OHE June 6, 1999 (Pauao)

Date: Sun, 6 Jun 1999 20:08:10 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: Pauao

My dead friend Henry Fok (who died falling off a mountain in Wa. state) told me several things: 1) he closed his eyes and jumped on Piliwale Ridge 2) he went down the ocean from Nualolo Ridge on Kauai 3) Poamoho in the 60s had no clidemia, was wide open, and he could do it in 1 hour. Morever, there is a trail going down the Windward side, which, alas, is now severely overgrown.

Have yet to do 1-2), but maybe, just maybe, that trail down Poamoho is the Pauao Ridge, and I finally completed it today.

It was a Club hike, and Paka & Prof. etc. went left to come down Waikane. I thought I might come out in the dark (since we started walking at 9:25) and so declined the invitation.

I was low on energy this morning, and was going very slow. So I ate one of two apples; didn't help. Finally at 11:30 I decided to have lunch, and it was like spinach, it energized me. About 12 I passed Carole + two other ladies sitting down for lunch at the spot I had lunch last time, and I thought I would get to the base of the steep section to take a look.

Lots of people turned back, citing "the vertical hill is ridiculous", "it's raining, it's narrow and dangerous". By 1 I am at the steep section, making good progress. The top looks near. Some guys returned, and said "it's only 15 minutes, uh, maybe 20". This was 1:30. Encouraged, I pressed on, going up pretty fast, the noodles calories having turned into kinetic energy. About 2 Ken Suzuki returned, and said "only 10 more minutes".

Sure enough, I got to the top at 2:15. Heck, I could have even made Waikane, 2 more hours to junction with Waikane, 3.5 h. down, and it will "only" be 7:45, not too dark yet :). I sat down to eat my last apple, and noticed an old wooden sign. I wonder if it says "trail down from Poamoho to Windward" :) I tied a long ribbon around it. Hope it's still around the next time.

Return was uneventful, and took only 3:45. It is amazing that the steep section, which looks awesome from below and on the topo map, is actually "not too bad". In fact there was no danger whatsoever anywhere, and it wasn't even too steep. Indeed the Nipple trail seemed to be steeper.

The hardest part was unlocking the gate!! The lock is well hidden, can't see too well, and it was hard to line up the numerals. In fact it took 15+ minutes. I wonder if I should call 911, what if they changed the combination at 5 pm when they quit? Fortunately even that ended well.

I wonder if Henry Fok actually did Pauao coming down from Poamoho. BTW on Pauao it seems that there are at least three ridges going down into Punaluu that are doable.


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