Date: Tue, 1 Jun 1999 13:00:32 -1000 From: MARK SHORT
Recent write ups have been done so I'll try for brief highlights:
Saturdays 2:30 PM, start up Papali. Its hot and we've started a little later than I'd like. I mention to my 17 year old son Ryan that. Once we're up on the ridge we should get some breeze. Probably because of the weight of my pack, the heat and the fact that I'm going uphill, I remark that Punaiki Ridge (next one over, I came down last week) is a much better trail. I can't wait to get to the Nipple trail and we seem to very close to it for a long time. Finally we reach a cross over section that is really nice. The junction (which I had missed last week) is very obvious. I think to myself that if the ribbons were about a foot off the ground I might have seen them (busy watching my feet).
On the way up I have to stop to wait for my son several times. After one lengthy wait my son asks "how long have you been waiting?". "Just a few minutes. What were you doing?" I reply. "Hiking!!#*&@!!" he answers. This is a big boost to my ego. In my write up of our trip to Kalalau last summer I referred to my son as "fast kid". Now I'm the fast one;-)
I wait at the notch, or doorway, into Kaluanui Valley to see my son's expression. He is visibly impressed (an unusual state for him, and I think most teenagers) by the stream & valley below as passes through this dramatic spot. We reach the stream at 6:15pm. I say "lets drop our packs here and go the the other notch, its a great view of Punaluu Valley and it's only about 15 minutes away". My son follows for about two minutes then says he's already walked too far and heads back. It takes me about 20 minutes to get to the notch, were I sit for about 10 minutes viewing the awesome view.
Back at camp I wash off the mud set up tent, eat tortilla & cheese, sugar snow peas, and a carrot, fresh veggies were great. My son has erected a tarp for our dog and with the sound of rain we pass the night in comfort. Morning light, and we still have rain. This causes us to linger in the tent with bagel & fresh strawberries for breakfast.
The stream is high, I manage to stay on rocks and only go ankle deep, My son ends up mid-thigh deep and says "I thought we aren't supposed to cross if its over knee high". Every gully in the Castle trail is a strongly flowing stream this morning. The sound of water is everywhere and each turn in the trail reveals a new waterfall. We are also able to see three turns and other parts of Kaluanui Stream. This surprises me, I thought you had to be past the notch to see the stream. I guess now the stream is much bigger and not obscured by clouds. At the ridge top we are able to see Maakua Stream below on the right. We can also see a ridge that ends suddenly in Maakua Gulch. I explain to Ryan that the ridge we will descend is hidden by this ridge and at the top we'll have to be careful to choose the right ridge. Near this point we take a short side trip to left. Here is a view of a large waterfall on the north fork of Kaluanui stream. This water fall is relatively close. Much farther off is another large waterfall on the south fork, again good visibility and lots of water result in new sights compared to last week.
At about 10am we reach the point where the ridge leading to Hauula should begin. Cloud cover has come in limiting visibility. So instead of leaving the trail where I think we should I decide to continue a sort distance to where the left side of the ridge (something definite to follow and I'm making sure not to end up on the ridge to the left which ends abruptly in the gulch). After much work and a bit of roller coaster action we get a view that is not so great, were on the wrong ridge! The strange thing is there was an over grown rut a sure sign this was a trail. We make it back to the Castle trail in no time at all now that a path exists. We go back to my original starting point and soon find another overgrown rut. So we actually began our downward leg at about 11am there is a trail to follow with most of the vegetation low and fairly easy to push through which is what I expected a this high elevation. The clouds lift and there are lots more waterfalls and views of Kaipapau Stream flowing strongly below. From the top of one pu'u we are able to see the top of a Maakua waterfall and Kaipapau Stream at the same time.
At about 2pm we reach a pu'u that looks to be about 2100' on the map. It's separated from another another pu'u of about the same height by a long extremely narrow section. We scan the ridgeline hoping for signs of diehard TMers but see none. I did see however what looks like a notch in the vegetation on top of the opposite pu'u and expressed my hopes that the trail clearing crew had made it that far and that this looked like a good lunch spot. Ryan was doubtful of the existence of any trail clearers at this point. The cross over was difficult, narrow and very overgrown. The rut actually was mostly on the leeward side not on top of the crumbly & rotten razor edge. At one point I dropped into a notch on this narrow section that had in Ryan's surfer terms uluhe that was "double overhead high. At 3pm we had reached evidence left by Dayle, triple ribbons & a cleared swath. With a sigh of relief we pressed on following the luxuriously maintained trail, reaching the junction with the Hauula Uka trail at 5pm. I continued on down to the beach park (Ryan stopped at the trailhead refusing to walk where he could ride), I showered off the mud and waited for my wife to pick us up. Sorry to have missed the gang. If not for the hour spent off course in morning we might have caught up with you. Still a great adventure. Potential superhike?
Bravo, Mark and Ryan, for making it all the way! Dayle, up in front, was very much on the lookout for you, but you must have been at least an hour, maybe two behind us. You did a good job of finding the right ridge, even while more-or-less socked in. Did you mark the correct junction with Castle or can you give us any advice for finding it?
We did mark it with three ribbons and we took down the wrong way ones:). We put up a few ribbons as we went and did find some very old ones (of course there were old ribbons on the wrong ridge also).The junction is right where it looks like it should be on the map. Right after the castle trail (headed toward KST) changes direction from west to south (approx.). Also it's right after a slight bend to left and where the slope to the right now has high vegetation and the slope is much less steep. Also if you pass it there is a very small gully then the wrong ridge. No way you should miss it. Now someone needs to get up there quick before our path disapears!