OHE July 5, 1999 (KST--Pupukea)

Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 22:18:36 -1000
From: Larry Oswald [Oswald1@sprynet.com]:
Subject: KST--Pupukea to Malaekahana update

July 3rd, 1999

Update on the trail clearing of the Koolau Summit Trail from Pupukea to Malaekahana

At 6:30 am I arrived at the La'ie park to drop off my truck and met Mike Algiers, Gina, and Kost. Five minutes Kris showed up and Mike, Kris and myself all left for the Pupukea boy scout camp. Gina and Kost announced that they were going to clear from the Malaekahana trail towards Pupukea. At 7:10 we reached the boy scout camp and found Steve Poor waiting for us.

At 7:20 the four of us headed toward the KST with 3 pairs of loppers, one machete and one chain saw - destination - La'ie. The morning was a picture perfect, no-cloud-in-the-sky bird chirping, dewy damp refreshing start of another beautiful day in paradise. We hoofed it up the 2.5 miles of jeep road and reached the trailhead of the KST at approximately 8:10.

Trail ribbons from last year were still visible and the grass and weeds in the trail were waist high and still slightly damp. Much of the trail to the lookout was becoming overgrown with grass, uluhe and the ever-narrowing strawberry guava thickets. Kris, Mike and Steve all reached the lookout at about 9:00 while I snuck ahead on the relatively uncleared KST loop that bypasses the lookout. I encountered many spider webs, shin-deep mud bogs, and narrow areas through 20' tall strawberry guava (my enemy). Upon locating the next rest spot, I set my pack down and marveled at the spectacular view of the ocean, Kahuku aquaculture ponds, Turtle Bay Hilton, La'ie point, and white surf rimming the offshore islets.

I began tying trail marking ribbons to indicate the end of the Sunday (7/11/99) Pupukea hike as Steve, Kris and Mike all caught up. Steve remarked that this was 3 hours from boy scout camp and certainly long enough for an intermediate HTM hike. Steve took off ahead and I never saw him again. 15 minutes later, at approximately 10:20 we reached the end of the improved trail and what a bummer it was. The lovely meandering trail with breathtaking views of the Laie coast and Pacific ocean took a turn towards the leeward side, into 20 foot tall strawberry guava and abruptly ended in a jumbled tangle of healthy alien trees. The only passage available was via crawling on your hands and knees in mud. This was where the work began.

I took a GPS reading which indicated that we had .8 miles to go (as the bird flies) before reaching the Malaekahana trail. I fired up my chain saw and started murdering strawberry guava trees with a vengeance. . Behind me, Mike and Kris detailed the trail by laying a bed of guava logs and covering with uluhe. What an improvement! Four hours and 3 tanks of gas later, I took another GPS reading and learned that we had only advanced .4 miles and still had .4 miles to go, UGH. At 2:00 we ate lunch and discussed our options. We saw Gina and Kost descending down the Malaekahana ridge a quarter mile ahead and remarked on how quickly they ambled down the steep sections. Our only viable plan, due to the lack of time remaining, was to "lower our standards" and clear less and travel more. Steve had lopped some of the worst offending guavas and even left some trail ribbons. Soon we were reduced to "pushing-through" and after traveling for 30 minutes, found the trail nicely cleared by Gina and Kost. We finally reached the Malaekahana trail at 4:00. We put our tools away and started down the trail, nearly out of water. AT 7:15 we reached our trucks and I quickly found the cooler with iced down soda water and iced coffee. I never thought cold soda water could taste so wonderful. It was dark in another 15 minutes.

To make a long story short, the KST from Pupukea to Malaekahana is nicely cleared for about 85% of the way. The worst sections are now detailed and look gorgeous (in comparison). One more trail clearing adventure will finally open this outstanding piece of KST for all to enjoy. Tentatively, July 17th 1999 (Saturday), will be the day and anyone wishing to participate may meet at the boy scout camp at 0700 hours.

Larry Oswald

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