From Wed Aug 6 15:25:57 1997 Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 09:47:14 -1000 From: Patrick Rorie Reply-To: To: Subject: Poamoho-KST-Waikane Another Perspective Wing Ng, Dayle Turner and I had a very enjoyable time hiking on Saturday, July 26, 1997. Unfortunately Kurt Heilbron could not join us because he had to work. Met at Toys R' Us at 8 a.m. and took off at 8:12 toward Helemano. Drove down the dirt road past the Dole tourist building with no problem except for dirt which was kicked up by two large pineapple trucks in front of us. Arrived at forest boundary with no sign of bulldozer which had been working on the road filling huge ruts, etc. As we continued up toward Poamoho in my Isuzu Imark the road was muddy from rain the previous day/night which made things slick but we were never in any danger of slidding off the road. Front wheel drive helped. Pulled off into an open dirt area on the right (4.6 mi)(map point B) page 103 in THE HIKERS GUIDE TO O'AHU and parked there. It was a beautiful day with blue skies and lots of sunshine. After final preparations the three of us started down the road at 8:58. Just before I closed the trunk I looked at my flashlight. "Should I take it ?" I asked myself. "Nah. We'll be ok." Descended down the road and then continued as it gradually ascended toward Poamoho. Signed in at the Hunter-Hiker mailbox as Wing and Dayle continued on. Passed the bulldozer on the right which had vastly improved the upper part of the road. This included the filling of a terrible rut notorious for grabbing vehicles and stopping their progress. At 9:30 we reached the Poamoho trail head and without a rest moved forward toward our rondevous with the Ko'olau Summit Trail. I was in front followed by Dayle and Wg brought up the rear. Dayle noted that this first part of the trail was in excellent shape because someone had weedwacked along the wall as it contours. As we continued to wind around the side of the ridge Dayle and I stopped a couple of times to wait for Wing who was pacing himself since we had so far to go. The three of us took a short break once before the place where the trail crosses over from the right side of the ridge to the left and then at the crossover itself. While Dayle and I waited for Wing at the crossover I suggested to Dayle that perhaps we could go down Waikane instead of doubling back like we had originally planned. I had spoken with my hiking partner Laredo earlier that morning and although Laredo couldn't go with us on the hike he offered to pick us up if we ended up on the windward side somewhere. Remembering this I made the suggestion to Dayle who had never been down Waikane before. Dayle thought it was a good idea since we had plenty of time to work with that day. Once Wing joined us we asked for his thoughts. He grunted a little and needed time to mull it over. Continuing on we passed some rutty areas and enjoyed the views toward the Waianae Range and the north shore with Mokuleia standing out. Dayle and I stopped again at the Poamoho camp site to the right of the trail. I proclaimed it the "Poamoho Bed and Breakfast". The abundant blue sky and bright sunshine lit up the area very nicely. Dayle and I looked across the stream and down at Wing as he approached the camp site as we headed up the final stretch of the trail. The Cline memorial came into view shortly thereafter. Just before reaching it I headed left up the KST to find out if the dead pua'a we had encountered with Dr. Pete Caldwell and Laredo on May 26 was still there. Dayle went for the summit. He found my side trip very humorous and busted out laughing as he observed me carefully approaching the spot where the dead beast had been. It was approx. 11 a.m. Much to my relief someone had removed the boar carcass from the middle of the trail. What a horrible job that must have been ! The three of us enjoyed the awesome views of the mountains and undeveloped valleys below. I proclaimed it "The Grand Canyon of Oahu". Dayle lent me his cell-phone and I attempted to call Laredo. He wasn't home so I left a message that I would try back later. Just before we departed the summit for the KST Dayle gave me a role of red ribbon to mark key sections of the leeward side of the trail for a future HTMC "Super" hike and to help some poor disoriented hiker(s). At 11:30 I lead the group from the Poamoho summit down to the KST. Moving south along the KST thru a leeward section we struggled thru clidemia and uluhe overgrowth and deep mud holes. I talked loudly to warn any pua'a in the area that we were approaching and to move away lest there be a confrontation. I even yelled "Sue we" a couple of times but Dayle rebuked me saying "Stop ! Thats a mating call !". After we went to the left around a bend we stopped briefly to gaze down at some small ponds (bog area ?). The region below us was certainly Pig Heaven ! Pressing on we reached the location of the Poamoho Cabin. Only the concrete supports remain. While Dayle and Wing examined the area more carefully I tied ribbon to a tree nearby to mark where the trail continued. As I worked my way along the next stretch I continued to tie ribbon to trees because the trail was rather obscure. I remembered having trouble in this area the first time I encountered it. After descending and switching back the three of us struggled thru more mud. The sound of shoes/boots being lifted out of deep mud holes was