OHE March 22, 2000 (Ka'aumakua)

Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 08:03:31 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@k12.hi.us)
Subject: Ka'aumakua Trail Clearing

A group of about 30 HTM trailclearers gathered at 8 a.m. on the windward side of O'ahu at Waiahole beach park, located between Waiahole Valley Road and Waikane Valley Road, on Sunday, March 19, to prepare various trails for the upcoming HTM Pu'u Ka'aumakua hiking event. Brisk trade winds of 15 to 30 mph, high overcast (clear summits) with frequent sunny periods dominated the day's weather.

After Mabel Kekina briefed the crew, a caravan of four vehicles departed the beach park, entered Waikane Valley via a dirt road and drove a significant distance inside the valley to a locked gate. From the gate, the party exited the vehicles and continued on foot for about twenty/thirty minutes to the Waiahole Ditch flume.

Thomas Yoza volunteered to spear head the effort of regrading/clearing parts of the half mile stretch of the Waiahole Ditch Trail while the others headed for the Waikane contour trail. En route to the Waikane saddle, Bob Butchart took the lead in sawing asunder new blow downs.

Once on the Waikane Trail, Patrick Rorie, equipped with shovel and pick, proceeded to the first of two rockslides he knew existed on the final spectacular segment before the junction with the Ko'olau Summit Trail (KST). At the same time, Larry Oswald and Kris Corliss employed their hedge trimmer in the beginning and middle sections of the trail, cutting clidemia and uluhe jutting out from the wall of the contour. With plenty of people available to get the job done, a handful of participants opted to explore the Waiahole Ditch Trail as it drops down to the floor of Kahana Valley from the Waikane saddle. The remainder of the crew worked methodically up Waikane clearing the footpath occasionally to the wall.

Mike Algiers caught up to and passed Patrick at the first rockslide, removed his own shovel and commenced digging out the second rockslide. As soon as Rorie finished doing an adequate job of removing the first rockslide, he joined Mike on the second one. Ken Suzuki arrived next, and, using the pick, created more room for hikers to tread on the narrow ledge high above Kahana Valley. The three men busted their okoles beyond the normal lunch time, gaining a better appreciation for what the men who originally build the trail had to endure. Kost Pankiwskyj (PAN-Q-SKI), HTM's version of Patch Adams, carefully passed the threesome examining native flora along the way.

Pressing on, Mike and Patrick headed for the summit while Ken put the finishing touches on the improvements. Prior to reaching the Waikane/KST junction marked with a rusty metal stake, Rorie noticed a tract where another landslide had damaged the trail, so he halted to improve the grade. Eventually, Patrick caught up with Mike on the KST on the leeward side of the Ko'olau summit ridge because Algiers had turned around needing to leave early with Larry and Kris. A short distance below the summit of Ka'aumakua, Nathan Yuen and Charlotte Yamane descended past Patrick, Yamane no longer able to tolerate the chilly conditions there.

At 1:10 p.m. Patrick joined Thea Cousineau, Arnold Fujioka, Jay Feldman, and Jason Sunada on the pinnacle of Pu'u Ka'aumakua (elev. 2,681 ft) hunkered down behind a clump of vegetation to escape the strong gusts. Later, Kay Lynch, Bob Butchart, Mel Yoshioka, Wayne Yee, Ralph Valentino, Carole Moon, June Miyasato, Georgina Oka and Ken Suzuki all gained Ka'aumakua's grassy summit and sat down to enjoy the views. Patrick inquired about a few of the native plants nearby, and Kay did her best to name them, pointing out their unique features.

During the return leg Mark Short appeared on the KST on his way to Ka'aumakua from Waikane which surprised Patrick who expected to see him coming from Kipapa. Mark briefly shared about his Saturday Waiawa odyssey, and then the two men departed company. The summit trekkers enjoyed the gradual descent of the nicely cleared Waikane and Waiahole Ditch trails and were the last to reach the locked gate. When Mark arrived, those remaining from the original 30 jumped into Ken's Honda Passport or Ralph's flatbed truck. Unfortunately, Ken's vehicle suffered a catastophic blowout in transit on the dirt road, but with Ralph Valentino's help, the spare got slapped on in place of the flat.

Emerging from Waikane Valley, Ken and Ralph transported the last group of trailclearers to Waiahole beach park where they rendezvoused with Mabel Kekina and others. Consumption of Kekina's ono homemade cookies was already underway.

The clan reluctantly disassembled at 6 p.m. bound for his/her home.


With Sunday's clearing of Waikane, another option is added to Stuart Ball's Ko'olau backpack trip. Instead of bailing down Schofield-Waikane, use the Waikane Trail to reenter civilization.

Jason Sunada spotted a possible water source on the leeward side of the summit ridge below Ka'aumakua - important information for future Ko'olau summit campers.

A day hike up Poamoho, along the Ko'olau Summit Trail, and down Waikane makes a magnificent Ko'olau traverse, perhaps the finest on the island.

Mike Algiers, Larry Oswald, Kris Corliss, and Ken Suzuki are unsung heroes in the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club. Their behind the scenes contributions are a big reason for O'ahu's hiking renaissance.

The HTM members only hike to the summit of Pu'u Ka'aumakua, coordinated by Patrick Rorie, is scheduled for Sunday, April 9. Meet at Iolani Palace, mountain side, at 8 a.m. or at Waiahole beach park between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.

For a more detailed route description of the trail and the rewards of reaching the summit, read http://www2.hawaii.edu/~turner/ohe/Feb00/2-2.html

== Paka

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