OHE March 29, 1999 (Lanihuli)

Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 07:45:42 -1000
From: Nathan Yuen (nyuen@lava.net>
Subject: The Mists of Lanihuli 

(a version of this has been posted the newsgroup "soc.culture.hawaii")

For almost 3 years now, I've felt an inexplicable urge to climb to top of Lanihuli, that prominent peak on the Koolau Mountains that looms over the Ewa end of Nuuanu Valley. Whenever I drive into Honolulu and gaze at Lanihuli way-off in the distance I always feel the peak beckoning to me. Well today... I finally had the chance to do just that.

Despite blustery and rainy conditions this morning and the fact that the Koolau Range was completly shrouded in dark omnious clouds, about two dozen of us die-hard HTMC trail-clearers began the ascent of Lanihuli through a small shielded side-valley on the west-side of Nuuanu Valley that has been carved by the prodigous rainfall that showers the cliffs of Lanihuli. As we made our way up the stream we encountered 7 beautiful waterfalls, one of them almost 75 feet tall! It was truly magnificent to see the waters crash into the pools at the foot of these falls before meandering in the stream across the vally floor.

As we climbed up the side of a ridge to reach the top of Lanihuli, I could not help but hear playing over and over in my mind, the hauntingly beautiful strains of Kealii Reichel's "Lei Halia" which talks of the beauty of Lanihuli.

Lei Hali'a (composed by Puakea Nogelmeier, performed by Kealii Reichel)

 He ahu a'o Lanihuli            Lanihuli is laden like an altar
 No ka noe o Nu'uanu            For the mists of Nu'uanu
 Nu'alia i ka po'ai pali        Amassed there in the circle of cliffs
 I ka pa iki mai o ke Kona e    By the sultry buffetting of the Kona wind
 He ohu i ka lei hali'a         Adorned with a lei of fond recollection
 'Ala mapu i ke anuhea          A permeating fragrance that comes sweetly
 Hea mai i ke aumoe             Beckoning to me in the deep of night
 Moemoea moe malie i ka poli e  Dream, sleep gently, there in the heart

 Luhiehu ka lau o ka palai      The fronds of palai are luxuriant
 Papalua i ke kilihuna          Doubly so in the fine misty rain
 Kilihea ka liko 'ahihi         Bedewed are the young shoots of ahihi
 Hihimanu, hihipe'a me ka maile e  Elegant entwined in an abundent maile

 'Aumao 'o Konahuanui           Konahuanui shoulders the burden
 I ke ao hakumakuma             Lifting the dark heavy clouds
 Ku mahiehie Kilohana           That Kilohana, in its glory, may rise
 Ua po i ke ala hinano e        Mantled in the hedy frangerance of hinano

As we began our ascent out of the valley and onto the ridge-line, the sun began to emerge (only partially at first) from behind the clouds. Higher and higher we climbed through thick mounds of light green uluhe ferns interupted by stately ohia trees until suddenly, we were high enough to see the summit of Lanihuli! And it was clear of clouds! This was quite unusual because it was still a cloudy day and the surrounding peaks--Konahuanui 2 miles to the east and Kahuauli 2 miles to the west--were completely socked-in by clouds. Only Lanihuli was open!

Feeling the lure of Lanihuli pulling on me, I woofed down lunch quickly and rallied the group to strike for the summit. As we climbed ever higher up the mountain peak, I began to see a mist beginning to tickle the very top of the peak. Motivating me to climb faster before the clouds shrouded the view, I quickened my pace until... I reached the top! I was so happy to finally be where I had for so long dreamed! And it was even more wonderful that I expected! I could see spectacular windward coast and the off-shore islands of Mokoli'i (Chinaman's hat), Moku O Loe (Coconut Island) and Moku Lua islands as well as the many fish-ponds that line the shallow light-blue waters of Kaneohe Bay. Within minutes of our reaching the top, a thick mist descended upon us and began to obscure the view. Given that the wind was blowing quite hard and made the mist quite cold, it was alas... time to leave.

As we made our way back down the mountain side, I reflected on what I had experienced at Lanihuli. I enjoyed the magnificent waterfalls, the many varieties of Hawaiian ferns--palapalai, pala'a, uluhe, waiwai'iole, moa, and hapu; the lovely tender pink shoots of liko lehua; the dainty orange-yellow blossoms of the ilima; the unusual purple half-flowers of the naupaka kuahiwi; and how the cool mists of Lanihuli felt on my face. Such wonderful memories that will stay with me forever.

      o    o     __ __
       \  /    '       `
        |/   /     __    \      Mai hehi ia'u (Don't Tread on Me!)
      (`  \ '    '    \   '
        \  \|   |   @_/   |        Nathan Yuen 
         \   \   \       /--/
          ` ___ ___ ___ __ '

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