OHE June 1, 1998

Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 08:51:40 -1000
From: Nathan Yuen (nyuen@lava.net>
Subject: The Realm of Kamapuaa 

(a copy of this has been posted to the newsgroup "soc.culture.hawaii")

Went on a great hike with the trail-clearing crew of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club to Kaluanui Valley, where Kaliuwaa (Sacred Falls) resides. Sacred Falls is so named because Kaluanui Valley is sacred according to the tales of old Hawaii. Kamapuaa, the man-beast demigod, lived in this valley in the Koolauloa district of Oahu, where he performed countless feats of supernatural daring.

Choosing a more challenging hike than the regular Sacred Falls Trail, we veered-off to the right--opposite the direction where the sign points to the start of the ordinary trail--and began a steep relentless climb straight up to Waiahilahila, a rock formation more than a thousand feet up otherwise known as "the nipple" on the ridge forming the right-sde of Kaluanui Valley. After scaling the formation and admiring the incredible commanding view of the beaches of Punaluu and Hauula, we hiked up along the ridge towards the back of the valley. From this vantage point we could see deep into Kaluanui Valley and saw Kaliuwaa way off in the distance! What an incredible sight!

As we progressed further up back along the ridgeline, dark ominous clouds swirled-about the Koolau Summit ridge and began to descent upon us. As we made our way higher and higher into the mountains, natives plants became increasingly more frequent. Several magnificent ohia trees were in full bloom--we saw rare yellow and orange blossoms as well as the more common red variety. On several maile vines which were quite common along the ridge, we noticed tiny unusual black fruit which are strangely reminiscent of olives. I also saw several tasty ohelu berries which I eagerly plopped into my mouth.

The highlight for me was when we reached the top and crossed-over into the upper-reaches of Kaluanui Valley far above Kaliuwaa. An eerie mist had enveloped the beautiful landscape evoking a dream-like experience. Amongst the native vegetation we saw rare lobelias with their magnificent crown of leaves, naupaka kuahiwi with their characteristic half-flowers--some white in color while others were yellow and purple. We also saw akia whose roots and bark were pounded into a pulp by the Hawaiians and applied in tide pools as an anaesthesic to stun the fish, making them easy to catch.

It was particularly stunning when we found ourselves overlooking the upper-reaches of Kaluanui Stream. Through the mists we could see the stream meander through a field of basaltic boulders splattered with patches of white lichen on the valley floor below. Descending the ridge to we reach the valley floor, we forded the cold clear waters of Kaluanui Stream. As I made my way across the stream, I could not help but recall the stories of Kamapuaa and his feats of daring in defiance of the ruler of Oahu at the time, Chief Olopana.

As we began the long trek back to our cars, I was pleased that we can come all this way to see the beautiful upper-reaches of Kaluanui Valley, the legendary realm of Kamapuaa.

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