OHE January 19, 1999 (Kawainui)


Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 15:28:15 -1000
From: Greg Kingsley (gkingsle@hawaii.edu> 
Subject: Kawainui Stream,16JAN99 

On Saturday, 16JAN99, several of the regular HTMC Trail Clearers and a few others gathered for a campout at Palama Uka, far in the lowlands above Haleiwa. Mark recalls the campsite in his recent write-up so I'll just skip to the actual hike.

Not wanting to check out the new/old "fourth" trail (Peahinaia) with the majority (Dayle, Bill, Paka, Kim Roy, and Mark/Jacob), Judy Roy, Lester Ohara, and I headed off to seek the wonderous pool at Kawainui Stream. Since Judy and I had already been there on a previous campout to Palama Uka, we took special pleasure in accompanying Lester on his first time.

For a complete write-up of Kawainui, check out these write-up's:

Dayle's: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~turner/ohe/Nov98/11-11.html
Mine: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~turner/ohe/Nov98/11-14.html

I had noticed that far into the deep, upper valleys of the Kawainui and Kawaiiki Streams, rain clouds had misty-miffed the wealth of greens, but initially I didn't take much concern to it. Unfortunately, as the three of us found out, it doesn't take much for the waters to become too strong for comfort.

After descending the thirty minute trek along the dirt and mud road, we finally hit the trail and began a nice pace. Though the gang had been through the area a little over two months prior, grasses had consumed part of the trail significantly enough to make it disappear from view. Alas, Rule #1: "ALWAYS bring your cutting implements" and soon the trail was back to life.

We became stuck by the fourth stream crossing. The water, which normally extends (at maximum) to just above my knee, was, today, just shy of my waist. Yet, it's not the height of the water which stopped us, but more the current! This day, the water was flowing at a faster rate. Even I, with my large size, was pelted side to side by the snaking water, as I stood there motionless mid-stream. The three of us decided that since we had another six crossings to go at a width equidistant or wider than this one, plus the same ten crossings on the return, we'd just head downstream of the first dam and find a swimming hole. The trail back from the first dam to the trailhead bypasses a portion of the Kawainui Stream as it contours about 300 feet above it, then over a ridge finger, and back down to the road.

We made it back to the first dam and that's when I began to notice how much more water there was. Near that dam is a flume, which gulps down the majority of Kawainui water into the network of ditches headed for the former sugar cane plantation lands. The flow was so great that the surplus bypassed the large opening and overflowed the dam. The part of Kawainui Stream which usually is stagnant and quiet was now flowing quite fervently. Downstream of this, a normally inactive ditch (which I had no idea was there the first time around) was gushing water out of the mountainside.

We initially headed down the south side of the stream, occasionally finding a hidden or pig trail. Crossing the stream every so often yielded a better pathway through the brush, but a large clump of thimbleberries caught the better of my unscathed legs. Unfortunately, we couldn't find a "nice" swimming hole that was either clear enough when quiet or calm enough when crystalline. We had a short break in a wide-open area inhabited by moss-covered rocks and ginger roots. Yet, the mosquitoes soon chased us out until we found two trail markers which lead us back to the main trail. From there, we ducked out, dashed the first stream crossing and returned to the trailhead. At one of the road crossings (near the trailhead), the water, normally nowhere near the level of the road, was just about to spill over, while at the other "bridge" crossed over a gush of white-water. It truly was the water's torrid day.

Without a nice swim to stash into our memories, we headed back, diverting long enough to check out a great campsite near the Kawaiiki Stream. Yet, the perfect weather/temperature conditions and the trek in nature was enough to make our day.

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