OHE March 15, 2000 (Olympus-Waiakeakua)

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 09:22:02 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)
Subject: Olympus-Waiakeakua

This past Sunday's HTMC trail maintenance outing was Olympus. Some of us started down on Alani Drive in Manoa and hiked to Wa'ahila Ridge via the Kolowalu Trail. Meanwhile, the bulk of the crew started at Wa'ahila State Park. Kolowalu neeed no work nor did the segment of Wa'ahila Ridge from the park to the Kolowalu junction. Timed almost precisely, the Kolowalu group arrived at the junction just about the same time as the Wa'ahila group. Talk about an N Sync crew, with all due respect to the boy band of the same name.

I was with the Kolowalu group, and not far from the Wa'ahila junction we were passed by a friendly guy named Ricky, an ultramarathon enthusiast who had started at sun-up at the Nature Center and made his way to Kolowalu, mostly jogging, via the Tantalus trails, Aihualama, and Manoa Falls. To my astonishment, Ricky said he was only doing a short workout that day, opting not to join his UM friends who were doing a lengthier workout that would take them from the Nature Center to Pauoa Flats, the Nu'uanu Trail, Pali Lookout, Maunawili Demo Trail to its Waimanalo Trailhead, AND BACK TO THE NC! Can you spell 40 miles roundtrip?

We began trail clearing from the junction and slowly made our way upridge. Compared to other trails we've worked on recently, the footpath to Olympus was in decent shape and we were able to clear it with little difficulty. Ralph, Jay, and Jim manned the ramrod spots while Grant went wild attacking fiddlewood with his mega-loppers. While Grant did his thing, someone mentioned that fiddlewood is a favorite of Honolulu mayor Jeremy Harris and that this plant has been planted along medians on city streets. Hmm.

Working methodically while jabbering away and cracking jokes, we reached the junction with the Olympus-Castle trail, a pohaku throw from the summit of Olympus, at 10:45. The day before, I had emailed some folks to request volunteers to haul up some extra water to stash on the trail for this coming Saturday's HTMC hike (Kuliou'ou to Manoa). Mahalo to Carmen, Jim, Thomas, and Ed for helping out to establish a 7 to 8 liter cache.

From Olympus, Ed and Nathan chose to head east over to the Ka'au Crater summit (in doing so, Ed has section-hiked the Ko'olau range from Konahuanui to Makapu'u--congrats to him). Meanwhile, a large contingent headed west from Olympus, bound for the topping out point of Waiakeakua Ridge. Ralph and Jay led the crossing, followed closely by Kim & Judy Roy, Carole Moon, and Connie Muschek. Charlotte Yamane and hubby Volker were also near the front. Others completing the crossing were Grant Oka, Georgina Oka, June Miyasato, Gordon Muschek, Calvin Zane, Pat Rorie, Ken Suzuki, Thomas Yoza, Jason Sunada, Carmen Craig, and Lynn Agena (I hope I mentioned everyone).

By noon, we were all settled down for lunch on the Ko'olau summit where Waiakeakua Ridge reaches its end after rising up from Manoa Valley. The pali is especially steep to windward along this segment and it was interesting to scan the cliffs below to ascertain if any of the spurs from Maunawili could ever be climbed to the summit (the answer is no). From our vantage point, we could see Konahuanui, about a mile away. Someone noticed tiny figures moving along the ridge toward us. Fishing out his mini binocs, Jason confirmed four hikers were heading eastbound from Konahuanui.

The four turned out to be two twosomes. One of the duos included Moshe Rappaport, a geography instructor who'd done some teaching at LCC where I work. The other two were Arnold Fujioka and Thea Cousineau, a couple of HTMC members. Fancy meeting all these folks up in the high Koolaus.

At 12:30, we began the trip down Waiakeakua Ridge, which included a steep but fun descent of a massive nob. Mudfree trail underfoot made for an easy go of it, and more than one person whooped out playfully while heading down. About halfway down the ridge, we spotted a large owl that swooped low over the ridge and glided into the treetops to Waiakeakua Gulch to our left. Perhaps this was the same bird Brandon spotted on a previous visit.

An interesting feature of the ridge is one of the narrowest segments of trail on Oahu (it's six inches wide but is only three feet long and can be negotiated with one stride). We also came across a rope tied to a tree. The rope extended over the ridge to the left. Only afterward did someone theorize that the rope might lead to a shortcut to Waiakeakua Stream. The next time, maybe this Saturday, it may be worth a look-see.

Near the bottom of the ridge, the trail turns right into a dark bamboo grove. We cleaned up the junction and put up many ribbons down through the grove and cut and tossed aside encroaching bamboo. Good work by Judy Roy for ribboning and by the entire crew for doing some clearing through the bamboo. Thanks.

Beyond the bamboo, we worked left, following some old ribbons and a faint trail through a patch of torch ginger until reaching a gently flowing Waiakeakua Stream, which we crossed. Continuing to head left toward the slope that forms the eastern wall of the valley, we emerged on the Waiakeakua Stream trail near the foot of a set of concrete steps. Turning left on the trail, we climbed the steps and continue on the trail for a couple minutes until arriving at a pleasant pool, where several of us took a dip. Cool and refreshing. Nice.

Less than 100 meters upstream is the memorial stone for Gladstone Wright, a boy killed by a falling rock at the location while on an outing with his Sunday School class. That was 109 years ago.

After a half hour or so of relaxing by the pool, we backtracked along the stream trail and, at a junction marked by large boulders and some palms (and some ribbons), we headed left up a steep slope to huff n puff our way to the Pu'u Pia Trail.

The final climb of the day behind us, we regrouped at the junction with the Pia trail. Jason, claiming to want views (and probably more of a workout), headed to the right up to the summit of Pia (he'd have one more climb). Less energetic and adventurous, the rest of us headed left to follow the Pia trail back to Alani Drive.

By 3:30, we all were back on Alani Drive in the Woodlawn area of Manoa. From there, we piled into vehicles staged on Alani in the a.m. and motored up to St. Louis Heights where Mabel, Ed, and Joe and Ruby Bussen were waiting for us. We enjoyed our usual post-hike refreshment fest. Calvin shared some tasty homemade sausage courtesy of a pua'a from Moanalua Valley.

Next Sunday's outing will take us to the windward side where we'll be working on the Waikane trail to the Ko'olau summit, specifically Pu'u Ka'aumakua. Meeting time is 8 a.m. along Kam Hwy across from Waikane Valley Road.

Hike on,


Return to OHE top | Return to Oahu Hike Tales | Email Dayle