OHE January 18, 1999 (palama uka)

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 20:22:38 -1000
From: MARK SHORT (MARKESHORT@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: Palama Uka campout

Friday at 5pm my 11 yr old son Jacob and I met Lester Ohara, Dayle Turner, Bill Melemai, Kim & Judy Roy, Greg Kingsley and Pat Rorie at the intersection of Emerson Road & the Haleiwa By-pass. Carol Moon with her granddaughter, her friend John and his son Nick would join us later that evening. We proceeded to drive up the long dirt road to Palama Uka, avoiding the bad sections if possible or slowing down if needed. The camp is situated on top of a plateau with Kawai Iki Gulch on one side and Opaeula on the other. There are several cabins and a nice large pavilion. We even had flush toilets and showers! We camped on a finger with views on three sides. My sincere thanks to Bill Melemai for arranging these beautiful and secluded accommodations! Jacob & I went to bed at about 10:30 Jacob in our tent, myself in my hammock set up between the steel poles supporting the roof over our picnic table. I considered this an ideal location. I was on the edge looking out over the gulch, had a view of the stars and was still protected from rain. the night was clear & cold the other sat around the fire talking & star gazing until almost 2am. At about 4 am I woke up to the sound of Jacob coughing in the tent. It was cold and Jacob has a habit of sleeping with no shirt and kicking off his cover then not waking up. I wondered he could be suffering from hypothermia in his sleep. I went into the tent and woke him up to put a shirt on and get covered up. I stayed in the tent figured my body would add some warmth. Maybe I worried for nothing Jacob said in the morning that he never did feel cold. It rained early in the morning so I was glad to be in the tent.

On Saturday morning Jacob & I walked with Dayle, Bill, Pat & Kim to the Pe'ahinai'a trail. Jacob was wearing brand new cleats but what I should have bought him was a pair of long pants. About 300 yards into the trail Jacob was saying ouch with every step. At this point the uluhe was not very thick and I told Jacob to stay right behind me & just push through. I soon realized that this may be considered torture so I asked him if he wanted to go back. Jacob asked how muc h more we had to the end and I told him we would not reach the end even if we hiked all day and that it was just going to get worse the farther we went. Being of sound mind Jacob chose to retreat. We then retraced our steps and took the road to the gauging station of Opaeula Stream where we ate our lunch. The Opaeula hike was written up in November, we continued upstream to another large pool but decided not to swim. The water was flowing well but very brown. We returned via the climb up to the large grassy plateau but no helicopters were there today. There were however, the tracks & sounds of a dirt bike ahead of us. At 1pm we arrived back at camp. Everyone else had gone to Kawainui so we had the place to ourselves. I stretched out in the hammock and Jacob read his Anamorphs book. At about 3:45 Kim returned from Pe'ahinai'a and I took off for Kawai Iki, telling Jacob I'd be back by 6pm. This hike was also written about in November. Greg had recently asked if I preferred hiking alone, I have to say the answer is - sometimes definitely YES! The late afternoon sun made this hike incredibly beautiful. The only sounds were of the forest and the stream rushing by as I contoured high above it (compared to the sounds of dirt bikes and the three stooges traveling with a large band of monkeys I experiences earlier in the day). The water was flowing very swiftly with the overflow from the trestles making a small waterfall on each side. At the dam I turned back and reached camp at 5:50 where Kim, Judy & Lester had steaks on the barbecue, while Jacob helped Bill's son Willy gather firewood. At this point I was feeling a little sorry for Jacob. Even though this was a car camping trip I packed ultra-light backpacking style with little luxury and food to match (one of my goals is to do some multiday backpacking adventures in the wilds of Oahu and I view every campout as practice). Believe it or not steak is not my favorite food, but how would Jacob handle our Spartan campstyle surrounded by this decadence? I soon learned that Jacob had arranged to share in the steak and I must admit I had more than one piece of custard pie and some fresh green salad provided by Lester. I also sampled some chestnuts roasted on an open fire provide by Greg. Thanks for the treats from this very generous group. Falling asleep in my hammock gazing at the multitude of stars set in a clear jet black sky was a perfect end to relaxing day in the Koolau foothills.

Sunday morning Jacob & I packed up & drove to the parking area for the Kawainui trail, starting the road walk at about 8:30. Again this trail had a write up in November. The day before the others had turned back after the first stream crossing because of high water. Today Jacob & I had no problem and after the ten stream crossings we could see that the level at the big pool dropped about a foot from the day before. We stopped here for snacks and to take pictures, but again did not swim because of the chocolate color of the water (this reminded me of Willy Wonka and I kept my eye out for Umpa Lumpas). On the way out we saw Pat coming in. Jacob had developed blisters on the backs of his heels and despite the immediate application of mole skin his pace was slowed considerably. On the road we passed several 4wd vehicles parked on the bridge playing loud music, eating and enjoying the outdoors in their own style. They asked me how the road was ahead, I told them we had hiked the trail just a short distance away so didn't know. As we climbed out of the gulch we watched them climb on the opposite side with some difficulty. As we continued our climb we had to move aside as 5 or 6 dune buggies roared past. We reached our van at about 1pm. Jacob & I then drove straight to Wendy's (thinking about the reward of a Western Steakhouse burger and Frosty are what propelled Jacob on uncomplainingly despite his blisters).


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