OHE January 19, 1999 (Lanihuli shortcut)

Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 14:43:42 -1000
From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>
Subject: lanihuli "shortcut"/OHE-L

I found myself unexpectedly free yesterday, and managed to make good use of my time. Four of us botanically-inclined hikers used the Monday holiday to take the "shortcut" to Lanihuli that a friend and I found almost a year-and-a-half ago. I was anxious to revisit that route before all traces of our earlier passages had disappeared.

The hike is extremely varied, starting in dense, dark non-native forest, continuing up a gentle ridge covered in guava and studded with huge banyans, and winding up in native ohia/koa/uluhe forest before the junction with the Lanihuli Trail. The spur gets narrow in spots, and pretty steep at times, but it is not dangerous as these things go. BTW, I don't really claim that it's shorter in time than the Alewa Heights route; it might take a little longer. It's probably more interesting, though, because of the changes in scenery and the whole-body workout it offers.

We entered the forest in upper Nuuanu, followed the old ditch, and then made our way up onto the ridge separating Mo'ole Stream from the Pali Highway, down the spine of that ridge almost to its foot, close to Pali Highway, where we dropped off the ridge, crossed Mo'ole Stream, and proceeded up what is probably the only reasonable spur in the vicinity by which to gain access to the main ridge heading up to Lanihuli. The route is kind of circuitous, but it's hard to be more direct because of the confusing terrain, the hau tangles, etc. As a wise friend once told me, "The shortest way is the one you know."

We joined the Lanihuli Trail about a quarter mile shy of the 2160' mark on the topo and then proceeded up to that mark or just beyond, where there's a nice lunch spot with views out to the Windward side through the gap between Lanihuli and Kahuauli (i.e., the Likelike Pass). After eating we continued another fifteen minutes or so to the narrow dike just before the steeper ascent of Lanihuli begins. One of our party went across and made use of the aids provided by Dayle, Pat, and Charlotte (see Dayle's writeup of 11-1-98). That spot looked a lot safer than when we crossed it a year-and-a-half ago. Many thanks for the improvements. Because the summit was socked in and (more importantly) because we were out of time, we turned around at that point and enjoyed the descent of about 1000' down the spur.

I haven't even tried to give clear directions because I don't think I could. Finding the right spur to ascend is very tricky, though we marked our way much better this time. Some of you might be interested, though, in using this as part of a loop. You could ascend from Kam Schools or Alewa Heights and descend this spur into Nu'uanu, assuming that you'd planted a vehicle in the right place. Or you could just go up and down the way we did. If anyone wants to try this, ask me via direct email for better directions; I'll be glad to give it a try if you're already familiar with the area.


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