OHE May 17, 1998 (c)

Date: Sun, 17 May 1998 21:07:30 -1000
From: "Dayle K. Turner" (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Poamoho/KST and Wailupe Loop

== Saturday, 5/16 ==

On Saturday, 5/23, Pat Rorie and Gene Robinson will embark on their 25-mile hike-of-all-hikes along the Koolau summit crest from Laie to Moanalua Valley. One of the concerns about the long trek is water (8 lbs. a gallon), so Pat, Nathan Yuen, and I set out to stage some H20 at the summit of the Poamoho trail to ease the burden, as it were.

We met at the Dole Pavilion just outside Wahiawa and motored up the pineapple field road in the Pat's car. The road was a bit slick and when the Pat-mobile began to do the pine-field boogie just prior to the forest reserve boundary, we voted to park the car and hike the rest of the road to the Poamoho trailhead.

The road hike, about 3 miles worth, took us 50 minutes, and the hike from the trailhead to the summit of Poamoho, another 3 miles and change, about 70. Poamoho is in great shape (including two new mini-bridges like those on the Manoa Cliffs trails), no doubt thanks to the work of Na Ala Hele, the state trail folks. Mahalo nui, Na Ala Hele.

We rested for a few minutes at the wind-whipped summit and stashed about two gallons of water in the bushes near the Cline Memorial. We enjoyed brief views of Kahana Valley and then headed left on the Koolau Summit Trail. Our goal was to stage additional water an hour or so from Poamoho, just in case Pat and Gene don't make it to Poamoho as intended on Day 1 of their trek.

From Poamoho, we initially hiked along a wonderful 15-minute windward-facing stretch on the KST. The trail is cut into the pali and at a glance appears perilous. Looks are deceptive, however, and the way was manageable and spectacular. Someone, state wildlife workers, perhaps, had marked trailside plants with blue ribbons and metal tags. These may have been to indicate the presence of tree snails or to identify certain flora species.

After the windward section of the KST, the trail stuck mostly to leeward (the bad side). On the summit trail, the lee sections tend to be overgrown and muddy (with a capital M). Such was true on the section we hiked. Uluhe and brown ooze were the rule and not the exceptions there so we resigned ourselves to being scratched up and slimed (sorry, no pics available ).

Pat ramrodded us along, often yelling, "We're coming through," to alert any pigs ahead that may have been wallowing in mudholes on the trail. All day, we encountered no na pua'a.

About an hour from Poamoho, we reached the junction with a trail called Peahinaia, which originates in the foothills above Haleiwa. A handful of white, recently-placed PVC pipes marked this junction. The skinny on Peahinaia is that it's super long and rugged. Reuben Mateo told me he tried it a couple years ago, turning back after 3 to 4 hours of hard going and numerous pua'a close encounters. Reuben, no slouch at hiking, said he doubted he had even gotten beyond the halfway mark of the trail.

A hundred yards from the Peahinaia junction is a bowl depression of low grass where the military has placed metal landing mats for a helicopter. We stashed more water and some canned food at this windswept locale.

While Nathan and I sat down and ate lunch, Pat continued on for another 20-30 minutes toward Laie. His intention was to place some ribbons along this section of the KST, where the ridge is broad and going astray is possible (a year ago, a handful of us did get lost temporarily there while trekking to Laie).

When Pat returned, he, Nathan, and I began the return leg to Poamoho. On the way, we did some trail clearing and put up some additional ribbons. We also enjoyed great views when we hiked along windward-facing sections of the trail. Nathan also spotted tree snails!

During the descent of Poamoho, we met my friend Bill Melemai and his son Willy. With 6 liters in his pack, Bill was doing his share of water lugging for the upcoming outing. Since they were only 15-minutes from the summit when we met, Bill and Willy continued to the top (staging the 6 liters at the campsite just below the summit) and then headed back down.

Thankfully, Bill had driven his 4x4 Bronco to the trailhead and gave Nathan, Pat, and I a ride to eliminate a 50-minute roadwalk to the Pat-mobile. Mahalo, Bill, for the lift and the water toting.

Mahalo is also in order to Gene Robinson, who hauled 4 gallons (read: 32 pounds) of H20 to the summit of the Waimano ridge trail yesterday (5/16). Gary Ehara and friend also had indicated that they would hike some water to the top of Aiea Ridge. Great work and thanks to all!

