OHE May 23, 1998

Date: Sat, 23 May 1998 23:05:19 -1000
From: Wing C Ng (wing@lava.net>
Subject: Malaekahana

Since Dayle has not written about this hike today, I will.

I was supposed to meet the Marchers and bid them godspeed. Unfortunately I overslept and arrived at the trailhead 8:15, and they left already 8:10. Dayle however turned back in his car after delivering the Duo to park his car at the trailhead, and so just the two of us went.

The plan was to get to the Laie summit, turn right instead of left like the Duo, cross over to Malaekahana and go down there. I went up Malaekahana and then down Laie twice already, and I believe in doing the hard trail downhill if possible, and so today's plan suits me (Malaekahana is a lot harder than Laie).

Going up was uneventful, and I got there just before noon. Met Brandon Stone and friend near the top. Dayle was sitting there in the foxhole by himself. The Duo departed 45 min. ago already.

Weather turned cloudy and windy, exactly the same as the two times before that I did Malaekahana. That stretch is lonely, as it sits on a plateau and you can't see anything. The clouds and the winds, makes it feel like another planet.

Dayle plowed ahead and put up ribbons where there is doubt as to go windward or leeward. About 1.5 hours later, I spotted Malaekahana ridge coming up and noticed a strange upright rock. Few minutes later the rock moved! Turned out to be Dayle standing on the ridge waiting.

The ridge ends as a hump where it meets KST, and it is slightly precipitous there. So the trail actually winds around the hump and meets KST before the hump. But then the original trail is indistinct, and so what we do is follow the original trail and then bend left to go back up the hump, only to descend from the hump and join the original trail. After the descent from the hump, we declared that we definitely found Malaekahana ridge, and then sat down to have lunch.

We made good progress at the top part, and in only 1 hour we came to the lone big tree sitting on the left in the gully below, around which the original trail passes (mentioned in the Sept. 1997 write-up, by Patrick). But right around there we got into uluhe territory, and going became much slower. We cleared the trail back in 1995, all the way to the point where a "middle ridge" joins the main ridge (again mentioned in the Sept. '97 write-up), but uluhe fights back ferociously, and it appears that no one uses this trail since Sept. 1997! Near the top there were ribbons, but after the middle ridge junction point, the trail-clearers considered the trail a freeway and ribboned sparingly, and none were in sight today.

So Dayle was in front battling the uluhe and finding the route of least resistance, and bravely putting up ribbons. Then at one point the roll fell out and he gave up. I was maybe 15 min. behind and picked up his roll for him, and I put up ribbons of my own.

Took more than 3 hours to get to the "improved" section of the trail, and what a relief to see a freeway again!! Dayle said he lay down to wait for me, but was attacked by a huge rat that thought it saw a large orange lying on the ground. Dayle beat him off with his machete (thank God he didn't lose his machete this time or he would be rat dinner). I think animals with rabies have deluded sense of their own size, and so this might be a rabies infected rat.

So Dayle left the nice spot in a hurry. I arrived not much later and yelled out and Dayle yelled back. The wide-open trail was a pleasure, but that lasted barely half an hour, and the jeep road portion was long, boring, and a drag ....., more than an hour.

Finally, I got to the cars at 7:10, 5 h 15 m since the top of Malaekahana. We concluded that the lack of usage of the trail causes it to be so severely overgrown that it will soon be another Lost Trail. Dayle will try to make the Laie-Malaekahana traverse a Super Hike so that it will be hiked at least once a year and be preserved as a trail.


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