OHE June 19, 1999 (Puu o Kila)

Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 15:48:58 -1000
From: Jay Feldman (JFEL873@aol.com)
Subject: Pu'u o Kila - Thursday, June 17, 1999

There are a number of groups that currently hike on Wednesday; The Over-the-Hill Gang, The Sole-Mates, and until this week Mabel's Elders. Given the growing mid-week trail congestion Mabel's group has rescheduled to Thursday. We are now known as "Wednesday Elders Hiking On Thursday" - (W.E.H.O.T.)

This Thursday's group was a small one consisting of Mabel (back from heel recovery), Bill Gorst, and Jay Feldman. Wavering on Waiawa, we altered course for Kahana Valley to explore a trail Mabel had pursued the previous Sunday with Deetsie Chave. Passing over the dam not only did we stay dry, but we noticed a significant drop in the water level upstream. Apparently, a deep hole has opened allowing enough water to flow UNDER the dam to keep the top quite dry. We had some concern that if the hole is not plugged soon the water flow might undermine the dam's integrity, and eventually wash away our crossing. Let's hope the State doesn't take a "don't give a dam" attitude.

We continued along the trail, ignoring the left turnoff to Ohulehule and continued straight back into the valley walking through buttonwood and hala until we reached the uluhe clad slope of Pu'u o Kila. Looking past that summit as we traversed the valley floor we had considered commandeering Pu'u Koiele as well. We had hoped to foray far enough to establish a foothold on the northern slope of the Mother herself - Pu'u Ohulehule. But as the climb up Pu'u o Kila sapped our energy, our ambitions suffered an equal sapping.

Initially the trail was clear and easy to follow. However, after about a third of the way, machetes were unsheathed and whacking proceeded. The air was thick and muggy, our copious perspiration encouraged the humidity level to new heights until finally, at the summit (1,530 ft), we pooped. We had lovely views of the trail we had just used last Sunday during our Ohulehule visit, with Turnover and Manamana just beyond. Onward to Pu'u Koiele looked very doable but after lunch we decided to take a quick, but steep, descent into the valley to meet with the trail we knew would take us back to the dam.

Did I mention steep, all we lacked was cardboard and we could have slid down. There were piggy trails and some open areas but mostly we were up to our ears in deep uluhe and assorted non-native vegetation. We finally hit bottom, a tiny stream bed and then back up the other slope to an obvious trail. Following it, we eventually met the trail we had taken to Ohulehule at the left turn we made to take us across the small stream next to the bamboo grove. Heading back to our cars we crossed Kawa Stream the obligatory two more times, the cold water feeling very nice in our boots, until we again reached the dam. Mabel unleashed her ice chest and we enjoyed some freshly peeled mango and soft drinks, swearing to go all the way next time.

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