OHE March 1, 1999 (Paka's outings)

Date: Mon, 1 Mar 1999 16:10:18 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@mailhost.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Hiking Accomplishments - 2/23 thru 2/28

== Tuesday, February 23, Ka'au Crater... Pau Hana ==

Paid a visit to Palolo Valley, the location of "a little-known crater nestled against the Ko'olau summit"*. For security reasons, I parked .3 miles down from the normal parking area and after changing into appropriate hiking attire inside the pat-mobile, continued on foot mauka along Waiomao Road at 5 p.m.

Experienced the normal "greeting" from the dogs (all bark and no bite) shortly before going around the board of water supply fence. Heard a local wahine voice from the house call out "Kip! Jack!" (the name of the dogs, no doubt). Descended to Waiomao stream on two switchbacks and forded it. The waterway was flowing nicely and lots of ginger existed along the banks. Accomplished five stream crossings before experiencing a lengthy contour section. Spotted the first steep thirty foot waterfall and dropped down to get a better look. A few minutes later, I climbed above it using ropes/cables.

Pressing on, I traveled thru a rain forest, tramped in the stream bed and sat down a few feet below the shallow pool of the second waterfall at 5:45 p.m. I could have kept going but decided to relax and enjoy the falls. A few minutes past 6 p.m. I headed back to my car.

== Wednesday, February 24, Pu'u O'Hulu... Pau Hana ==

Literally "O'Hulu's hill or hill of O'Hulu", Pu'u O'Hulu is the name given to the twin peaks located near the ocean between Nanakuli and Ma'ili on the leeward coast of Oahu.

Having been temporarily relocated to the D.O.E. Kapolei office, I took advantage of the situation. Parked on Kaukama Road in Ma'ili beside a fairly new housing development and continued on foot at 5:10 p.m. Traveled makai on Kaukama then scaled the slope of O'Hulu Kai, hiked past four abandoned bunkers (pill boxes) and arrived at the summit (elev. 856 ft) at 5:30 p.m. The footpath is hot, rocky and sometimes dusty accompanied by little or no vegetation, typical of most Waianae Trails.

Pressing on, I descended gradually along the crest or around rock outcroppings to a watertank. Negotiated a narrow dike then climbed steadily in route to the apex of O'Hulu Uka (elev. 715 ft). Descended a short distance further then sat down to rest at 6:05 p.m.

Sweeping views were mine of the leeward coast from the foot of Keaau Ridge to Barbers Point Harbor including but not limited to Mount Ka'ala (socked in), Pu'u Kalena, and Pu'u Kaua (lit. "more mountain"). Slightly to the right, Pu'u Heleakala, and dead ahead in the distance, the white cliffs of Palikea. Mighty Kamaileunu Ridge and Waianae Valley were also visible with vast Lualualei Valley stretched out before me.

Commenced the return leg at 6:09 p.m. retracing my steps along the ridge. Paused briefly and took pleasure from the superb sun set before gaining the summit of O'Hulu Kai. Descended steeply on the ocean facing ridge and emerged onto Kaukama as darkness set in at 7:02 p.m.

== Thursday, February 25, Pu'u Kepauala... Pau Hana ==

Please refer to the write-up posted on Friday afternoon, February 26.

== Friday, February 26, Konahuanui... Pau Hana ==

"Konahuanui is the name given to the twin summits above Nu'uanu Pali. At 3,150 ft the taller of the two is the highest peak in the Ko'olau Range."* Easily the most challenging of all Pau Hana hikes, Konahuanui was my goal as I departed work this past Friday afternoon.

Drove up Tantalus Drive and parked across from the Kalawahine Trail. Following final preps, I approached the trailhead at 4:54 p.m. Encountered three Korean hikers and five others including two keikis as I made my way along the graded contour footpath in and out of a series of gullies. At a junction I went left onto the Pauoa Flats Trail and tramped over lots of roots thru a thick forest. Recognized a bamboo grove at the junction with the Aihualama Trail.

Emerged from the woods at the Nu'uanu Valley overlook (elev. 1,600 ft) at 5:36 p.m. The late afternoon sun lit up the twin peaks of Konahuanui beautifully and they were completely clear of clouds. Accomplished two tough climbs over two humps in the ridge thru more vegetation as Diamond Head and Manoa Valley came into view with Mount Tantalus directly behind. Above the Nuuanu Valley saddle I could see Kaneohe Bay and Kawaewae Ridge as well.

Next came a relatively level section followed by a stretch of dead Australian Tea trees (terrific job to whoever did the damage). At this point I observed prominent windward peaks to the north, namely, Kanehoalani, Turnover, Manamana, Piei and Ohulehule.

