OHE June 13, 1999 (Ohulehule)

Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 20:18:28 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Ohulehule

Today's club maintenance outing was Pu'u Ohulehule, with 26 folks turning out to lend a hand. The skies were virtually cloudless and the winds light. Fortunately, it wasn't overly humid else we might have suffered greatly from the warmth. The hike/work was still tough, with several folks running out of water by day's end. Despite these small setbacks, the outing turned out well.

A lack of rain in recent weeks has made Kahana Valley dry, with hardly any mud on the valley approach and none at all on the steep climb up to the summit. This certainly was welcome since past accounts of Ohulehule ascents mention the treacherousness of the trail when the ground underfoot has been slick and unstable. Hopefully, the trail will remain dry for the members-only club outing coming up in a couple of weeks. Mike Mottl will coordinate that trek.

On the steepest segment of the climb, all kinds of climbing aids (rope, cable, wire) are available, sometimes all three at a spot. There is also vegetation aplenty left and right for added climbing aids and for protection in case of a slip.

By my count, 19 of the 26 reached the summit (elev. 2,265), where the earliest arrivers spent nearly two hours enjoying the crystal clear views on all sides. Lunch, water, rest, and the scenery invigorated us after the tough climb and it turned into one of the most pleasant hike lunchbreaks I've experienced.

Hats off to Pat Rorie (hiking on Kauai this weekend), who in the past couple years has invested more time and energy than anyone to return Ohulehule to its former 360-degree-view state. He has gone up to the summit many times, often spending a couple hours hacking down clidemia and other weeds that blocked the views. "This mountain is like his lover," said Ken Suzuki. Thanks much, Pat.

So clear was it today that we could see Molokai and Maui (there was much discussion about what islands we were looking at). In addition, we had an unobstructed view of the long, wonderful spread of the Koolau crest, including the segment between Pu'u Pauao and the Waikane trail that some of us had hiked last Sunday. Kaneohe Bay appeared placid and cool, beckoning us to come and take a dip. With binoculars, Jason Sunada and Charlotte Yamane located a section of the Castle Trail, etched into a facing mountainside above Punaluu Valley. Nathan Yuen and Jay Feldman were the most energetic, spending time mowing down clidemia, thimbleberry, and uluhe at the summit plateau while the rest of us took it easy.

The native plant enthusiasts among us (Ken, Charlotte, Brandon Stone, Kay Lynch, among others) answered questions about flora on the summit, with olona and mamaki among the specimens mentioned. Several folks snapped pictures, and since the day was so clear, these should turn out superb. There is a plastic bottle with paper and pencil/pen for a summit log. A trio of hikers signed in on 5/31/99.

As might be expected, the return leg was much faster than the outbound one. The capper for the outing was spending time at the swimming hole by the dam in Kahana Stream. Many of us took the plunge to cool off and a few (Jim Pushaw, his daughter Kristy, and Ralph Valentino) did some acrobatic tricks from a rope hanging from a tree over the stream.

And, of course, Mabel had helpings of a delicious dessert dish (pumpkin-haupia pie) waiting for us when we got back to the cars.

On the upcoming HTMC trek, will Wing Ng finally summit the sharkfin peak? Barring illness or bad weather, I predict he will.



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