OHE January 7, 1999 (Hawaii Loa)

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 13:51:02 -1000
From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>
Subject: hawaii loa ridge/ohe-l

The Hawai'i Loa Ridge Trail has been mentioned a couple of times recently. I'd avoided it, perhaps because I'd heard about the erosion near the top. Maybe it seemed a little too popular, too.

I wound up doing the trail twice in two days, though, over the holidays, and was extremely happy to have finally checked it out. Yes, the erosion is terrible and the steps, while they're necessary for safety, are incompatible with any sense of wilderness. Descending the top portion in a light rain was pretty harrowing for my partners (naturally, it began to rain precisely when we arrived at the summit!).

The great find for me was the upper ridge before the final ascent where there's about a half-mile of enchantingly varied native forest. This area is only about an hour from the trailhead and the trail up to that point is pretty easy, so it's a great way to show hikers of almost any ability a wide array of native plants. When you finally pop out of the endless guava forest, Wow!


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