and Lynne were married on 1/1/97 at the Koko Crater summit and were celebrating their first anniversary), Jason Sunada, Jay Feldman, and I--turned right to begin a counter-clockwise circumnavigation of Koko Crater.

Our group followed the rim as it descended in the Makapuu direction and eventually bottomed out in the botanical gardens. Once on the crater floor, we briefly followed the dirt road leading out of the crater before turning left into a stand of koa haole. A weathered pink ribbon marked this spot. With Stuart in the lead, we pushed through a non-trail until we arrived at the base of a finger ridge that ascended to Koko's ewa-side rim. After 20 minutes of steep scrambling, we were at the rim where we sat down to rest.

From that vantage point, we could see an array of hikers at varying points around the crater. A group was at the summit platform, many others were spread along the rim climbing to the top, and a few were descending along the farside lip. We recognized one hiker from the latter group as Carole K. Moon by her trademark whoop. As we continued to rest, one fast-moving hiker caught our eye. "I think that's Pat (Rorie)," I said. "No one else would run on the trail like that."

Jason and Stuart fished out binoculars from their packs, homed in on the fast-moving object, and confirmed it indeed was renowned speed hiker Paka-lolo. We watched him fly down the trail to the floor of the crater, run on the road, and begin attacking the route we had just climbed. "He'll be here in 10 minutes," I said, in reference to the climb that had taken us 20. Sure enough, he was topside in the predicted time.

With a new addition to our small group, we continued along the ewa rim, this time with Jason in the lead. We negotiated several narrow dikes that placed us in mega-concentration mode, making it past these sections with no casualties. :-)

While we climbed steadily to the summit, we looked back and saw a distant red-shirted hiker following the route we had completed. This turned out to be Ralph Valentino, who was moving along at a nice clip.

A dozen or so club members bellowed "Happy Anniversary" to Stuart and Lynne when they arrived at Pu'u Ma'i, the apex of Koko Crater. HTMC president Grant Oka, after watching Pat's sprint traverse of the crater, shook Paka-lolo's hand in recognition of a remarkable accomplishment.

While congratulations were being bestowed, I climbed atop the metal platform at the summit, ate an apple, drank some water, and perused the entries in the summit log bottle. A couple familiar names were in the log, including OHE-L member Art Neilson and his buddy Mike Adams. Jay Feldman and I added entries and chatted with Wing Ng, who'd be descending along the old tramway route to the former Job Corps site. I had hiked down this way with Wing last year but decided today to complete the crater circumnavigation by continuing along the rim and descending the Blowhole trail back to my vehicle.

All in all, a great hike with some nice people and fine way to kick off 1998.

Aloha, safe hiking and happy new year to all,


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