Friday, 5/23--In preparation for an upcoming (6-6 to 6-10) ascent of Mauna Loa, I hiked up Aiea Heights Drive to the start of the Aiea Loop Trail with full pack. I didn't do the loop trail because I didn't want to get my shoes muddy. That would happen in spades in a couple days. :-)
Saturday, 5-24--Joined hiking buddy Bill Melemai, his son Willie, and Bill's nephew Keoni, for an overnighter at Palama Uka, a camp in the mountains between Haleiwa and Wahiawa. We did one short hike to a quaint little swimming hole in Kawai Iki Stream. We named the place "White Cliff Pool" because of a prominent overhanging rockface above the swimming hole. BTW, the Palaa Uka Pupukea military road is in the worst shape I've ever seen it. The ruts are deep, wide, and waiting to swallow up the unwary or unskilled driver.
Sunday, 5-25--As usual, I spent my Sunday with the trail maintenance gang of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club. Our task for the day was to clear the Koloa Kai Trail, a short 2-3 mile loop mauka of Pounder's beach out Hauula way on the windward side. Lightweight stuff but interesting nonetheless because I had never hiked the route before.
Monday, 5-26--Pat "Psycho" Rorie, Pat's buddy Laredo, Dr. Pete "Pekelo" Caldwell, and I gobbled up a big enchilada by going up Poamoho (2.5 to 3 miles--70 minutes), heading north on the Koolau Summit Trail--passing junctions with the Peahinaia, Castle, and Kawailoa trails along the way (6 miles--7 hours), and descending to windward on the Laie Trail (6 miles--2 hours, 45 minutes). We began just before 8:30 a.m. and emerged from the Laie hills close to 8pm. We couldn't have scripted a better day weatherwise for our odyssey--no clouds on the summit, high overcast most of the day, cool temps, light breezes. Views to windward and leeward were superb. Big time mud and plenty of of uluhe and clidemia to embrace us. Stepped gingerly past three maggot-infested, dead pua'a on the trail--Pete and Patrick even had a live one bolt past them.
The KST is not something I'd recommend doing on a day when clouds inhabit the summit spine. Why? First, the hike would become mere drudgery since views are what make this trek (and proceeding in much more than a mile per hour is VERY unlikely because of the mud and overgrown nature of the path). Second, and more importantly, ascertaining one's bearings would be more difficult if cloud cover is factored into the mix (don't do it without a compass and topo map). Yesterday, we lost the trail in 3 or 4 instances, and the conditions were sparkling clear. Throw in some clouds, and confusion, frustration, and panic (heaven forbid) could easily result.
I'll probably write a more detailed narrative about this trek, and Patrick may do the same. And I have some other write-ups in various stages of completion to churn out. Until then, gang....