Two more steep ascents ensued before I arrived at the pinnacle of Konahuanui peak number one at a benchmark at 6:21 p.m. A fog existed on the windward side of the summit ridge toward Olympus and I was surrounded by quite a bit of native flora. A basic decision had to be made - continue on to peak number two and hike almost the entire return leg in the dark or gain pleasure from the excellent vistas from below peak number one and make it down to the level section before serious darkness set in. Swallowed my pride and chose the latter option.

After sitting for a time and watching the sun disappear below the horizon, I started down at 6:33 p.m. I felt a chill in the air prior to the steep descents. Once beyond the Australian Tea, I employed my flashlight to spot any protruding roots or branches which might cause a mishap. Later, the stream on the Nuuanu side of the ridge became audible and the moon light lit up the region nicely.

Observed the Honolulu city lights before reaching the Nuuanu Valley overlook at 7:45 p.m. Looking back at Konahuanui, the twin peaks appeared ominous in the distance.

The moon light penetrated parts of the bamboo forest and the wooded area of Pauoa Flats making the broad trail less confusing to follow in the dark. With footing less of a problem and prior experience in moonlight hiking, I actually enjoyed the final few miles halting on several occasions to study the surrounding topography. At 8:25 p.m. I entered the pat-mobile and took off for home.

== Saturday, February 27, Mount Ohulehule ==

Hooked up with my hiking buddy Laredo (red hair on this day) and a new friend Kent Bien to conquer the craggy peak. Saturday was a glorious day on Oahu weather wise with clear summits (except Ka'ala or so I've been told). However, some haze and steamy conditions were also a part of the mix (winds light and variable).

We got off to a late start parking at the entrance to the Hawaiian Homelands housing in Kahana Valley at 10:38 p.m. Kirby Young recently posted an excellent description of the trail so I won't duplicate the info. We three amigos huffed and puffed and sweated in route to the pinnacle gaining the apex shortly before 1 p.m.

Enjoyed breathtaking vistas of the surrounding undeveloped valleys and sweeping views of the Ko'olau Range from the steep west wall of Punalu'u Valley all the way to Makapu'u Point. A portion of the Laie Coast was also visible. I improved on my previous hacka-shaq efforts before we departed the summit a few minutes prior to 2 p.m.

Did we traverse the mountain by descending a different ridge? I'll answer that question with a quote from Ball "In its (the southeast ridge) present condition the trail from the base (of the pyramid) to the summit is unsafe, even for experienced hikers."**

Mount Ohulehule is "the craggy peak which dominates the windward coast from Kahalu'u to Punalu'u. It stands alone, being only loosely connected to the Ko'olau summit ridge. Radiating from its slopes are 4 undeveloped valleys, Kahana, Ka'a'awa, Hakipu'u and Waikane. Ohulehule is a classic mountain, beautiful but dangerous."**

Kaiwa Ridge moon rise

Dropped Laredo off at his home in Haiku Valley then drove to Kailua to pick up some kau kau. At about 7 p.m. I entered Lanikai and parked on the shoulder near the Mid Pacific Golf Course in front of the Blue Stone condo turnaround area.

Got my stuff together and accomplished the climb along the ridge to the stacked bunkers (elev. 565 ft) in approx. fifteen minutes where I lay down to rest. The nearly full moon had already risen a significant distance above the horizon and was partially obscured by high clouds. I consumed dinner, put on a sweater (the light and variable winds made for chilly conditions) and patiently waited for the clouds to move.

During the interlude a man and his young son arrived at the concrete structure and we exchanged greetings. After asking if I didn't mind their company they dropped down to the lower bunker and ate dinner. The boy consumed a McDonalds happy meal and following the feast, placed his head on his father's stomach as they both gazed up into the night sky. A touching scene of a man and his son bonding. Eventually, the clouds dissipated revealing lots of stars (the bow and arrow constellation, the twins and even the big dipper just prior to my departure), the moon almost completely overhead.

The man and his son departed and I enjoyed the almost perfect conditions until 9:30 p.m. The sky was completely clear as I reluctantly headed back down the ridge, the moon light so bright that I didn't even have to use my flashlight!

== Sunday, February 28, Powerline Trail maintenance/Pu'u Keahi a kahoe loop ==

Joined a bunch (atleast thirty) of HTM trail clearers for the Moanalua Valley trail clearing event. Most of the participants opted to work on the valley trail while a handful of us (Ralph Valentino, Dayle Turner, Jim Pushaw, Doug Klein, Arnold Fujioka, and myself) headed up the powerline trail to do some regrading and clearing. I spoke with boss lady Kekina the previous Sunday about the project and called Stuart Ball (the coordinator assigned to the upcoming HTM Pu'u Keahi a kahoe hike) during the week to get his feedback. Both agreed that we should give it a try. Although steamy (due to light and variable winds), Sunday was another picture perfect day of clear summits, blue sky and lots of sunshine.

