OHE March 3, 1998

Date: Tue, 3 Mar 1998 13:11:18 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Schofield-Waikane Trail Maintenance

Participated in the HTMC Schofield-Waikane (S-W) trail maintenance activity on Sunday, March 1st, with Grant Oka (HTMC Prez, S-W hike coordinator on March 15th ), Grant's teenage daughter Georgina, John Hall, Jay Feldman, Will Kawano, Thomas Yoza, Lita Komura, June Miyasato, Naomi Nasu, Dayle Turner (sporting new gortex gators - designed to keep debris from getting into footwear and vegetation (mainly uluhe) from scratching the shin area of the leg), famous woman hiker, Bill Gorst, Kim Roy, Judy Roy, Ralph Valentino, Carole "Ripley" Moon, Bob Butchart, Gerald Leao, Mel Yoshioka and last but certainly not least the boss lady Mabel Kekina. Nathan Yuen (on hiatus in New Orleans) and Kenji Suzuki (hike coordinator for HTMC Halawa Ridge hike that same day) were absent. Find room in your heart to forgive me if I failed to mention anybody's name.

I arrived first at the entrance to the U. S. Army ranger training facility near the end (top) of California Ave. in Wahiawa. It was a gorgeous day with lots of sunshine and light and variable winds. There was a new electric gate at the entrance so I parked a few feet short of it along the fence. Before doing so Kim and Judy drove past my position in route to the very end of Calif. Ave. near the water tanks.

Lita arrived next and parked behind my car. A short time later Grant and his daughter pulled up. Almost at the same time an army dude in his jeep arrived on the other side of the fence and caused the gate to open. I headed up toward the water tanks to alert Kim and Judy meanwhile Grant and Lita passed thru the gate on their way to the ranger parking area. Eventually all of the crew parked and assembled in the parking area taking care of final preps.

We then proceeded up the dirt/stone road to the trailhead carpooling in Ralph's truck, Thomas' 4x4 vehicle, Mabel's Isuzu Trooper and Gerald's passenger car. I had the pleasure of riding in the flat bed of Ralph's truck with several others. On the way a couple of the women folk pointed to the rappelling tower as we passed it saying something like "piece of cake" (on February 7th members of the trail maintenance crew did some rappelling near Kawainui swamp in Kailua coached by Jim Yuen). Ralph's truck bottomed out on a couple of occasions due to mean looking ruts in the road but the thrill ride ended soon enough. Mabel went back to get Gerald fearing his passenger car would get stuck !

As I sharpened my bolo knife FWH, Carole, June and Naomi shot out ahead of the group down the 4.5 mile (one way) graded ridge trail. I followed them a few minutes later accompanied by Dayle and Bob.

The first 1.5 miles were in terrific shape having been maintained by the State with the use of weedwackers. I marveled at the mossy earth walls along the trail (normally covered with uluhe), the uluhe having been completed removed from them several feet above my head. The women in front of me eventually took a water break so Dayle and I passed them. Unfortunately the 1.5 miles came to an end marked by an orange plastic pipe in the ground so out came the cutting implements.

For approx. the next 1.5 miles the group broke up, working on different parts of the trail. Some (Thomas, John Hall, Bob) never even made it to the summit sacrificing that desire to spend more time clearing. And an excellent clearing job they did. Hats off to them for sure. Meanwhile, Bill and Will pushed thru to the summit with plans of clearing on the way down when it was cooler. The rest of us did some solid labor along the way but because of the incredible humidity pushed thru to the top taking 1 hour and 10 minutes to do so.

At the S-W summit (elev. 2,360 ft) we ate lunch and enjoyed outstanding views of 4 undeveloped valleys - Punalu'u, Kahana, Kaaawa, and Waikane. The peaks of Pu'u Piei, Turnover, the true Manamana, Kanehoalani, Pu'u O'Kila, Pu'u Koiele, and Mount Ohulehule (dead ahead and partially socked in) also got our attention. Albeezia (sp ?) trees in Kahana Valley below along with lines of loulu palms along the side of the Ko'olau summit crest were a delight to the eye. The Ko'olau Summit Trail (KST) to the north and the Waikane contour trail to the south were clearly visible cut magnificently along the side of the mountain. Dayle and I had hoped to visit the peak of Pu'u Ka'aumakua but it was socked in and energy levels were low. During lunch Lita gave Dayle one of her sandwhiches and later Dayle took a nap to the right of the summit as one faces Kahana directly in the path of the KST !

Clouds moved in as members of the crew began departing the summit, clearing the trail as they went. Kim and Judy were followed by Jay, Carole, Ralph, June, Naomi and Mel. I was next in line a considerable distance behind with Dayle and Grant bringing up the rear. The early afternoon and some cloud cover brought cooler temperatures during the descent (but don't be deceieved - it was still very hot !). We did an adequate job of clearing the upper section of the trail while some of the others especially FWH busted their butts to clear to the wall in the middle segment. On the way down Naomi and Grant provided extra water to those who were low or had run out. Once the final group reached the orange pipe in the ground we took one last water break and put away cutting tools. Afterward I raced ahead of the others eventually passing Carole and catching up with Jay, Kim and Judy a few hundred yards before the final climb to the DLNR sign which marks the beginning of the trail.

Mabel's truck was parked a short distance down a dirt road (not the one we used to reach the trailhead) near a tree which provided some shade. The others were enjoying beverages and looking at photos Bill had taken on the Makapuu-Tom-Tom trail clearing a few weeks back. Meanwhile, Mabel and Thomas were conversing with some dudes who had stumbled upon us. They knew the area well and had apparently come from Mililani Mauka. The heart of the discussion was how to reach the Kipapa Ridge trail by crossing Kipapa Gulch from Mililani Mauka. Thomas busted out his topo map and he and I agreed to go check it out after the post-hike festivities.

A few minutes after Grant came crawling out of the woods everyone climbed into a vehicle and we traveled back to the ranger parking area. Grinds, goodies and more drinks were consumed by all. I provided Randy and Kathleen's cookies as an extra bonus, made the photos they sent me available for viewing and modeled a green "Friend's of Haiku Stairs" t-shirt (a limited number are still available so please let me know if you'd like one).

Thomas, Bill and Jay took off for Mililani Mauka and I started my car and followed them ten minutes later.

Notes: The Schofield-Waikane Trail is ready for the HTMC hike on March 15th. Its not MEMBERS ONLY so plan on attending. This grueling March 1st trail maintenance (TM) ranks right up there with Ka'au Crater TM (9/14/98) and Pu'u Manamana TM (10/12/98) in terms of difficulty and exhaustion. Fortunately, there were enough people to get the job done.

== Patrick

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