OHE January 31, 1999 (wailupe gulch)

Date: Sun, 31 Jan 1999 18:31:17 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Wailupe with the HTMC

Stuart Ball and Mike Algiers were co-coordinators for today's HTMC hike that traversed Wailupe Gulch, and despite rainy & windy conditions, over two dozen hikers were on hand to participate.

We gathered at the end of Hao Street in Wailupe Valley, and I spent some time before the hike chatting with acquaintances Naomi Nasu, Richard McMahon, and Wing Ng. After a briefing by Mike, we hit the trail at 8:40. Because of the wet conditions, I knew the upper section of the route would be muddy and the tramping of a couple dozen hikers would make a profound impact on the environment. With that in mind, I decided staying at the front of the pack would make the going less messy, easier, and safer.

As they usually do on club hikes, speedsters Peter Kempf, Evelia Torres, Nigel Robertson, and Steve Haus bolted to the lead. While I knew I couldn't match their pace over the long haul, I figured if I kept up with them for a while, I'd put some distance between myself and the rest of the mud-making pack.

Kirby Young described the route in a post he submitted to the list on 1/12, so those interested can refer to his post at


for more details.

My plan to stay with the speed hikers part-way worked out well, for after 30 minutes we had chugged our way a good distance up the middle ridge of Wailupe Valley and distanced ourselves from the masses behind us. Just as I anticipated, the speedsters--save for Nigel, who was slowed by a cold-- pulled away and moved out of view at about the 40 minute mark. Meanwhile, I never saw another club hiker for the rest of the hike.

On the way up the middle ridge, the sound of a pack of wildly barking dogs echoed from the gulch to the right. These were the animals of pig hunters, no doubt, but I thought it strange that no hunters' trucks were parked at the end of Hao Street when we shoved off. I later found out from a resident of Hao Street that there is another access point into the valley from the end of Hind Iuka Drive, so perhaps that is where the hunters went in.

Aside from the sound of the dogs, the hike wasn't anything extraordinary. In fact, it was a grind-it-out conditioning outing and nothing I'd characterize as breathtaking, beautiful, or memorable. Grunting and panting all the while, I reached the wind-whipped, clouded-out summit at 10:25 and after crossing along the Koolau summit crest reached the terminus of Wiliwilinui at 10:45. The Wiliwilinui summit clearing was cold and view-deprived, so I paused not a second there and began the descent of the wide-open Wiliwilinui trail.

My cleated football shoes worked beautifully on the slippery slopes, and I moved efficiently on the way down. By 11:30, I was at the junction where I left Wiliwilinui ridge and descended a steep route thru guava down to Wailupe Gulch. Near the bottom of the steep descent, I caught up with Nigel, and together we reached Hao Street at 12:15. The hike, billed as a 6-mile loop, had taken us a little over 3.5 hours, by far a personal best for me for the loop.

As a side note, I have little doubt that the upper section of the route is a big mud slick as a result of today's outing--it was pretty chopped up with just the speed hiking foursome ahead of me. Hopefully, all made it out okay and hopefully our impact on the mountain wasn't too severe. Also worthy of mention is the HTMC trail clearing gang, who did nice work opening up the route. The work of the gang, plus the impact of today's hike, will surely keep the route hikeable for months to come.

After the hike, I had a nice conversation with a guy who lives in a house near the end of Hao. Curious about where we'd hiked and what we'd seen, he came over and asked questions about our route, about pig sightings, and about the general lay of the land in the upper valley. "I've never really explored back there even though I've lived here over fifteen years," said the resident. I encouraged him to hike the trail we'd taken, and he said he'd give it a try.

For those of you on the list who haven't hiked the Wailupe Loop, I encourage you to also try it out.


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