unmistakeable. Once we reached the end of the leeward section I stopped marking the route with ribbon. While I was marking the last tree Dayle and I heard grunting and rustling in the vegetation below us. It was pua'a !!! Dayle saw them flee thru the vegetation causing it to move ! It was unfortunate that we did not have Gene Robinson (the pua'a chaser) amongst us to run after them ! Finally we reached the beginning of the long windward section of the KST. Hurray !!! I took photos of Dayle and Wing as they made their way along the wide shelf like contour section. They passed me and moved far ahead as I enjoyed the incredible vistas below. Pu'u Piei was nicely illuminated by the sun. It increased my desire to reach her summit. Moving on the trail became slightly overgrown because of a short wall between the steep windward drop off and the trail itself. Took an excellent photo of Dayle turning right around a bend near a grove of loulu with Chinaman's Hat and Pu'u Ohulehule to the left of his position off in the distance. When I reached the loulu I stopped to examine their unique shape and structure. Next came a land slidy section below massive Pu'u Pauao. As I made my way carefully along this stretch I could see the rest of the trail cut beautifully into the top of the Ko'olau Mountain Range. Spectacular and magnificent only begin to describe the views from this point on the trail ! The clouds remained high overhead as I took more photos of Dayle and Wing ahead of me making their way along the side of the mountain. Several times Dayle stopped briefly and raised his arms in triumph ! About half way thru the landslide section a red tourist helicopter flew right toward me and then veered off just in time. I gave the shaka sign as it approached and passed by. Finally reached a more stable section of the trail and passed thru another loulu grove. It caught my attention because of its length. It went above and below the trail along the side of the mountain for a significant distance. The three of us came together again for a brief rest. We could see both Ohulehule and Olomana. They looked like two giant book-ends or pyramids. When we continued I fell behind again because I wanted to enjoy the incredible surroundings for as long as possible. Kaaawa Valley caught my eye next with its outstanding series of sheer cliffs. Can't wait to hike in there and get a closer look. Just before rounding the final turn toward Schofield Summit I looked back at how far we'd come. I could see the ridge which descends down into Punaluu Valley and to its left massive Pu'u ? still free of clouds followed by the summit of Poamoho as you continue moving left. I examined the steepness of Pu'u Pauao from its summit to Kahana Valley below. I arrived at Schofield Summit at approx. 2:30 and found Dayle sitting down and leaning against the mountain while Wing sat consuming his lunch. I used Dayle's cell-phone again and left a message for Laredo to meet us at the Waikane Valley Road at 6 p.m. Dayle and I put on long pants as the three of us prepared for the descent of Waikane. At 2:50 we departed Schofield Summit. I lead the way followed by Dayle. It was 3:10 as I walked right past the Waikane/KST junction but Dayle noticed the old rusty metal post above us and brought it to my attention. As we began descending Waikane the trail became extremely narrow with steep drop offs to the left. The vegetation masked what was underneath which made things doubly dangerous. At times progress slowed to a crawl as I crouched down. I was beginning to have second thoughts about what we were attempting. I had strong thoughts of turning around and going down Schofield. Whenever I turned around I could see Dayle not far behind hugging the wall ! I observed and passed by or over several mini-land slides and saw a large one coming up. I wasn't afraid so much of the steep drop offs as of the rock/soil underneath might give way at any moment because of the large amound of rain the area had received during the past few months ! The vegetation got so thick that I had to take out my bolo knife and cut thru it to ensure the route that followed was solid. I hated to cut thru the ginger but it was necessary to ensure safe passage. Finally the trail became wider as it curved around a bend in the ridge (phew!). However, the overgrowth was incredible. Cut and pushed thru once again making sure what was underneath was solid. I gave Dayle the ribbon and he marked the way for Wing and any future lunatics that might venture this way in the future. As I continued ram-rodding I saw very little if any indication that Laredo and I had been this way on April 5. Passed an intermittent stream as the trail contoured deep inside the ridge. After coming out I crawled thru a large thicket of vegetation to pass a huge landslide. Ah theres nothing like bonding with nature ! "I wonder if this is where the Boy Scout fell to his death a few years ago ?" I asked myself. Not much further on Dayle and I stopped for a water break. Dayle yelled for Wing as I took a photo of Ohulehule now lit up by the sun. Wing did not respond. Pressing on while Dayle waited for Wing I encountered a section of Ginger plants which dominated about 20 feet of the trail. I cut thru the beginning part but then pushed thru the rest. I hated to do it because it was such a lovely sight with the sun shining on them and they smelled so good ! I put one in my day