OHE June 8, 1998 (c)

Date: Mon, 8 Jun 1998 15:03:19 -1000
From: Nathan Yuen (nyuen@lava.net>
Subject: The Summit of Ohulehule

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

Went on a breathtaking hike with the trail-clearing crew of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club to the summit of Mount Ohulehule via the Waikane Saddle. Mount Ohulehule is that pyramid shaped peak on the windward coast that projects itself 2,265 feet in the air and separates the districts of Koolaupoko and Koolauloa.

Starting from the trailhead in Kahana Valley, we crossed the cool clear waters of Kahana Stream three times before reaching a large grove of hala trees. While we marveled at the beauty of the long blade-like leaves of the hala as they spiral up the central stem, we took great care as we hiked through the grove to steer clear of the thorny serrated edges of their leaves and the bumpy thorn-like projections on their roots and stems. (ouch!> (ouch!>

Proceeding towards the back of the valley, we reached a section of the trail with large stout koa trees overhead and thick mats of uluhe ferns which billowed in impressive mounds over the landscape. After we crossed the stream once more, we began a upward climb up the back wall of the valley (huff!> (puff!> to the saddle which separates Kahana Valley from Waikane Valley.

When we reached the top of the saddle, we admired fantastic views of Kahana and Waikane valleys and the the sight of Mount Ohulehule looming impressively above. Beckoning us to scale her steep slippery slopes, we began the ascent grasping at ohia, clidemia, and other vegetation to pull ourselves up the mountain-side. Climbing ever higher, we reached the legendary section of the climb which must've been at least a 60 degree incline (gasp!> where cables have been strung to assist the climb. (shudder> Remarking to Dayle that this must be the place where Grant dislodged the boulder sending it careening towards Alex, Kurt, and company, we inched our way up ever so gingerly over the slippery eroded slope. (gulp>

As we overcame the treacherous climb and pushed forward, (sigh of relief> the steepness relented and we found ourselves on a gentle incline that lead to the top. As we completed the final hundred yards, we passed a magnificent specimen of ohia lehua with the most vibrant orange blossoms and a rare broad-leafed lobelia whose leaves where strangely reminiscent of plumeria leaves. As we reached the summit of Ohulehule, we were just awestruck at what must be the most breathtaking panoramic view on Oahu!

Radiating from Mount Ohulehule were the greenswept valleys of Waikane, Hakipuu, Kaaawa, and Kahana, separated by the magnificent craggy saw-toothed cliffs of Puu Kanehoalani, Puu Manamana, and Puu Piei. As we gazed out towards the sea, we could see the off-shore islands of Mokolii (Chinaman's Hat) just before us, the sand bar islet of Kapapa in the middle of the bay, and the twin rocky islets of Moku Manu off Mokapu Peninsula in the distance. As the sun illuminated the landscape beneath us, it was just breathtaking to see the beautiful golden yellow beaches contrast against the teal, azure, and aquamarine of the shallow waters of Kaneohe Bay and the deeper dark blue water which branched-off through multiple channels within the fringing reefs.

After we ate lunch, we assisted Patrick in clearing of the summit and completed our task to string additional cables to facilitate the climb. Bidding farewell to Ohulehule and her sister peaks of Puu Kanehoalani and Puu Manamana, we began the descent back down the mountain. As we lowered ourselves down the incredibly steep slope, I could not help but recall the stories I had heard of the many lava tubes and burial caves rumored to honeycomb the mountains in this region and how the Hawaiians in ancient times must have climbed these very peaks to reach them.

Anyway... as we made our way back down the mountain through Kahana Valley, I was just exhilarated that I had survived the treacherous climb to the top and had seen with my very own eyes the breathtaking natural beauty on top the summit of Ohulehule. What an incredible thrill!

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