OHE July 23, 1999 (Koloa-Kaipapau)

Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 11:52:48 -1000
From: JFEL873@aol.com (Jay Feldman)
Subject: WeHot Hike to Koloa Ridge 7/22/99

The WeHots were on parade yesterday in small numbers; Bill Gorst and I. Mabel had serious duties to perform, Charlotte had an appointment with airport destiny (Volker is back!), and no one else seemed interested in Koloa Ridge. However, it was their loss.

Though a muggy morning, the trades were in business and the long drive up the windward coast relaxed us in preparation of our exploration. Parking at Kokololio Park in Hau'ula, Bill and I donned appropriate foot gear and made ready for our sojourn by 9:30. North on the highway 500 yards or so brought us to the road, now signed No Trespassing by Hawaiian Reserve, that leads to the Boy Scout Memorial. Bill thinks Hawaiian Reserve is the local manager for Mormon Church property and claims we have a connection there through Mabel. Hopefully so. We continued blithely past the sign, and walked to the memorial where we paused momentarily, reflecting on the untimely death of young people, brought much into our awareness this past week with the tragic loss of JFK Jr.

However, being too lovely a day and with no desire to brood, we passed by and hiked along the grassy road to the pasture and the start of the spur by the semi-collapsed shed; up over the red dirt hills to the ironwoods. We continued past the Koloa Gulch turndown on the right and followed the open trail leading to the Kaipapa'u cutoff. Passing through an encroaching guava grove, I thought, Sunday's crew might have some work after all. Loppers and saws would be perfect, especially with the christmas berry that awaited.

Though I'd done this hike before I just couldn^t remember what to expect. Soon, however, it all came back to me as we entered the mixed ironwood/guava grove. UP, UP, UP, zigzagging along just to help the legs, heart, and lungs. How could I forget this @#%&*@ challenge? Finally leveling off we reached the left turnoff to Kaipapa'u and in the spirit of adventure we ignored it and continued straight along the ridge looking for a connection that some years ago Bill had explored with Charlotte. Bill mentioned that Dayle and Patrick had also explored this ridge and so when we saw numerous branch cuts I knew we were not trashing a virgin trail.

We were hoping to find an acceptable spur to the parallel ridge to the north but the whole area was so convoluted with small valleys, streamlets, and side ridges that went no where in particular that we could only continue on the ridge we were on. Finally, reaching a spot were someone had lunched, six months or so ago judging by the state of the trash they had left, (why do they do that?), we found a possible cross over. We could have continued up to the summit but past this point the trail was very closed in and neither of us envisioned an afternoon bushwhacking. We sat for lunch and discussed our possibilities and decided to simply return the way we came in.

On the way back, constantly looking over our shoulders, we tried in vain to sight a better crossover, but were confounded by the visual confusion provided by the numerous valleys and ridges. Clearly, next time we would go up the ridge we had wanted to access and try to find a crossover to the ridge we had been on, or just go for the summit and come down.

Half way back we dropped down a trail into a streamlet valley that probably fed Koloa gulch looking for alternative ascents to our desired ridge but only found mosquitoes and mud. Working our way back out and onto the trail we hiked off the ridge and back into the traffic of the highway, and Bill's truck. A quick change and we were on the way home by 3:10. An early but enjoyable day.

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