OHE January 23, 1998

Date: Fri, 23 Jan 1998 22:41:02 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Friday Haps

I had the day off today (Friday 1/23) so I decided to log some trail time. A couple weeks ago, along with that famous woman hiker I idolize, I went down into Waimano Valley via Manana to look for a crossover route from the Waimano trail to the Manana trail. That outing was interesting but ultimately netted no link-up between the two trails.

Still hoping to make the connection, I went back to Waimano Valley this afternoon, but instead of getting there via Manana and the steep Waimano Pool trail, I drove to the top of Waimano Home Road and went in via the upper Waimano trail.

After signing in at the hunter's mailbox thing (the most recent sign-in before mine was 1/19), I started at just before 1 p.m. and made good time on the trail. Someone, probably a work crew from Na Ala Hele, has recently worked on the route, clearing branches and fallen trees with a chainsaw and blazing a 10-foot wide swath with weedwhackers. Waimano is now in the best shape I've ever seen it. Go now Hawaii.... :-)

I reached the first stream crossing (Point E in Ball's book) in 50 minutes and continued following the trail for a couple minutes until it gained the crest of the sizable middle ridge that one must cross over and descend to the next stream crossing. However, instead of descending to stream crossing two, once I reached the crest of the middle ridge, I followed it makai.

My hope was to hike the middle ridge to its high point and then descend it to Waimano Stream to a spot just downriver from the mango tree campsite off of the Waimano Pool trail. If you recall, that famous woman hiker and I, after descending the Waimano Pool trail, worked our way upstream from the mango tree campsite a few weeks back but turned back when we were confronted with a gauntlet of hau groves. Would the route I was taking today be less troublesome? As it turned out, it was far from a cupcake.

The initial ascent section of the middle ridge wasn't too bad since vegetation was sparse. After about 15 minutes, I realized the going would be slow and a battle since the ridgetop became increasingly choked with assorted native plants (pukiawe, lama, koa, ohia, and others), Christmas berry, and the most dreaded of all--strawberry guava. But since I had my trusty machete and a bunch of daylight to work with, I figured I'd see how much progress I could make.

In the beginning, I was diligent about clearing a decent path (Mabel Kekina has trained me well) but after hacking away for half an hour and hardly making appreciable forward progress, I decided to do more pushing through instead of chopping to gain more ground. But even while pushing through, my pace remained slow. Strawberry guava is nasty stuff when it chokes a trail, and one would be ill-advised to power through it in a reckless, rushed manner. The result of such haste--bloodied shins and forearms (Pat Rorie will vouch for this). :-)

So with past encounters with that dreaded flora in mind, I proceeded in a non-reckless, non-rushed manner (still ended up with a few scratches anyway). :-(

The day was a fine one for hiking with zero threat of rain and gentle breezes whispering over the ridgetop. At one point, I saw some folks hiking along the open, eroded section of Manana. I waved to them but they were so far away I'm not sure they saw me.

Pushing on, I reached the high point of the middle ridge and began a steady descent, for the most part directly on the crest. Pig trails were evident just off the ridgetop, mostly on the Waimano trail side of the ridge. That side, although quite steep, is relatively gentle compared to the precipitous but heavily vegetated Manana side of the middle ridge. While hiking along, I also noticed small alcoves pigs had dug into the ridge. These were probably places na pua'a holed up to sleep. No sleeping pigs spotted though.

I pushed through along the ridge for more than an hour, probably closer to an hour and a half and didn't get near to descending all the way to Waimano Stream. I left a ribbon at the spot where I turned back, vowing to return to see the ridge all the way through. On the return leg, I did more clearing and left a double-ribbon at a spot where I thought the Manana-facing side of the ridge was descendable to the stream. I should note that I found no other ribbons on the ridge but did notice a few old cut marks on trees, indicating that someone had pushed through in the last year or so--probably hunters.

I backtracked all the way to the crossover point on the middle ridge and strolled leisurely to civilization along the Waimano trail. I decided to return via the lower Waimano trail on the way back and that too has been cleared thoroughly. Nice work Na Ala Hele or whoever is responsible.

Signed out at the hunter's mailbox at 5:57 p.m., jumped in my car, and headed home to Kaneohe via H-3. Instead of driving directly home, I swung past Haiku Village and the trailhead of the Haiku Stairs to see if Paka-lolo was on one of his infamous pau hana hikes. Sure enough, the Rorie mobile was parked on the street near the Omega Station gate. It was 6:45, darkness was just about to set in fully, and no sign of Pat. Yup, he was still in the mountains. I tied a pink trail ribbon on the antenna of his car and headed home.

Got a call from Pat at 9:30 and he told me he indeed had gone up da stairs after work, arriving back at his car after 8 p.m. The Paka-lolo legend grows.

Tomorrow (Saturday), it looks like a jaunt up Pu'u o Hulu (Waianae) with Fred Dodge and the HTMC is on the menu followed by an exploratory hike up to the peak beyond the Heleakala saddle. Sunday, weather permitting, it'll be Olympus to Konahuanui.

Looks like a good weather weekend for hiking. Get out there, gang!

--Dayle


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