Took it relatively easy this week after last Saturday's okole-kicking Kipapa/KST/Schofield odyssey.
Drove up Aiea Heights Drive after work to do the Aiea Loop Trail. Instead of the usual start-at-the-top launch, I began at the lower point of the loop. A large clutch of cats scrambled up the hillside by my vehicle as if expecting to be fed. When they saw I had no grub to offer them, off into the bushes they dashed. Began hiking at 4:15 and saw six people on the trail, all coming down the trail as I was going up. The trail was muddy (when isn't it?) but I made it around without flopping, always a cause for rejoicing.
I'm teaching in a program called Upward Bound at LCC this summer and the 50 high school kids in UB had a scheduled science field trip to Hanauma Bay. I volunteered to tag along as a chaperone and to assist the science teachers. I also used the opportunity to do some hiking. I parked my car at the Koko Head rifle range, crossed Kalanianaole, and trekked the half-mile to Hanauma along the ancient pahoehoe flows below the road. The ocean was rougher than usual, with breakers sending huge walls of water skyward after slamming into shoreline rocks.
Eventually, I followed a trail that led to the famous "toilet bowl," usually frequented by bay visitors who hike to the spot along a rocky shelf on Hanauma's Waimanalo (north) side. However, not a soul was at the bowl when I arrived because, as I'd find out later, lifeguards had set up a barrier to prevent anyone from walking along the shelf since waves made traversing it dangerous. I ended up hiking along the upper rim, meeting the UB group at the parking lot, and spending several hours snorkeling with the kids and checking out the tons of fish in the Bay. Good fun!
Joined Pete Caldwell, Gene Robinson, and Pat Rorie for a hike into Waikane Valley on the windward side. Pete and I met at 7:30 and hiked up Waikane Valley Road. Gene and Pat, because of other commitments, would be arriving later and would catch up with us.
The road forks after a quarter mile, and we veered right, passing a gate with a sign that pointed out an array of prohibited activities--except for hiking!! Pete noted that omission and on we went. During the hour walk up the road, we passed a handful of rusted abandoned vehicles, several signs warning of the danger of unexploded military munitions in the area, a hunting dog chasing a pig, many massive white-trunked albizias, fruit-swollen mountain apple trees, plenty of gooey mudholes, and the remains of a place called Waikane Camp. The road ends at an intake of the Waiahole Ditch. Another intake is situated at the end of a short side road (this road is on the left about an eighth of a mile before the end of Waikane Valley Road). Gene had joined Pete and I by this time.
The ditch trail ascends the hillside just before the intake and contours in and out of several ravines, eventually reaching the saddle that sits between Waikane and Kahana Valleys. By the look of it, the graded, sometimes cobbled trail is seldom used and is badly eroded in spots and littered with fallen trees and branches. From the intake, the climb to the saddle took us about 45 minutes. We had nice views down into Waikane and Kahana, mauka to the Koolau Summit, and makai to Ohulehule. Pete snapped some photos.
From the saddle, we had the option of <1> heading mauka on the Waikane Trail to the summit crest (Patrick and his buddy Laredo did this about two months ago, taking three hours [because of thick foliage and many landslides) to negotiate the mile or so to the summit); <2> heading down into Kahana Valley on a continuation of the ditch trail; or <3> returning the way we had come.
Pete, Gene, and I tried <1>, retreating at the first wall of uluhe we encountered (too many bad memories from last week), and <2>, backtracking after about ten minutes (didn't want to descend into Kahana), and finally opted for <3>. While heading back, we encountered Patrick, who had ridden his mountain bike most of the way up the road before a mechanical problem forced him to dismount.
We did some exploring on the way back and I even took a quick dip in the gushing waters of the Waiahole Ditch (cold but refreshing). We even talked about organizing a future hike along the length of the ditch trail from Waiahole to Kahana.
We were back at our cars by 1:30 and since the day was young, Pat talked about possibly checking out a couple trails on the windward side (Pu'u Piei, for one).
Joined the HTMC trail maintenance gang for work on the Aiea Ridge trail today. Members on hand were Mabel Kekina, Ken Suzuki, Ralph Valentino, Michael Valentino, Lita Komura, Carole K. Moon, Naomi Nasu, Charlotte Yamane, Thomas Yoza, John Hall and Bill Gorst. A notable no-show was "Psycho" Rorie (was he a victim of Piei?).
Periodic rainshowers and strong winds made for less-than-ideal trail clearing conditions but we managed to open the ridge route in good stead all the way to Pu'u Kawipo'o, the big hill on the ridgeline situated about 45 minutes from the top.
Eight gung-ho local young people, armed with Stuart Ball's book, passed us while we cleared. Their appearance on the trail surprised us because of the adverse weather conditions. Three members of that group went as far as Kawipo'o while the other five stopped an eighth of a mile before that. If anything, they helped stamp down the path, so much so that parts of it look as if a herd of cattle had passed through.
To sum up, I had an interesting, not overly taxing weekend.
The HTM gang has an exploratory outing into Kahana Valley planned for Friday, July 4th. On that same day, Psycho is looking to conquer a hairy Waianae Range ridge that makes reference to being lolo (numb, feeble-minded). On Sunday, 7/6, HTMC will conduct maintenance on the Kuolani-Waianu Trail in Waiahole Valley.
Finally, if any of you hit the trail(s) this weekend, let us hear about it.