OHE March 6, 2000 (Wahiawa Hills)



Date: Mon, 6 Mar 2000 23:54:48 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)
Subject: Wahiawa Hills TM

The HTMC trail clearing outing yesterday (Sun, 3/5) was Wahiawa Hills, and many volunteers showed up to lend a hand. The meeting place was the end of California Avenue, and after a briefing by Mabel, by 8:15 we were on our way to embrace the forests, gulches and, yes, hills, that comprise this route. Mabel asked us to divide ourselves into two teams to facilitate the clearing of the 5-mile loop trail. One team would do the loop clockwise (the traditional way of doing the route) and the other counterclockwise.

Having always done Wahiawa Hills the traditional way, I decided to join the counterclockwise team to see the trail from a different perspective. Our group--the counter-revolutionaries--included Mabel, Ken Suzuki, June Miyasato, Carole K. Moon, Lynn Agena, Kim & Judy Roy, Georgina Oka, Jason Sunada, Ed Gilman, Ellyn Tong, Lita Komura, Charlotte Yamane, and I. Meanwhile, the traditionalists included Ralph Valentino, Dusty Klein, Mike Algiers, Helene Sproat, Thea Cousineau, Connie & Gordon Muschek and Steve Becker (who'll coordinate the club hike on 3/19). See http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Trails/3660/htms0001.html for the complete HTMC 1Q sked.

Stuart describes the route superbly and in great detail in his book (pp. 97-101), so for those looking for a proper description of how to navigate the loop, check it out. What I can report is that going around counterclockwise was interesting, so much so that Ken, Carole, and I remarked that it seemed we were hiking the trail for the first time. As in most other mountain locales on Oahu, the area we hiked yesterday was dry--the driest I've ever experienced on this hike, as a matter of fact. The trail still needed a good clearing, though, and thanks to Mabel's plan, the two teams were able to clear the entire rout by lunch. "Then we'll be able to cruise and take it easy," she promised us in her prehike spiel. And she was correct. Our group, in fact, reached the large pool, the traditional lunchspot for this hike, by 11:30. The traditionalists, on the other hand, facing a longer route to get to the pool, didn't arrive till past noon.

The day was a beautiful, sunny one, which made us want to swim and lounge around the pool for an extended period. And that's what we did. Many took the plunge in the semi-chilly turquoise waters of Kaukonahua Stream and then spent time sunning on the pleasant rocky beach at pool's edge. For lunch, I chowed on Vienna Sausage. For most of the other folks, sandwiches of different varieties were the main bill of fare. Kim Roy munched on crackers topped with peanut butter and jelly. As is usual for the group, cookies, candies, li hing mango, and assorted snacks were passed around.

After lunch, our team continued its counterclockwise circumnavigation while the clockwise team, minus Thea, who decided to join the counterclockwise group to backtrack the way she had hiked in the a.m., continued on its clockwise way. As our group hiked along, we commented about the good work of the other team. At a significant junction, Ken pointed out some traveler's palms, so called, he told us, because the fan-shaped leaves of this species are said to orient themselves in a north-to-south direction, allowing lost travelers to orient themselves. In a gulch to the left of the trail, Ken pointed out some Halapepe, and later, as we descended a steep slope we refer to as uluhe hill, he showed us a large, tall sandalwood tree, one of the bigger ones on the island.

When doing the loop counterclockwise, two lung-expanding, leg-burning climbs must be completed at the end, and we all puffed and huffed our way up these, glad to have them behind us and glad to be back at our vehicles to end a nice day in the mountains.

Instead of holding our posthike gathering in the residential area at the end of California Avenue, we drove down to Wahiawa District Park, where we enjoyed soft drinks and snacks, featuring brownies ala Sunada and fabulous bean dip ala Mama Mabel.

This coming Sunday (3/12) we will be working on the trail to Mount Olympus along Waahila Ridge, the eastern rim of Manoa Valley. After completing the clearing, some (most?) of the group will head west along the Koolau summit crest, negotiating the (legendary?) sedan rock and ironwood razor ridge and climbing to the terminus of Waiakeakua Ridge (aka Manoa Middle Ridge), which we'll descend to Manoa Valley. Meeting places are Waahila State Park at 8 a.m. (for those planning to hike to Olympus and back) or East Manoa Rd where it meets Alani Drive at 7:30 (for those planning to do the summit section and descend Waiakeakua Ridge to Manoa). Email me if you have questions.

Hike on,

--DKT


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