OHE March 12, 1998

Date: Thu, 12 Mar 1998 21:17:47 -1000
From: okihara@prodigy.net
Re: Poamoho


Has anybody done this one? I am not sure if I was on the Poamoho Ridge Trail or not...

Date:  Wednesday, March 11, 1998
Hike:  Poamoho Trail
Party: Ponciana "Ping" Ongayo, Alex Okihara
Weather:  Sunny, clouds over the mountains
Time Started:  8:40 AM
Time Finished:  2:40 PM
Round trip duration: 6 hours
Time to grassy lookout:  2 hours, 40 minutes

The Story:

What can be better than going hiking? Getting PAID to go hiking!! Today, Ping and I were scheduled to service the three rain gages that lie along various points of the Poamoho Trail (I work at USGS). Talk about fun!

We left the office in town at 7:44 AM and drove out to Poamoho. As we neared the Dole Pavillion, I flipped through the Hiker's Guide to take a look at the trailhead directions. After turning right onto a road just after the Dole Pavillion, we almost immediately turned left onto a dirt road.

We paralleled the line of utility poles for a while, as described in the directions, but from there, we were travelling on a different route. Ping was driving, and I was concentrating on searching for some landmarks, so I didn't notice exactly where she made the turns, but we turned left and headed further into the pineapple fields.

After weaving through the network of roads, we started to drive down a long straightaway for a couple of minutes. Then the road beared to the left, and we started to climb the hillside. Midway, we had to switch the truck to 4-wheel drive. We continued to climb, encountering some good-sized potholes, dips, and bumps. At 8:35 AM, we reached a sign that read: Poamoho Public Hunting Area C. By 8:40 AM, we had reached the end of the road marked by two big logs which are made out of plastic.

I looked at my Hiker's Guide again to try and see if we were on the same trail described as Poamoho Ridge. I couldn't really tell.

We grabbed our gear and walked along the trail. The trail had recently been cleared, and according to Ping, was waaaay more accessible than it was in November.

We passed a Na Ala Hele sign, that I believe was marked as: Poamoho Trail. I guess that meant that we were on the Poamoho Trail instead of the Poamoho Ridge Trail. A little further down, we had to weave through an opening in a barricade. A sign read something like:

This area has many native Hawaiian plants. Please no break 'em.

We continued on our way, and reached the first rain gage at 8:54 AM. After spending about 10 minutes at the gage, we headed on to the next rain gage.

At 9:47 AM, we reached the second rain gage. We spent about 15 minutes at this site before heading on.

The trail continued to be wide and clear. Eventually, we got to a section where the recent trailclearing apparently ended. It was a little overgrown in some spots. After bending to the left and right several times, we then found ourselves walking on a moist clay soil which was highly eroded in some areas, leaving deep pits in the ground. After climbing very gradually, we arrived at a lookout point where we broke for lunch. On the left side was a rock monument about 3 feet high. The front of the monument was defaced, but on the back, a plaque read:

Aloha i ka aina
a me na mea ulu
Love our land
and growing things.

I wondered to myself if this was the stone memorial to Geraldine Cline. Many of the descriptions of the area that we were in matched the ones in Ball's book, so I wondered if we were in the right place after all. The lookout point was a windy open grassy area, just as described in the book, with a stone monument on the left hand side. Hmm...

Anyway, it was 11:22 AM, and although there were clouds in the sky, the sun was able to shine through some open areas in the clouds, adding to the already spectacular view of the windward side. Looking from left to right, we could see the peak of Puu Piei, all of Puu Manamana from top to bottom, and the infamous Puu Ohulehule. I was in awe. I loved looking at this area from a totally different angle. It was so cool. I took some pictures, and I hope that they will come out okay.

After grinding my zip pac and taking more pictures on a steep and narrow section to the right of the lookout, we went to service the third and final raingage. Recently, some hunters had used the gage as target practice, and there were several bullet holes in sides of the box. However, the damaged contents of the box are now all fixed, and the rain gage is operating as it should be.

After servicing the gage, we started to head back to the truck. I took one last look of the valley below us, and headed back with an image that I'll remember forever.

We left the lookout area at about 12:55 PM and reached the truck at 2:40 PM. What an awesome day!


The trail was pretty dry, and we only encountered several muddy spots. The trail was very well maintained for several miles and got a little overgrown about 3/4 of the way. For the most part of the trail, we were off the ridge, walking along the contour of the hillside which appears to have been cut away from the mountain. Along the way, we saw many cool plants such as uluhe ferns, guava trees, thimbleberries, and wild orchids. Overall, I would rate this trail as intermediate. It wasn't too hard because of the wide path. But I have heard stories of people slipping a lot along the way when it gets wet.

The view from the top is spectacular, and you can see Puu Piei, Puu Manamana, and Puu Ohulehule together.

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