OHE January 9, 1999 (Mauna Kuwale)

Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 22:02:18 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: Mauna Kuwale

I was going to _finally_ do Kawiwi with Steve Poor and Dave Webb, but Steve informed me that Dave could not come, and he wants the company of an "experience climber" like Dave.

So off to a short and sweet hike we went. We drove to the end of Puhawai Road and parked and headed straight up the ridge, going towards a prominent power-line pole on top.

We gained the ridge top and proceed upwards mauka. There is an interesting bunker on the left, and Steve took a picture of me sitting on top with feet dangling about to fall off.

We gained the high point and proceeded down to a nice flat wide plateau, which looks like would be an ideal site for a vacation home.

The descent from the plateau turned out to be exceedingly interesting. The rocks are steep and severely eroded, with pukas in them. Steve claims that this area used to be under water, and I added the conclusion that the strange appearance of the rocks is a result of ocean erosion.

At one point there is a chimney with a rock stuck on top, i.e. a natural tunnel. I took a picture of Steve going precariously down that chimney/tunnel hanging on for dear life.

When we were done and looked back, we would say "no way we can do this thing".

The ridge goes all the way down to the level of the surrounding plains. I then surmised that this whole thing Mauna Kuwale used to be an island in the ocean.

We could have picked up the ridge on the other side and in principle continue all the way to Kalena, but we both declined. Instead Steve exercised his strange route-finding intuition and turned right, and followed a faith contour path that is about half-way up the ridge back towards the car.

Amazingly, it goes on and on. We passed an ominous looking cave with strange sounds coming out of it, in fact, sounds like people were having sex! We decided to explore with trepidation, as, who knows, it _is_ Hawaiian custom to bury the dead in caves. Steve concluded it was the birds. In fact there are several hanging around, and near the cave the ground is several inches deep in "guano".

We departed the sexually crazed birds and continued the contour and actually joined the path we started with, and then we descended to the car with no problem.

Seems like a nice short Saturday hike. Surprising excitement for a peak merely 800 feet high.


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