The group of six hiked the valley road to its terminus (about 3 miles) in a little over an hour. Upon taking a water break, the six men headed mauka up a trail. Dayle led the way while I brought up the rear replacing old ribbon with new at the appropriate places.

Instructions were for minimum clearing. The brunt of the work would be of the pick and shovel variety. As reported in atleast two of his write-ups, Sergio Lotenschtein noted that some of the contour sections on the powerline trail have become dangerously narrow because of erosion, slippage and landslides over the years. Based on the recommendation of Mabel Kekina, it appeared that HTM would abandon the graded footpath despite protests from Ken Suzuki, Grant Oka and myself.

As I cleared and tied ribbon I continuously evaluated the trail asking myself "does this section need work?". When I caught up to Doug at the first rope, Ralph and Arnold were busy above us digging out the contour. Mr. Klein had suffered a cut on his scalp as a result of a violent collision with a large guava tree, blood oozing down his forehead. Despite his wound he continued to help repair the trail digging steps in the soil. As soon as I reached the contour I started laboring with Arnold and Ralph while Doug moved ahead of them to join Dayle and Jim who were clearing further up the valley wall.

Much to my surprise OHE-L's Mark Short came cranking up the steep rope section (he had descended the middle ridge and was in the process of completing the loop). Two men and two women also took advantage of the improvements as they went past me heading for the summit.

Once Ralph, Arnold and I felt that we had adequately improved the contour we moved on to other segments which needed work. Ralph and I agreed that we should bring rope and pitons on the day of the Keahi a kahoe trailclearing to make the dicey spots safer, esp. "Mabel's rock", a slippery boulder which sits right in the middle of the footpath.

At 11:45 a.m. Ralph, Arnold and I emerged from the graded section, passed under powerline poles (hence the name of the trail) and ascended steeply to the Tripler Ridge Trail. Desiring to eat lunch at the Tripler topping out point, I kept moving catching up to Doug in the process. I made visual contact with Dayle and Jim who were under the abandoned radar tower dining/napping. Meanwhile, Ralph and Arnold sat down on the apex of Tripler's false summit to consume the midday meal.

Doug and I hiked together and upon gaining a flat grassy knob (elev. 2,760 ft) of the Ko'olau summit ridge, congregated with the two men and two women who had passed us earlier in the day.

The peak featured a superb panorama. To windward triple peaked Olomana, Kaupo Cliffs, Pu'u O'Kona, Konahuanui, massive Lanihuli, Kaiwa Ridge, the Mokulua Islands, Mokapu Penninsula and Kaneohe Bay. To Leeward Moanalua Valley spread out before us, Pearl Harbor, and the Waianae Range. Also noteworthy, the Ko'olau summit ridge as it continued northward.

The party of four finished their lunch and departed for Pu'u Keahi a kahoe. Doug succeeded (and passed) them soon after while I waited for Ralph and Arnold. Once my fellow trail builders arrived we admired the sites for quite a while.

With Ralph taking the lead our trio began the cross over to Keahi a kahoe at approx. 1 p.m. I fell far behind choosing a much more deliberate pace taking in the views and studying the abundance of native flora starting on the summit ridge above the abandoned radar.

Completed the traverse in an hour reaching the Keahi a kahoe (lit. "kahoe's fire or fire of kahoe") benchmark (elev. 2,820 ft). Again, I experienced magnificent vistas, this time of the sheer fluted cliffs of Haiku Valley, toward Kualoa (Ohulehule, Piei, Manamana, Turnover, Kanehoalani) and of the Waimalu Middle Ridge in the distance.

Pressing on, I spotted more natives along the upper half of the Moanalua Valley middle ridge including ohia and lapalapa trees, loulu palms, lobeliads, ferns, etc. Methodically descended the middle ridge pausing briefly to study the Moanalua Valley saddle (spotted the newly created swath on the side ridge which leads to the saddle while doing so). Noted the existance of many koa trees in the lower region of the middle ridge.

Found myself walking on the valley road a few minutes past 3:30 p.m. While sitting at the edge of a stream near one of the bridges, Ken, Thomas and Lynn approached me and together we completed the return leg to the park.


* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.

** Unpublished notes from THE HIKER'S GUIDE TO O'AHU. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1993.

== Paka

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