== Sunday, 5/17 ==

2-Live-Crew, aka the HTMC trail maintenance gang, met at the end of Hao Street in Wailupe Valley to do some work for an upcoming club hike led by Stuart Ball. In the past several years, club members Dave Dennison and Gerald Leao have done tons of preliminary labor to open up the route, which involved a climb of a middle ridge in Wailupe Gulch, a jaunt along the Koolau crest, a descent of part of the Wiliwilinui trail, and a steep drop down a finger ridge to Wailupe Gulch to return to Hao Street.

"Crew" members on hand included Mabel Kekina, Stuart Ball, his wife Lynne, Ralph Valentino, his son Michael, Grant Oka, his daughter Georgina, famous woman hiker (my idol), Kim and Judy Roy, Carole K. Moon, June Miyasato, Naomi Nasu, Jason Sunada, Kost Pankiwskyj, his wife Gina, Gerald Leao, Bob Butchart, Dusty Klein, Bill Gorst, Jay Feldman, Will Kawano, Carole Wood, Lester (?), Lynn (?), Jim (?) and Reuben Mateo. Apologies for any missed and misspelled names.

The loop begins with a hike up an old jeep road lined with face-high buffalo grass. About 10 to 15 minutes up the road, we veered right into the forest by two large rocks. Many ribbons now mark this junction. Meanwhile, the jeep road, a trail at this point, continues mauka up Wailupe Gulch.

The trail meanders through the forest, crosses a dry streambed, and then begins a grueling ascent to the Koolau summit. It's an honest ridge with no appreciable dips or saddles. One climbs, is given occasional respite on a level section, then climbs some more. The topo map indicates a total elevation gain from trailhead (~300 ft) to summit (~2600) of 2300 feet. There's a nice workout to be had, no doubt.

For about two-thirds of the climb, we didn't have much clearing to do. The upper third, however, was uluhe land and it was there the earnest hacking began. As we approached the summit, Naomi Nasu suffered a nasty wound near her knee (errant sickle swing) and had to retreat down the mountain (escorted by Ralph and Dusty) to head to the hospital for stitches. Hopefully, she's okay.

The rest of us moved ever upward, enjoying decent footing on a relatively mud-free trail. Sturdy ropes are available at two steep, handhold-deprived sections for climbing assistance. We reached the Koolau summit at 11:30 (a 3-hour ascent) and continued left along the socked-in crest toward Wiliwilinui.

The summit section involved some minor rollercoaster action, more descending than climbing. Pockets of clidemia lined the trail and we hacked at this pest as we moved deliberately across the top.

By noon, the first wave of the crew reached the summit clearing of Wiliwilinui. Not one to pass up a good thing, I quickly plopped down in the lounge chair someone had put there and commenced one of my favorite pasttimes: food consumption. Consumed with delight were rice, nori, tuna, and 1.5 pop tarts (Judy Roy was the happy recipient of half a pop tart). Add some cool water from my camelback, a couple of aspirins (for sore feet), dispersement of clouds (hence clear views of the windward side) and I was happy trail clearer.

Wave 2 of the 2-live-crew arrived at 12:30, and to give them room to enjoy their lunch, Wave 1 packed up and headed downslope. A short burst of rain at the time also hastened our departure.

Terrible erosion marks Wiliwilinui's upper section, which is looking much like upper-Hawaii Loa and upper-Kuliouou prior to the installation of the plank stairs. There are cables for assistance in places. Fortunately, the footing was dependable today else some slip-sliding-body-slam action may have resulted.

We noticed a bike rack, put there by Na Ala Hele, at the point where the jeep road ends and the trail begins. Go now, mountain bikers!

As one is descending, the junction with the Wiliwilinui jeep road and the steep trail back down to Wailupe Gulch is located by a set of tall Norfolk pines on the left. A batch of pink ribbons mark this spot.

The initial descent is very steep but through guava, a hiker's best friend on slopes. About halfway down, the trail is clearly on a ridge compared to a broad slope higher up. Eventually, we bottomed out in a gully lined with mango and other tall trees.

The trail down the gulch was clear and appeared to be used with regularity, perhaps by hunters. Bill and Reuben remarked that the trail looked constructed ala CCC routes like Waimano, Halawa, et al. *Sites of Oahu* (Sterling and Summers) offers no answers. Anyone know the history of Wailupe Valley?

By 3:25, the last crew member had completed the loop back to Hao Street, where we enjoyed some refreshments and conversation.

Another fine day in the mountains.


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