Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 09:04:37 -1000 From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@HEKILI.K12.HI.US> Subject: Pu'u O'Hulu... Pau Hana
Took the "Psychopaths... Pau Hana" series to the leeward coast for a change of scenery yesterday (Thursday, May 14th).
Departed work at 4:05 p.m. and patiently grinded thru traffic (better known as the H-1 parking lot) until I arrived in Ma'ili which is between Nanakuli and Waianae towns. I turned right onto Kaukama Road and as I was checking out the area looking for the trailhead of Pu'u O'Hulu, a decent sized ridge which stands alone originating on the edge of the Waianae coastline, I noticed a man with his dog going up a trail toward the top of O'Hulu Kai.
Parked near a fairly new housing development on Kaukama Road and started walking back toward the ocean at 5:08 p.m. A couple of minutes later I began scrambling up the trail I had seen the man and dog on. Kiawe, loose lava rock, and parched low level grass were encountered.
Ten minutes later I gained the ridge line and headed mauka, ascending toward a group of four bunkers. Dr. Fred Dodge's yellow ribbons marked the route along the crest. It was unusually windy and the trail was wide open.
After reaching the uppermost bunker, I traversed a short relatively level stretch then gradually descended the narrow ridge toward a yellow watertank.
The Waianae Range was completely clear of cloud cover with excellent views of Pu'u Kaua (almost dead ahead), Pu'u Kanehoa, Pu'u Hapapa, Kolekole Pass, Kalena, Kaala, noname peak, Kawiwi, and Kamaileunu. Wing's Keaau Ridge was also recognizable down the coast toward Makaha. The whole of Lualualei Valley was spread out before me.
The trail contoured on the left in several spots but I discovered that it was more exciting to walk along the top of the spine. At 5:52 p.m. I found myself moving along a fence above the watertank. Shortly thereafter I began ascending toward the summit of O'Hulu Uka. Crossed a narrow dike with steep dropoffs on both sides. The ridge widened, I got to the apex of Uka and then descended gradually toward the end of the ridge.
Choosing not to go all the way down, I paused to look around. I could see the smoke of the most recent brush fire emanating from a location close to the ridge which connects Pu'u Heleakala and Palikea. The lower slopes of Heleakala were black as cole from across the landfill to the area across from the Kaiser cement plant as a result of the fire. The entire Lualualei side of the ridge beyond the saddle all the way up to the ridge line had been burned (there was an article about the fire in the May 14th Honolulu Advertiser Hawaii Section entitled "Smoke hangs over Nanakuli").
At 6:12 p.m. I turned around and started the return leg of the hike. Up and over O'Hulu Uka, I arrived at the watertank at 6:30 p.m. On the way up O'Hulu Kai I enjoyed lots of free rock climbing. At 6:45 p.m. I was back at the bunkers and eight minutes later I sat down just shy of a steep descent to watch the sun set. It didn't take long for the ball of fire to bid its farewell on another day. "Going, going... gone" I said to myself as I watched it disappear beyond the horizon. The deep blue Pacific Ocean contrasted beautifully with the golden hue of the high clouds. The shore break directly below was also a delight to the eyes.
At 7:10 p.m. I backtracked a short distance to the trail which went down and contoured along the slope of the ridge. Descended somewhat steeply with the use of a brown rope as nightfall began to set in. Worked my way down the remainder of the narrow ocean facing part of the ridge and emerged onto Kaukama Road. Walked back to my car reaching it at 7:25 p.m.