OHE June 6, 1999 (Pauao to Waikane)



Date: Sun, 6 Jun 1999 22:04:12 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Pauao-Waikane

Last September, Pat Rorie, Steve Poor and I pounded our way up the north ridge of Kahana Valley, needing nearly eight hours to reach the summit. Although we didn't pioneer this ridge--since there have been numerous reports of people doing it in the past, we might as well have pioneered it, for a better part had no trail at all. To say that we paid a sizable price in fatigue and pain would be understating what happened. The main thing is that we made it okay--dirty, tired, battered, but free of injury or worse.

We christened this ridge Pauao, since a pu'u with this name marks its summit on the Hauula quad topo map. At today's club hike, outing coordinator Ken Suzuki mentioned that the closest translation of "pauao" he could find equated to something like "fatigued" or "worn-out." Prophetic definitions, if accurate.

Steve, Pat, and I were on hand for today's members-only hike, returning to the ridge that tormented us so. Perhaps we came back for catharsis, to purge the demons dancing about in our minds brought on by eight hours of hell on a September day past. Since this was a new hike for the club, many others turned out, about 30 in all.

The main body of hikers began at 9:30, enduring a 15 to 20 minute walk up the road before the first steep climb of the day up a spur to the right of the water tank at road's end. In what should be no surprise to anyone, ego and machismo abound in the HTMC, so much so that everyone in the group I was with refused to stop for a break until reaching the summit a little past noon. Nowadays, just about everyone hikes with suck-water-from-a-tube contraptions, eliminating the need to stop to fish water bottle from pack. Add some power gel, power bars, and other easily accessible snacks, and water and fuel are always at hand, even on the move.

And we moved, moved, and moved, sometimes resorting to hand-to-hand climbing and other gymnastic moves to negotiate steep segments. But the climbing wasn't as bad as I remember from last September, when I was reduced to crawling like a lame, drooling dog at times. A trail is a wonderful thing and I'm convinced that hikers can never fully appreciate a trail unless they take part in creating it. And we're out there working on trails with the club every Sunday for those who want to help out.

While driving home today after the hike, I thought of the trailblazers who opened up routes like Bowman and Manana, imagining how much they suffered to complete the task. I felt proud that I was part of the team that helped reopen the route we climbed today and that those who hiked it enjoyed themselves.

During lunch, Pat climbed up toward Pauao and found an old sign, its lettering obliterated by the elements. He brought the sign down and placed it in a tree at the Pauao Ridge/KST junction. In some bushes at the junction, I found the wheels of a baby carriage. What a carriage was doing there no one could fathom.

There were eleven in the no-rest macho group, and after lunch nine completed the two-mile crossover on the Koolau Summit Trail to Waikane, including Pat, Arnold Fujioka, "Big" John Darrah, Peter Kempf, Chris Atkinson, Steve Poor, Henry Vegter, myself, and another chap whose name I can't recall.

The KST from Pauao to Waikane has only two short leeward segments. The remainder is to windward, with views of the spectacular variety. Pat has said that this is one of the top sections of trail on the island, and I agree. We were doubly fortunate today since we enjoyed views almost all the way save for some temporary cloudiness as we began descending Waikane.

Winds were blowing strongly all the while at the summit and during the two leeward segments the temperature seemed to rise ten degrees the instant we made the transition from windward. The way wasn't overly muddy, and I spent most of the crossing hiking with Steve, a man with a big interest in Hawaiian flora. His focus of the day was collecting mamaki, whose leaves make a nice tea.

From Pauao, we needed three hours to reach the water flume in Waikane Valley. Several of the group took the cooling plunge in the flume while the rest kicked back to rest and eat snacks. The three-mile hike on the dirt road to Kam Hwy passed quickly, and we were out by 4:30. Five jumped into the Pat-mobile for the ride back to Kahana. Ken drove over to retrieve the remainder.

Was catharsis achieved?

In a word, yes.

--DKT


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