OHE July 13, 1998 (b)

Date: Mon, 13 Jul 1998 08:39:32 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Kaipapau Gulch

The HTMC trail clearing yesterday was Kaipapau Gulch, a trail I hadn't hiked before. Wing tried to convince me to join him and Steve Poor for an attempt at Kawiwi, but I declined, having already committed to Kaipapau.

In attendance for trail clearing were Mabel Kekina, Grant Oka, Georgina Oka, Carole Moon, Lynn Agena, Jason Sunada, Pat Rorie, Dusty Klein, Ralph Valentino, Michael Valentino, Thomas Yoza, Nathan Yuen, Bill Gorst, Jay Feldman, Kim Roy, Judy Roy, Alton Arakaki, Kost and Gina Pankiwskyj and Lester Ohara.

The weather started out sunny, turned cold and wet around noontime, and returned to balmy by mid-afternoon. To reach the 100-foot waterfall at the end, Kaipapau Stream must be crossed 20 to 30 times. Actually, pinpointing the exact number of crossings is difficult since there are a bunch of places where one can cross, or continue along the bank, or just walk right in the stream.

One thing I can assert is that the rocks in the stream were slippery than heck. As a result, some members of the gang donned felt-bottomed tabis for better grip on those moss-covered ankle snappers. I wore cleated Nikes, as did Pat, and while I slid more than a few times, I fortunately avoided a big spill and accompanying oweee.

Bill Gorst mentioned that stream hikes like Kaipapau are where injuries are most likely to occur, even moreso than hikes on steep, narrow ridges. After semi-twisting my ankle a few times yesterday on the aforementioned rocks, I can understand Bill's point. Our intrepid leader, Mabel, 70 years young, suffered an ankle turn but was able to walk it off and make it all the way out unassisted. Further testament to the perils of Kaipapau is the story of a woman who broke her ankle during a club hike a few years ago. Like Mabel, she made it out okay.

One of the high points of the day, in addition to the avoidance of serious injury by anyone in the group, was munching on mountain apples. July and August are the prime months for these red, juicy wonders and Kaipapau Gulch is the domain of a ton of healthy trees heavy with them. Another highlight of the outing was a sizable landslide that thundered down on the stream from the cliffs above while we were heading back after lunch. Kim and Judy Roy were among a handful of the gang who witnessed the rock cascade. Fortunately, no one was in the direct path of the slide when it occurred.

For future reference, about 2.5 hours are needed to hike from the trailhead at the end of Kawaipuna Street to the terminal point at the falls. As in any other gulch hike, flash flooding can occur but Kaipapau never gets super narrow like neighboring Maakua, so if high waters do hit, one can seek refuge on high ground to avoid being swept away. Swimming is also possible in several small pools along the stream as well as the plunge pool at the base of the falls at the end. Grant, Mabel, and Bill mentioned that the plunge pool was deeper and double its present size in years past but landslides and/or rocks washing over the falls from upstream have changed its depth and area.

Hiking legend John Hall will lead the club outing on July 26. Feel free to join him and other hikers on that day. You can phone John (377-5442) for info about meeting place and time.


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