OHE March 4, 1998

Date: Wed, 4 Mar 1998 11:33:59 -1000
From: Grant Tokumi (gtokumi@aloha.net>
Subject: Pu'u Kalena (fwd)

Alex and his hiking crew went to Puu Kalena this past weekend too.
Here's his story.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 1 Mar 1998 09:06:07 -0600
From: ALEX H OKIHARA (OKIHARA@prodigy.net>
To: Grant Tokumi (gtokumi@aloha.net>
Subject: Pu'u Kalena

Date:  Saturday, February 28
Hike:  Pu'u Kalena
Party:  Wayne Shibata, Scot Yamashita, Alex Okihara
Time Started:  10:03 AM
Time Finished:  6:33 PM
Round trip duration:  8 hours, 30 minutes
Time to Pu'u Kalena:  5 hours, 10 minutes

The Story:

Recently, whenever I've gone hiking, we always take the wrong trail. Today was no exception. Not reading Stuart Ball's directions thoroughly, our crew parked at the grassy lot across from the sign that reads "Rock Quarry." We then tried walking 25 yards down Kolekole road to find a trail. We spotted several openings, but there was no distinct trail. We spent about 15-20 minutes trying to find a trail, but to no avail (hey that rhymes). Scot, the adventurer, suggested going up by the rock quarry gate. It looked very steep, but we proceeded up the eroded section that lies to the right of the gate. What a climb! When we got to the top of the eroded section, we found ourselves on a road in the rock quarry. After several minutes of thinking which way would be the best to ascend to the ridge, we decided to try our luck by going to the right. It was very overgrown! After several minutes of wondering if we had made the right choice, we found a trail.

As the trail ascended, we finally found ourselves on a well established trail. Proceeding up on the ridge, I wondered what lay in store for us. I had heard of the steep dike sections along this hike, and the stories scared me. But I was very curious at the same time, so along we went.

We reached a section where we saw the first US Coast and Geological Survey benchmark. A trail led down to the left of it, and we decided to see how the view was from that trail. After talking story for about 10 minutes or so, we headed back up along the trail to Pu'u Ku Makali'i.

After some difficult climbing and some narrow sections, we reached Pu'u Ku Makali'i and saw the distinct peak (as mentioned in Stuart Ball's book) in the distance. We all thought that that was Pu'u Kalena. When we finally reached it, though, I had a feeling that we weren't there yet. For one thing, we hadn't been hiking for too long. It was too soon for us to reach Kalena. Also, the map in Ball's book made me think that we had a ways to go. Mt. Ka'ala was too far away. But my friends thought otherwise. The trail shot to the left sharply, and it looked like we would end up on a different ridge. They just wanted to eat lunch and go back. But being the stubborn and persistent person that I am, I convinced them to follow my lead. So on we went.

We came to a very narrow section. It was so cool. It was so scary too. It was very fun. I love the mixture of emotions that run through your body in situations like these. The narrow section made me think of Christmas music for some reason. "Sleigh bells ring, areyou listenin'..."

After crossing the narrow section, and going up another peak (the one with the rope to help you), we decided it was time to eat lunch. It was about 12:40 pm or so. Out came the Zip Pacs! I enjoy zip pacs a lot. A lot of it has to do with the convenience of walking into any Zippy's and buying a meal packed perfectly for hiking. It comes in its own container and has a good variety. The only thing about taking a zip pac with you on a hike is that all the food falls to one side of the zip pac (I always store my zip pac vertically in my back pack). Today was a special day for me because I scored TWO fishies in my pac! Everyone else had only one. Whooo-hooo!

At about 1:15 pm, we finished our lunch and looked out into the distant Mt. Kalena. It was so far! It was at least 2 hours away, by my estimate. We started hiking again. We went up, and we went down. We went up and we went down. Everytime we got closer, the mountain seemed to move farther away. Along the way, we saw many interesting plants and flowers. I especially enjoy the moss that grows on the trees and on the ground in certain areas. I just want to put it on my head and walk around and see if people notice my green hair.

There were also some cherry guavas, yum yum! I didn't see any worms inside, but then again, I didn't really look. There were also some thimbleberries along the way, which I enjoy a lot.

Anyway, up and down we went. There were many saddle places. Also, some sections had tricky footing because parts of the trail were overgrown, and you couldn't see the ground clearly.

Going up was very steep. Every section that we went up was pretty steep.

Finally, after about 2 hours, we reached the peak of Pu'u Kalena. It had taken about 5 hours to reach Kalena. I had expected to find a bottle that people put notes in, but I didn't see anything. I was trying to search for a good view to take pictures, but there were many tall plants in the way. The peak is not a good place for picture taking. Also, there was a lot of thorny bush at the top. We stayed up there for about 15 minutes, and decided we should head back down so we don't get stuck in the dark. It was about 3:36 pm.

Heading back was killer on the knees. Up and down we went, all over again. As we approached our lunch site, we saw people coming up the ridge. When we finally met up with them, we talked story with them for a little while, and we learned that they had come up on a different trail than us. This trail was located by the first benchmark. We also told them how long it took to reach the peak, and they decided to turn around. We gave them a head start, and then we followed a little bit later when they were out of sight over the next peak.

We decided that we should go down the trail that they came up on. So when we got to the benchmark, we turned right onto a trail. About 20 feet down, I saw 2 spiders on two well established webs, blocking the path. I thought to myself, "There's no way those people came down this way." The spider webs would have been broken.

In the distance, we saw them on the trail and asked if they had come the way we were going. They told us that they had gone further, past the benchmark, and then turned right onto a trail. I went a little further on our path to see if we could just go down the trail we were on, but I hit a steep rock face. We decided to turn around and take the trail that our fellow hikers had taken.

So back we went, and down we went. Down, down, down. Very killer on the knees.

After we had past several eroded sections, we came to a road. To the right were stairs. Stairs! I thought to myself, "We were really off track this time!" We went down the stairs and finally made it back to Kolekole Road. Our hiking buddies were very nice and offered to give us a ride to our car in the next lot. Thanks guys!

We finally made it back to my car, at 6:33 pm, 8 hours and 30 minutes later. What an adventure!

Notes: There are many good views along the trail. The narrow sections weren't as bad as I thought they would be. I liked the many different types of plants and flowers. We also saw a lot (and I mean a lot) of orange butterflies. It must have been butterfly season. There were also some huge dragonflies, about 7 inches long. This hike was more difficult than exhausting because of the steep sections and sometimes tricky footing. It is a hardcore hike though.

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