OHE January 5, 1998

Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 13:16:02 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Waimano Valley exploratory hike

In June, Pat Rorie and I are slated to lead an HTMC hike up Manana, across the Koolau summit, and down Waimano. One minor logistical hangup about the outing is post-hike vehicular transport. Obviously, the most convenient thing would be to begin and end the hike at the same trailhead, and in effort to try and accomplish that goal, this past Friday (1/2) I did some exploring with a friend (that famous woman hiker) in Waimano Valley to look for a possible crossover route from Waimano to Manana.

We drove to the Manana trailhead at the end of Komo Mai Drive, arriving there about 9 a.m., and hiked up Manana for awhile before heading right on the Waimano Pool trail that makes a steep, rooty descent to Waimano Stream. The trail was muddy so we slowly and carefully made our way down the mountainside. Just before the trail reaches the stream, a junction is reached where one has the option of heading right to a campsite under a couple large mango trees or left where one will reach the waterfall and pools.

We opted to head right, pushing through a trail crowded by strawberry guava. At a point just before the campsite where two forks of Waimano Stream converge, we left the established trail and headed upstream on the right fork (the left fork leads to Waimano Falls pools). We made our way along the bank when possible (plenty of hau tangles made this difficult to do) or hiked in the stream itself. Since I'm tall and making my under hau isn't easy for me, I mostly stuck to the stream, sloshing through one section where the water was up to my chest. A combination of damp clothes, body heat, a nip in the air, and the sun shining down through the forest canopy created a phenomena where steam wafted from my body like I was on fire. I was hiking in my own steam cloud!!

As we continued our upstream progression, we could make out remants of an old trail, probably used at one time to maintain the ditch system in the valley. The friend I was with told me she had hiked this route when it was wide open with the legendary Silver Piliwale about 20 years ago. However, time and lack of use since then had made the route almost impassable without some large-scale machete and chainsaw work.

At one point, while we were making our way along the left bank of the stream, we came upon the remains of a small dead pua'a. Its jawbone, parts of its spine, and tufts of fur were all that was left. About 100 yards further upstream, we encountered massive hau groves on both banks and we attempted to bypass this part by following pig trails up an embankment to the left. By the way the ground was torn up and made muddy, we could see that the pigs used this route often, most likely to come down from the ridge to drink water from the stream.

We climbed for about 10 minutes through guava and stopped when confronted with thick uluhe growth. The climb gave us the benefit of reaching a lookout point where we could see upstream and also the ridge to the right where the Waimano trail crosses after the first stream crossing (Point E on page 73 of Ball's book). From this lookout we could see we had a lengthy haul, much of it through hau, to reach Waimano's second stream crossing. Because we weren't supplied to continue on for a couple more hours, we decided to abort the attempt and head back.

At some point, I'll return to for more exploring in the valley. Even if the crossover plan turns out to be more trouble than its worth, the attempt to find a route will give me a chance to explore some territory I've never been to before.

--Dayle


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