OHE January 4, 1999 (Pahole Forest)

Date: Mon, 4 Jan 1999 17:27:20 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Peacock Flats to Mount Kaala Lookout Exploration

Opted to join Steve Poor yesterday (Sunday, January 3rd) to finalize the route and do some clearing of his upcoming HTM "Peacock Flats to Mount Kaala Lookout" club hike scheduled for early March rather than participate in the HTM Kamaileunu hike or the Pauoa Woods trail maintenance event.

Met Steve on Farrington Hwy in front of Waialua High at 8:30 a.m. where we car pooled in his vehicle (1983 Mazda station wagon approaching the 200,000 mile mark) to a paved road which borders Dillingham Ranch and goes all the way up to a U.S. military reservation. Turned left onto the road from Farrington and drove until reaching a gate which blocked further vehicular progress.

Continued on foot at 9 a.m. ascending gradually as the thoroughfare bent toward an unnamed valley. At 9:35 a.m. Steve and I reached the base of the middle ridge of the valley then departed the road and entered a sizeable Kukui forest following an intermittent stream leading to a gully. I tied ribbon to various trees periodically as Steve tramped ahead of me.

Upon arriving at a spot where the stream was clogged with tree limbs, the two of us ascended steeply to the crest of the middle ridge using pig trails. After a water break, Steve and I kept ascending along the ridge line but this time more gradually passing under a barbed wire fence and entering the Pahole Natural Area Reserve, native dryland forest vegetation began to predominate.

Reached the topping out point of the ridge and turned right, descending briefly on a trail. Saw/heard two pua'a as we ascended to a junction with the Mokuleia Trail where we stopped for another rest at 11:30 a.m. Pressing on, Steve and I continued up the ridge instead of going on the graded contour Mokuleia Trail, clearing and tying ribbon to mark the route.

Eventually gained a peak with a nice lookout of Mount Kaala, the ridge containing the Dupont Trail, and Kamananui Valley. We could even see vehicular traffic on the Mount Kaala Road. Steve asked me if we should extend the hike to a peak overlooking Makua Valley and I insisted.

We dropped down briefly then climbed to gain another pu'u at a junction with the Makua Rim Trail (elev. 2,590 ft) at approx. 12:30 p.m. The clearing at the top of the unnamed peak featured both the Mount Ka'ala lookout and an overlook of Makua Valley. The Ohikilolo pyramid, the imposing flanks of Ohikilolo Ridge, the Waianae ridge containing the Waianae-Kaala Trail, and Kamaileunu Ridge were also visible. Unfortunately, the damn fence which all but surrounds Makua Valley is but a few feet away (the same fence that ruined the Ohikilolo Trail).

Steve and I discussed possible future options for his new trail including a loop along the Makua Rim Trail to the Mokuleia Trail as long as the hikers don't miss the junction or extending the hike to include the section of the Makua Rim Trail which goes to the Mount Kaala Road (elev. 2,888 ft). The two of us sat down to eat lunch and enjoy the views until 1 p.m.

During the return leg we did quite a bit of clearing and extra marking. I scored a boar jaw just before the descent to the intermittent stream (actually, Steve found it and gave it to me). Completed the steep descent without incident, retraced our steps thru the gully, onto the road and back to Steve's Mazda.

When Steve stopped to drop me off at the Pat-mobile, I noticed that one of the rear tires was flat as a pancake (as a result of driving thru the corn field the day before?)! Although pressed for time, Steve helped me replace the flat tire with the spare. A big mahalo to him for his sacrifice. He took off for his home in Pupukea at 4:30 p.m. as I put the tools away.

With ample time remaining in the day, I headed for Schofield Barracks to do another hike. Passed thru unmanned Foote Gate and proceeded to Kolekole pass rock dirt parking area (elev. 1,724 ft).

At 5:02 p.m. I continued on foot up a dirt road which leads to the former location of the huge white cross. Ascended steeply over an eroded crumbly region gaining the ridge crest at a rocky outcrop with a benchmark in twenty minutes.

Excellent vistas were mine across Kolekole Pass of the white, rugged, sheer, fluted cliffs of the Waianae Range below Pu'u Hapapa (elev. 2,883 ft), vast Lualualei Valley, Palikea Peak (elev. 3,098 ft), the ridge stretching oceanward from Palikea connecting to Pu'u Heleakala (elev. 1,890 ft) and Pu'u Kailio (elev. 1,965 ft) almost directly below on the Lualualei side.

With the sunset less than an hour away I kept moving, along a momentary level stretch followed by a steep climb over rock. Experienced the thrill of getting there as I ascended gradually over the famous Kalena narrow rock dike (see page four top photo of photo section in Ball's "Hiker's Guide").

Arrived at the top of Pu'u Ku Makalii (elev. 2,572 ft) at 5:35 p.m. and sat down to take in the sights. I could see part of Diamond Head and Waikiki far in the distance along with Tripler Hospital and Pearl Harbor. The peaks Kanehoa and Kaua also caught my attention.

It got a little nippy so I started the return leg at 6 p.m. a few minutes prior to sunset. Took a leisurely pace gazing at the pink clouds above the Wahiawa Plain and the Wahiawa and Mililani lights during the descent of the steep eroded slope.

Approached the Pat-mobile at 6:30 p.m.

Notes: "The Peacock Flats to Mount Kaala Lookout" intermediate hike will be a nice addition to the HTM schedule. Its slated to take place on March 7th and is open to the public.

== Paka

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