OHE March 15, 2000 (waikane to kahana)

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 22:43:05 -1000
From: Thomas Yoza (tyoza@gte.net)
Subject: Waikane to Kahana

Today Charlotte, Jay Feldman, Bill Gorst and I (on vacation to do my taxes) did another "death march" hike along the Waiahole Ditch trail from Waikane to Kahana Valley State Park. I parked my Scout in Kahana and Charlotte came to pick me up at 0830 then drove back to park her truck along Kamehameha Hwy. next to Waikane Valley Rd. Jay and Bill (just back from an 18 day trip to Bali) showed up a few minutes later. We started walking up the jeep road at 0900. The first gate was open but we did notice a padlock laying on top of the gate although we saw no vehicles on the road. The road itself was relatively dry with only a few mushy spots. The river crossing had some puddles but there is now a 15" bank on the mauka side that we will have to negotiate when we drive in on sunday. It took us about 40 min. to get to the inside, locked gate, another 40 min. to reach the first water intake, and an equal amount of time hiking the Waiahole Ditch trail to arrive at the junction with the Waikane trail that goes up to the KST. We tied some orange ribbons here to mark the path for this sundays trail maintenance crew.

After munching on snacks, we departed at 1100 to begin our real hike. This was the first time on this part of the trail for me and Jay, but Charlotte said she did it about 20 years ago and Bill around 10. Being up on the ridge line, the first part of the trail does a switch back routine about 4 times to get to the valley floor. There are several land slide areas and many trees, big and small, across the whole length of the trail. I hope we can get a team together someday to clear this fantastic path.

There were some interesting points along this hike. At the first ditch tunnel opening, air was being forced out at around 15-20 mph. We couldn't see or hear any water flowing at this juncture. Next we came upon the ruins of an old cabin with elaborate steps and a rock wall. This may have been a caretakers home with a lot of whiskey bottles scattered about. Anybody know the history on this Trail?? There was only one place along the trail that you could actually see the water flowing in the Ditch although we found many openings to it. A green shack is located here along with some monitoring equipment and an antenna to send the data. Hanging on the outer wall of the structure are several pairs of boots and waders for the workers when they inspect the tunnels. But Jay noted the cob webs forming on them so I guess it's not used real often.

We didn't do much clearing, as planned, but Jay and I got carried away at the back of the group and after awhile noticed that Bill and Charlotte was long gone. We finally caught up to them at the terminus of the Waiahole Ditch trail at 1515hrs. As I was refilling my hydration bag, those two guys just took off again. Jay and I wouldn't see them again till we were on the road out of the park near the outer locked gate. We made it back to my waiting Scout at 1700, and I drove everybody back the 8 miles to there vehicles at around 1730. We guessed todays hike to be about 15 miles or so. I'm hoping Jay will fill in whatever I may have left out when he gets back from the HTMC board meeting.

Aloha, Thomas

Reply From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)

One thing I'll give Thomas credit for is if he makes up his mind to do something, he'll find a way to get it done. Currently, he has a fascination with the ditch trail in the back of Kahana Valley. In the last month and a half, he's taken part in two trips to remote reaches of Kahana, the first on on Feb 2 (see and the Jay Feldman's write-up for details-- and the second just last week.

Today (3/19/00) was his third trip in recent times, and I, along with John Hall, Bill Gorst, Deetsie Chave, and Lynn Agena, opted to join him. We accessed Kahana via Waikane Valley Road and then the Waiahole/Waikane ditch trail. We were part of the HTMC trail maintenance crew, close to 30 of us all told. The crew's primary objective was to clear the Waikane trail to the Koolau Summit Trail. Since so many volunteers showed up, our group of six, with the permission of trail maintenance honcho Mabel Kekina, elected to work on opening up the "fantastic path" down into Kahana Thomas has been so enthused about.

We were equipped with machetes, saws, and a large pick, and we put all of these to use in clearing the trail strewn with fallen and collapsed guava trees. Laboring for a couple hours, we were able to clear the path all the way to the point where it makes its first switchback, a distance of maybe a half a mile. At that point, it was just past noon, so we stopped to sit and eat lunch at the switchback point, a pleasant shady spot with a gentle breeze floating by.

Thomas and I had walkie-talkies, and we used these to keep in contact with Mabel and a couple other folks on the crew who had WTs. It was interesting to note the progress of our friends as they made their way up the Waikane Trail toward the summit.

After lunch, John decided to head back up the trail to work on some troublesome sections. Meanwhile, the rest of us continued down the trail toward the valley's bottom, chopping branches and encroaching limbs while we moved along. After a couple switchbacks, we arrived at a ditch intake, notable for a steady flow of air being expelled from it. Thomas spoke of using this location as a campsite for a backpack trip. I'm sure he'll let us know when he plans to do that.

Instead of continuing along the ditch trail toward its northern terminus, we reversed field to head back up the way we'd come down. It was pleasing to see how improved the trail had become as a result of our labors. It was also pleasing to hike it without having to duck or crawl to get past guava tangles. We're hoping to have the entire crew work on the rest of the ditch trail in the back of Kahana. After that happens, Thomas' backpack trip can become a reality. Moreover, the ditch trail can be part of a club hike done as a big loop to include an ascent of Pauao Ridge, a crossover on the KST, a descent of the Waikane trail, and a return to the Kahana trailhead via the reopened ditch trail. Just a dream? We'll see.

Several members of OHE were among the large group that worked on the Waikane Trail to the summit today. Let's hope one of them will post a write-up about that.


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