OHE June 28, 1998

Date: Sun, 28 Jun 1998 19:49:29 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Laie maintenance outing

Steve Poor will lead the HTMC hike up the Laie trail in a few weeks and in preparation for that outing a bunch of us did some maintenance work on the route today under gray, cloudy skies.

In addition to Steve and I, in attendance were Mabel Kekina, Grant Oka, Georgina Oka, Bill Gorst, John Hall, Kost Pankiwskyj, his wife Gina, Kris Corliss, Larry Oswald, Nathan Yuen, Jay Feldman, Judy Roy, Kim Roy, Carole K. Moon, Lita Komura, June Miyasato, Lynn Agena, and Lester Ohara.

Laie seems to be getting a decent amount of hiker traffic evidenced by the relatively open condition of the trail. No work is needed from the trailhead to the Norfolk pine grove since almost all of that section is either a jeep road or eroded hills.

Beyond the pines is a 20-30 minute section of guava that needed a bit of attention but nothing strenuous or time consuming. The bulk of the group yanked machetes from sheaths at the junction with the trail that heads right down to the stream and from the there the major work began.

As it turned out, the uluhe and clidemia growth wasn't overly troublesome and by 12:15 a handful of us had pushed through to the summit where we ate lunch while chilled by 20-25 mph wind gusts. Someone had left a used space blanket in the foxhole and we also discovered several bottles of water in the bushes nearby. Clouds enveloped the crest, making for inhospitable kick-back conditions, and by 12:45 the summit gang had left the top and were headed back down.

We did more chopping on the homeward leg, dancing through mud holes called "the worst I've hiked in for awhile" by veteran trail tramper Bill Gorst. Yup, it was muddy but the brown ooze wasn't bad, at least compared to the muck on the KST, and, from what I understand, on Pu'u Ohulehule for today's HTMC members-only hike. I'll make mention of the latter outing in a bit.

On the way down Laie, I took the side trail down to the stream. I've done Laie at least a half dozen times before but never have tried this interlude, thinking it was akin to the Malaekahana guava-tree-jungle-gym scramble to the stream. As it turned out, the trip to the stream was only five minutes and the falls were going off with a strong surge as a consequence of recent rain showers. I'd have hopped in the pool at the base of the falls if it were sunny but the skies were gray and a light drizzle was falling so a swim there will have to take place another time.

About 10 minutes below the pine grove I noticed a new pair of orange ribbons marking a trail on the left. What's more, someone had made an arrow with sticks, affixed an orange ribbon to the arrow, and left a note under the arrow. The note read: "Trail clearing crew--follow the orange ribbons."

An obedient slave, I did as the note instructed, following a distinct trail that initially veered off to the left and then paralleled Laie makai on an adjacent ridge.

As it turned out, Mabel and Lester had scouted out this diversion earlier in the day and thought the rest of us would enjoy a different concluding descent trail than the jeep road route we had climbed earlier. The note, arrow, and orange ribbons were theirs.

And although more time-consuming and rollercoaster-ish than the last part of Laie, Mabel and Lester's way was certainly more interesting, definitely a trail as opposed to a dirt road, and even took us past a clearing in an ironwood grove where someone, most likely Boy Scouts, had built a good-sized A-Frame shelter from ironwood branches.

During our post-clearing refreshment gathering, Ken Suzuki arrived in his vehicle from Kahana Valley where he had assisted Mike Mottl on the club hike up Pu'u Ohulehule. We were anxious to receive word about the outing, especially in light of the recent Jack and Jill helicopter rescue and also given today's less than ideal weather.

Ken informed us that the hike went well and that about 18 folks had summitted the craggy peak despite very muddy conditions. According to Ken, so oozy was it that hike guru Stuart Ball was virtually bathed in brown by outing's end. Ken described the trail up the mountain as "a muddy sliding board."

Wing attended the Ohulehule outing today and hopefully he'll file a report.


Reply from: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>

Saturday had decent weather in the afternoon, but by midnight I took a look and the streets were wet.

I figured I would start 1 hour early in order to gain the top, but since I am fighting off a cold and the weather is not ideal, I'd simply start with the regular hikers.

Yes, the mud is terrible. Worst in the middle section of the ascending ridge, where the trail-clearers put in several ropes. That part took so much energy out of me, that it was almost 1 p.m. when I reached the Saddle, and called it quits.

I think almost everyone else got to the top, and most say it's "not too bad", "they scared us too much with the speech", "it's too slippery without knots in the cable", "if you slip, you only slide along the trail". Yes, especially with the socked-in conditions, you can't even see the drop-off on both sides.

The best part was the dam crossing, where the stream itself gets muddy from the mud we try to wash off.


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