OHE January 31, 1999 ('akala holoholo)

Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 15:54:31 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: 'Akala Holoholo

On Feb 27, HTMC president Grant Oka will lead a members-only hike dubbed 'Akala Holoholo. Because of liability and access concerns, the name of the trail to be hiked cannot be directly stated. That's a sad state of things, I think, when a not-for-profit, local hiking club is in a situation where it has to resort to subterfuge in order to head into the hills. As we're well aware, we live in a litigious world--one where I may soon have to resort to having my students sign waivers of liability so that they won't sue me because the chalk dust from my blackboard notes created a debilitating allergic reaction. What are we coming to?

And what does this have to do with OHE-L? Well, a bunch of us turned out yesterday to do maintenance work on the 'Akala Holoholo route. And I'm sure that most folks on the list will be able to figure out the trail that we worked on, but no one will read the trail's name anywhere in this post because of the aforementioned legal worries. Okay, enough of that issue for now.

Twenty-one of us were on hand yesterday, including Mabel Kekina, Bill Gorst, Jay Feldman, Jason Sunada, Nathan Yuen, Ken Suzuki, Carole K. Moon, June Miyasato, Kris Corliss, Larry Oswald, Thomas Yoza, Jim Pushaw, Charlotte Yamane, Volker Hildebrandt, Lynn Agena, Deetsie Chave, Ellyn Tong, Georgina Oka, two newcomers whose names I didn't catch, and I.

We met in Waialua at the flashing light junction, and thanks to an HTMC member who owns a ranch in the area, we were granted access to a well known but little-used trail. We started off on the ranch property and made our way through a gulch via a rutty jeep road and cattle paths. After about ten minutes of this, we left the gulch and ascended to a broad ridge where we picked up a well-defined jeep road and followed it mauka for about ten minutes until it turned into a trail. From this ridgetop vantage point, we had nice views of the Waialua and Haleiwa area and mauka to Mount Ka'ala, the highest point on the island.

The day was a warm one out Waialua way, and many of us were lugging extra water, no doubt in part due to the dehydration mishap suffered by club member Arnold Fujioka a couple weeks ago on Ohikilolo. I, for example, hauled seven liters; Nathan Yuen also carried that much. As it turned out, I ended up needing only three, but we agreed it was safer to carry extra H20 just in case even though the added load made the climbing more taxing.

And we did plenty of climbing, gaining close to 4,000 feet of elevation from start point to summit. And there wasn't a great deal of clearing needed for the route, which featured sections of dry pasture land, dryland forest, and rain forest.

From the two-thirds point to the summit, the route also included many rope sections, some helpful and necessary, some helpful but not necessary, and some just plain not necessary. There was an invigorating dike section rendered a bit more challenging on the homeward leg as a consequence of a passing rain shower that made the going slick.

Of the 21 in our group, 19 reached the summit. Of the summiters, some visited the Kaala boardwalk, some went on to the Golf Ball lunchspot, and some opted to tag the road and go no further. I was among the latter group, and I ate lunch at a clearing just above the bus stop shelter on the ridge (yes, there is such a shelter). When the clouds weren't obscuring views, we could see the spectacular profile of the Keaau Ridge that leads to Ohikilolo. Steep gulches left and right of the ridge we were on were also magnificent. Especially prominent was an undulating band of rock on the facing slope of the gulch on the Waianae side of our ridge.

As might be expected, the five-mile return leg went much quicker and with less pain than the ascent leg. Jay, Bill, Nathan, and Volker flew down the mountain while the rest of us hung back to do some additional clearing, put up some ribbons, and enjoy the views.

Hopefully, we'll be able to hike the route in the years ahead. And hopefully, we'll be able to do so without having to resort to Name-that-trail hocus pocus.

--DKT


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