OHE May 4, 1997

Greetings Oahu hiking enthusiasts!

Got word from list members Art Neilson and Kurt Heilbron about hikes they went on this weekend. Art and his wife-to-be climbed Pu'u Kaua in the Waianae Range and Kurt walked-the-walk by completing the always pulse-raising windward Koolau hike--Pu'u Manamana.

Later on today (if time permits), you'll hear from me about a trek Pat Rorie and I took up Poamoho, along the Koolau Summit Trail and down Schofield-Waikane. Pat and I agree that the summit section between Poamoho and S-W is the best hiking we've done on Oahu. The Pyscho-man will also describe a side-jaunt along the summit trail toward Kipapa.

If anyone else was out and about in the mountains this weekend, please feel free to email me your narrative and I'll post it for list members to read.

Okay, here's Art:

Saturday 5/3/97 did Pu'u Kaua with my fiance Margie. Started at the trail head 11:30, reached the summit at 1:30. The trail is still just as steep as I remember it, fortunately it was mostly overcast and cool where we were so Margie was able to keep up. The trail doesn't get interesting until you gain the top of the ridge that goes to Kaua. Once you get to the top of the ridge it gets rocky and there's more native plants and stuff. Some really nice Ohia, Pukiawe and Koa are up there. The summit is covered with molasses grass, some ti and Ohia. Of course there are some ugly Lantana and Christmas berry.

The view was spectacular. 360 degree view of Pu'u Kanehoa and Hapapa to the North, Kolekole pass (you can see the white cross!) , Kumakalii, Kalena and Ka'ala with the Satellite tracking array decorating the summit. The Koolau chain looks awesome to the East, you can see the range North from Pupukea all the way south to Konahuanui. Central Oahu with its Pineapple fields and Pearl harbor spreads out to the South and Lualualei with its evil looking armament bunkers is displayed to the West. We ate lunch on the summit, I had 2 ice cold Budweisers from my Hawaiian Cooler and Marge ate a sandwich. We stayed up there for an hour then headed south along the summit trail at 2:30.

The summit trail was really overgrown at first, I was busy whacking down thorny lantana and spreading apart overgrown uluhe so Margie could follow the trail. After a bit it cleared and the trail got rockier. we descended Kaua following the summit trail, eventually reaching a long even section of the summit where a foot high rock cairn lay marking the trail down. The top rock in the cairn was wrapped with a blue marker ribbon just the way I remembered it. Standing at the cairn and looking down it's pretty hard to identify any kind of trail. It looks as if you're going to scramble down the side of a cliff or something. But the trail is there.

Follow the groove you have to kinda scooch down on your okole using your glove protected hands to control your descent. The trail is poorly marked, the ribbons I saw were very old. Some faded orange, some blue. Follow the side ridge down down down til the rate of descent tapers off. After a while you walk thru a silk oak forest on the ridge covered with Honohono grass. The trail seems to dead end at some rocks you can't climb down. We went down the side into the gulch and followed it out till we hit the Honouliuli Trail.

You are suposed to get permission to do this trail as it is on Nature Conservancy land. I'm a docent for the Conservancy so I'm legit ;^). Anyway, tread lightly on this aina as there are many endangered species up there. This is one of my most favorite trails, I love the view from the summit and Kaua is such a landmark I see it every day heading home on the freeway.

Here's Kurt Heilbron:
Well, I did Pu'u Manamana today. This is not a hike for beginners. I did it alone which was not a good idea either. Anyway, the hike was as nasty as you described it. The cable sections were dangerous but I felt compelled to complete this hike.

I was surprised at how overgrown the upper sections were. I wore shorts and got a little scratched up. I noticed that near the top there seemed to be another trail that headed down in the Kaneohe direction. I wonder if there is another way to reach the peak.

I started at 12:00 P.M. and reached the top at 3:00 P.M. After a brief lunch break I headed back down. The trail going down was also a challenge. I can't believe how razor thin it was in some areas. It took me about an hour and a half to get down. I emerged in some old cemetary. I kept thinking to myself " I wonder if this is where they bury the hikers who didn't make it (grin)."

All in all in was a truly a fantastic hike. I will do it again someday but next time it will be with a partner. This hike is no walk in the park. I took some pictures which I will put up on my web page.

Anyway, take care and keep up the fantastic web page of yours!

Kurt...


As always, hike safe gang.

--Dayle

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