OHE June 8, 1998

Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 10:44:12 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Relaxing Kawainui Stream

Spent most of Saturday, June 6th (national trails day), with my hiking comrad Laredo "Rainbowman" Murray. His hair was orange on this day. Laredo is kindof choosy when it comes to trails and his attitude is usually "been there done that". So whenever I call him I have to "sell" him on a hike or else he'll say,"I think I'll pass this weekend". Kawainui, the stream trail in the wilderness above Haleiwa, sounded appealing so the two of us headed to the northshore to check it out.

Avoided Haleiwa Town via the bypass, went straight thru a stop light when it was green and turned right off of Kamehameha Hwy onto Kawailoa Drive. Passed Kawailoa Refuse on the left and turned right onto Cane Haul Road. After making a sharp left past a small cemetary in an attempt to gain Kawailoa Road, a locked gate blocked further progress.

I turned the pat-mobile around and continued along the Cane Haul Road toward the Waianae Range avoiding pot holes as much as possible until arriving at Plantation Road. Turned left onto Plantation Road and went to the left of a locked gate. Methodically and carefully drove thru the cane fields eventually veering left. Went right onto Kawailoa Road. At the end of Kawailoa Road (where Pa'ala'a Uka Pupukea Road comes in) I turned right and descended gradually narrowly missing some nasty ruts. When the condition of the road got too dicey I pulled off to the side and Laredo and I set out on foot.

At 11:02 a.m. and staying on the road, we dropped down into a gulch, climbed out of it and enjoyed nice views of the northshore toward Kaena Point along a level stretch near a huge meadow. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, lots of blue sky and sunshine (not a cloud in the sky with the exception of a few white puffy ones above Mount Ka'ala) trades 10 to 20 mph.

Descended gradually into another gulch (Kawainui Gulch) reaching the Kawainui trailhead at 11:45 a.m. Without delay, Laredo and I climbed a short steep section. Another ascent ensued via two switchbacks. I noticed a cave (a short access tunnel for the Kawainui ditch) and Laredo went inside to check it out.

Following the switchbacks the trail contoured along the side of the gulch high above the Kawainui Stream. Next we gradually dropped down to the stream but before doing so took pleasure in occasional open views of the gulch featuring an abundance of lovely vegetation growing along the slopes. While crossing a stone dam, Laredo and I noticed a ditch intake not far upstream. Crossed the stream almost a dozen times recognizing atleast four large pools for swimming. The trail was somewhat overgrown but we never lost it. Encountered some hau, ginger, strawberry guava, uluhe, lantana and clidemia along the footpath.

Passed a campsite, crossed the stream for the final time and shortly thereafter arrived at a beautiful circular pool "ringed with kukui trees"* at 12:37 p.m. Laredo and I went for a swim and explored upstream until we found a natural jacuzzi, a short waterfall to the left of three boulders jammed together. Both of us took turns sitting under the flow of warm water receiving a relaxing massage as a result. As I felt the stream rushing over me I looked up at the deep blue sky with the sun almost directly overhead and said to myself "Life doesn't get much better than this!".

We returned to the pool, swam across it then Laredo did some sunbathing on a large flat lava rock heated by the sun while I relaxed along the pool's edge. The gentle breeze brought refreshment as well.

With designs on doing a double header, Laredo and I packed up our stuff and reluctantly departed the swimming area at 1:48 p.m. Retraced out steps back to Pa'ala'a Uka Pupukea Road arriving there at 2:39 p.m. While ascending out of Kawainui Gulch the two of us noticed a memorial on the side of the road near a rusty metal stake to a soldier who was killed in the 1930's while constructing the thoroughfare.

Got back to the pat-mobile at 3:25 p.m. and returned the way we came. Stopped in Haleiwa Town to get something to drink then headed for Schofield to hike the Kalena Trail.

Parked in the dirt area below the Kolekole Rock and crossed Kolekole Road at 3:31 p.m.

Notes: There are two other ways to approach the Kawainui Trail. One is via Helemano and the other is from Haleiwa Town by driving under the bypass viaduct. I haven't tried these routes so I use the Kawailoa Refuse way.

As mentioned earlier, Kawailoa Road becomes Pa'ala'a Uka Pupukea Road leading to the Kawailoa Trail, a bear of a hike which terminates at the Ko'olau Summit.

New gates have gone up in the Kawailoa area. They are usually locked making access to these terrific, remote trails more difficult.

It is best to use a truck or 4x4 when trekking the backroads of Oahu. A passenger car is not recommended.


* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.

== Paka

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