Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 10:42:36 -1000 From: Patrick Rorie (email@example.com> Subject: Pu'u Heleakala... Pau Hana
Unable to recount the last time I had done a Waianae Range/Coast hike, I cranked on down the H-1 to Nanakuli-ville to conquer the prominent peak in that area, Pu'u Heleakala.
After making the wrong turn onto Nanakuli Avenue, I backtracked to Farrington Hwy and made the next right (Haleakala Ave). It had been almost a year since tramping the trail for the first time with Dayle Turner, Gene Robinson, Laredo Murray and Torrey Goodman so I had some difficulty remembering the location of the trailhead. Eventually, I ended up on Mokiawe and parked next to the vacant lot which allows access to the ridge.
At 5:08 p.m. and as quietly as possible, I departed my rent-a-wreck, which fit in perfectly with the surrounding neighborhood, crossed the house lot and ascended the slope to the ridge line over brown lava rock bordered by shin high, scorched, yellow grass. A nice breeze was present with mostly sunny skies.
Ascended gradually along the dry, wide open trail, a stark contrast to the muddy, thick overgrowth of the Ko'olau Summit Trail I had experienced the past Sunday. Visible to the west were Heleakala's sister ridge containing Pu'u O'Hulu Kai and Pu'u O'Hulu Uka and much of the Waianae Coast.
Descended slightly and briefly under a set of power-line poles then the ridge resumed its upward climb with an increase in the angle of ascent. Noticed the doughnut shaped sports facilities of Nanakuli High on the right and a landfill and the Hawaiian Cement buildings to the left of the ridge.
Further up, I chose to scale a rock outcrop rather than contouring around it. As significant altitude was gained, the middle section of Nanakuli Valley came into view as well as the prominent ridges of Kamaileunu and Wing's wonderful Keaau in the distance. Reached the top of a false summit and descended progressively for a short stretch. Once again the ridge ascended and I achieved the Heleakala apex at 6:03 p.m. (approx. elev. 1,900 ft) covered with 5 foot tall trees.
Dead ahead were the white-faced rockfaces of Palikea (lit. "white cliff"), to the left, the round peak of Pu'u Kaua and on the right and down below, the upper portion of Nanakuli Valley. Beyond Heleakala, the ridge dropped steeply to a saddle, rose up to a large pyramidal ridgeface, then swung east where it connected to the Waianae Range, the final ascent being very steep to the Palikea summit. "Did we do that?" I asked myself, referring to the 1997 labor day exploits of Gene, Dayle, Torrey, Laredo and myself (the five of us reached Palikea via Heleakala Ridge on that day).
Relieved myself Grant Tokumi style and covered the waste with leaves and dirt. Enjoyed the marvelous vistas of vast Lualualei Valley and Kamaileunu Ridge featuring the peaks of Kawiwi and noname for about half an hour. Mount Ka'ala and Pu'u Kalena were socked in.
Decided to descend the Lualualei side ridge instead of doubling back the way I came. Noticed a few yellow ribbons tied to flora along the footpath as I moved downward steeply and frequently paused to gaze at the Palikea cliffs and the large blackened pyramidal ridgeface, the entire area victimized by a brush fire a few months ago. Also observed the late afternoon sun shining beautifully on Pu'u O'Hulu Uka.
Methodically scrambled down Heleakala slipping on two occasions due to loose rock and dirt. During the final stretch I passed through burnt territory and carefully climbed over a barbed wire fence.
At approx. 7:15 p.m. I found myself jogging along Lualualei Naval Road, darkness beginning to set in. Studied the rugged, dark brown, sheer, cylindrical cliffs of Heleakala on the left and the various buildings of the Hawaiian Cement complex on the right as I continued running, the latter bringing images of the movie "Robocop" to mind.
Crossed the road and started traveling over a dirt road through a large field toward two water tanks. Ended up at the start of Heleakala Ridge and stopped to study the entire loop that I was close to completing. Commenced climbing up the ridge past a bunker.
Upon arriving at the ridge line, I looked down and spotted my car on Mokiawe directly below. Dogs began to bark as I made my way down to the vacant lot. Entered the vehicle without incident at 7:33 p.m. and took off for home soon after.