OHE June 21, 1999 (Kulepeamoa)



Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 11:53:13 -1000
From: Jay Feldman (JFEL873@aol.com>
Subject: Re: Kulepeamoa

Kulepeamoa Ridge Hike:

Met Bill Gorst and Charlotte Yamane to car pool to Niu Valley. Driving over the Pali we found Anoloni Street via Halemaumau Street. Though we were early, the dead end street teemed with life, as people milled about looking for their Trail Queen.

Approximately 22 life forms had arrived including; Joe Bussen, Jim Pushaw and daughter Kristy and her friend, Georgina Oka, June Miyasato, Jason Sunada, Ken Suzuki, Doug Klein, Dayle Turner, Nathan Yuen, Kris Corliss, Larry Oswald, Wil Kawano, Arnold Fujioka, Ralph and Michael Valentino, Lynn Agena, Carmen Craig, Lynn Masuyama, Stuart Ball, and of course the inimitable Miz Moon.

Unfortunately, this morning Mabel was required elsewhere to administer Father's Day duties leaving the hike coordinators in charge, i.e., the Daring Duo of "Where there's a Wil there's a Jay". After some discussion concerning the correct turnoff from Hawai'iloa Ridge to Pia Valley, and everyone agreeing they were in complete understanding (more about this later), we headed into the valley.

Passing the water tank and walking along a path through tall grass we quickly entered the valley and crossed a very dry Pia stream. We moved into a mixed, mostly nonnative forest of guava, christmas berry, coffee, and koa haole and continued along the stream passing a number of large boulders. About 50 yards past a massive boulder abutting the trail on the right we began our ascent up a spur to Kulepeamoa ridge.

We entered an open area with ulei bushes, more guava, and lauae ferns with early views of a clear sky and a rear view of Niu Valley. A very steep heart stopping ascent brought us to a lovely ironwood grove, just in time for a break and a reconsideration our willingness to continue this lung-buster. Deciding a significant rest period would suffice to resettle our breakfasts and blood pressure we moved on reaching the ridge line itself. Excellent views of Pia Valley to the left and beyond it Hawai^“iloa Ridge were visible and to the right Kupaua Valley and Kuli'ou'ou Ridge presented themselves. Beyond, excellent views of Hawai'i Kai and Koko Crater stood for examination and comment.

We continued along this windswept ridge interspersed with ironwood groves and the occasional native plants which began to appear in abundance. Wil Kawano graciously provided the identification of: ohia, lama, ulei, pu keawe, akoko, ohelo, maile, uluhe, alahe'e, manono, naupaka, kolea lau nui, and even some bird's nest ferns. As climbed we reached the most difficult and dangerous section of the hike with very steep drop offs and long narrow dike like sections of crumbly dirt and fractured stone with little visible signs of support. One short section so completely lacked any "presence" that we considered rerouting the trail around it. Unfortunately, there was nothing anyone could call substantial "around" it. Great caution is called for while taking this giant step, Simon says.

Finally, after sufficient perseverance we attained the summit of the ridge and were gratified by excellent views of the windward side from Chinaman's Hat to Makapu'u and the Honolulu side from Makapu'u past the airport on a clearer day surely the Waianae's would be visible. A wonderful view of Olomana, with all three peaks lined up from behind was a most unusual sight. To the right views of the summit of Kuli'ou'ou Ridge and Pu'u o Kona.

This excellent lunch spot arrived too early in the day and strong words were passed to the foolish few who had reached into their packs searching for their midday repast. "No lunch till noon!!^‘ was broadcast and echoed from mouth to mouth, unwritten rule of the trails. Unwritten, but not necessarily inviolate; snacks appeared and adequate hydration and rest was taken. Turning left we continued along the KST heading for Hawai'iloa ridge determined to eat lunch there written or unwritten.

Following the KST, a narrow, windblown affair for about 30 minutes we arrived at the summit of Hawai^“iloa ridge as clearly proclaimed by an Na Ala Hele sign. Lunch at last. However, while one hand receives the other gives, and soon clouds covered our excellent views and slapped us with rain. Not much, but surely enough to join the molecular bonds of the individual dirt clods of our descent into greased pig fat. Slip sliding away became our heartsong, as we worked our way down the ridge turning once clean hiking clothes into muddy rags to be refused consideration for entry into any civilized washing machine. Good fortune and Na Ala Hele workers had provided several set of steps to help us, and help us they did.

As we continued down the trail the slope lessened and dryer sections made themselves available as we passed through ironwood and guava trees. Earlier in the morning Charlotte had agreed to reverse hike to the cutoff point along Hawai'iloa and post ribbons for the return leg to Pia Valley. Good as her word, she did exactly that. However, probable victim to habit and years of hiking this trail, she laid the ribbons a quarter of a mile too soon at the old junction used for years by the club. Last year Mabel had pioneered another cutoff further down the trail indicating it was a superior access to the valley and everyone had agreed to use it today. Of course, as we all know and respect, the adage of "In one ear and out the other." has long been the motto emblazoned under the HTM logo.

What the hell, both trails arrived at Pia Stream, and though much discussion was later based on which access was superior we all arrived safely back at the parking spot to witness Mabel's camp table sagging under a wealth of treats. Warm apple/banana cobbler was available to all, and as we de-booted, chatted with each other, and reflected that we had survived and enjoyed another great hike, digestion proceeded.

Jay Feldman


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