pack as a souvenir. Used guava trees for stability whenever they were available as I continued to descent toward the saddle. They were like an oasis when it came to having something solid to hold onto. At long last I reached the first massive landslide and climbed up and over it. Dayle arrived a short time later but had trouble negotiating the slide. We decided to do major repairs to the trail at this point while waiting for Wing. Dayle used my bolo knife to cut some brances of a large tree that had fallen over and into the path of the trail. Once we saw Wing approaching Dayle and I continued on down the trail. I was shocked at how much the vegetation had over taken this part of the trail because on February 17 and again with Laredo on April 5 I did some trail clearing and made this first part of the trail fairly decent. Arrived at the true Waikane saddle just before 6 p.m. with Dayle not far behind. Dayle sat down to rest while I went a little further to get an excellent look at Ohulehule which was dead ahead. Came back shortly thereafter and tried to call Laredo but no one answered. Wing joined the two of us and after a short time we headed down the Waiahole ditch trail. It was 6:10. I lead the way and moved ahead of the others ducking under fallen trees and carefully negotiating slippage in the soil and rocks. Once I arrived at a location above the ditch intake I decided to slide down a steep hill rather than continue on the trail which lead to a group of fallen trees. Dayle took a similar route. After we managed to get down safely we sat down on a log not far from the intake. When Wing arrived above us he considered his options and after some delay came down the hill using trees to break his fall. At 6:54 the three of us started down the dirt road toward the Waikane Valley Road. Dayle lead the way as Wing and I stopped periodically to examine the topography which surrouned us. We passed a couple of small but lovely waterfalls. Further on Wing pointed out the possible location of the valley section of the Waikane Trail. We noted the steep sections of the Ohulehule southeast ridge trail and had a discussion about them (Wing had been up there many years ago when the cables were in place). Darkness began to set in as Wing and I made our way along the dirt road past a house on the right and a very muddy section. We took one last look at Pu'u Ohulehule (only her silouette was visible now). Dayle was far ahead and nowhere to be seen at this point. It got so dark toward the end of the dirt road because of the canopy of vegetation that I tried to use my indiglo watch as a flashlight ! The Frank Sinatra song filled my mind "Strangers in the night... do be do be do". In a way Wing and I were strangers in the night at that moment... and we wanted it to stay that way !!! At long last Wing and I reached the gate which blocks vehicular traffic from entering the dirt road. Dayle and his brother drove up just as we entered Waikane Valley Road. It was 8 p.m. The two of us climbed up into the bed of the huge pickup truck and off we went. Dayle gave me a cardboard sign that read "Laredo 6:25". Apparently my hiking partner and good friend had waited for us but when it became apparent that we weren't going to show he took off. Dayle's brother Kale transported us back to Pearl Ridge. We arrived at 8:30 and Wing departed for home while I jumped into Dayle's vehicle for the trip back to Poamoho. Would my car still be there ? We would soon find out. We stopped in Wahiawa to get some gas and then drove down the dirt road we had traversed earlier in the day. After we passed the forest boundary and made our way up the road almost to the location of my car we noticed a group of people to our left surrounding a fire. I speculated that they were Freemen. It was a good thing that I was with Dayle or else they might have stormed his vehicle and torn him to shreds !!! At approx. 9:21 Dayle's jeep pulled up next to my car which appeared to be unharmed. We got out and looked up at the sky. I marveled at how many stars we could see (even the milky way was visible !). After transfering my pack and other personal items from Dayle's vehicle to my car I started my car and headed down the dirt road. Dayle followed me out as we passed the Freemen. They let us go... this time ! When we entered Wahiawa something close to Dayle's heart caused him to pull into Taco Bell. He just couldn't wait any longer ! I continued on down the road and walked into my front door at about 10 p.m. Another fun day of hiking was pau ! Notes: The long windward section of the KST between Poamoho and the Waikane junction easily cracks my top 5 favorite all time hikes/trails. The views are what its all about ! The Waikane Trail used to be one of the best on the island. It is in terrible shape and may be lost if something isn't done soon. There is hope however. The City and County of Honolulu is in the process of purchasing 503 acres in Waikane Valley from Azabu of Japan to establish the Waikane Valley Nature Preserve. Perhaps the trail can be reopened once this transaction becomes official. For Dr. Pete Caldwell and anyone else interested there is a window of opportunity to do Waikane. Dayle marked the route with ribbon and the three of us pushed thru creating a faint trail. The last page of the photo section bottom photo in THE HIKERS GUIDE TO O'AHU shows a group of people on the Waikane Trail. == Paka-lolo