OHE May 25, 1998 (b)

Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 08:14:23 -1000
From: "Arthur W. Neilson III" (art@neilson.ddns.org>
Subject: Maakua Gulch

Yesterday my Fiance and I went hiking on the Maakua Gulch trail. It had been 3 years since I had last hiked it, and I was looking forward to seeing the gulch again. We arrived at 11:00 at the trailhead, put on our boots and began walking.

There was a Leptosirosis warning sign at the beginning of the road, I don't recall that being there before. We continued up the road and I noticed it was new, and there were all kinds of signs of recent construction along the way. A large sign indicated that the Board of Water Supply was working on a new pumping station somewhere ahead.

We reached the jucnction with the Papali/Maakua Ridge Trail, adorned with a Na Ala Hele sign. Just beyong the sign was an ugly old rusted wreck of an auto, light blue in color. It should be hauled away. We kept going, eventually reaching the pumping station with no sign of the old gulch trail in sight. We crossed through the station grounds and discovered the old gulch trail on the other side. We noticed a horrendous old red Toyota van someone had abandoned laying on its side like it had fallen off the trail. It was quite rusted and filled with assorted junk. An old ghetto blaster lay on the ground nearby, and many chunks of styrofoam lay strewn across the ground. What a mess. No one is taking care of this trail complex I suppose.

Anyways, we marched off along the gulch trail, and it seemed as I remembered it. The first stream crossing made me realize just how dry things have been in the Islands due to El Nino. The stream was bone dry. I remember having to wade across the stream. We corssed the stream many more times along the way and it was totally dry. The stream did not appear until we were very deep in the gulch with the valley walls very close around us.

We arrived at the first pool around 1:30 and I swam across the pool and went to the next one where the first rope is. Boy, there was just a small amount of water splashing down the first falls! I swam across the small pool and checked out the first rope. Marge took a photo of me as I ascended the rope and waved from the top. I came back down and we ate lunch together, enjoying the coolness and green fern covered walls all around us.

Finally at 3:30 we left and made our way back uneventfully. We arrived at my truck at 6:00 then drove to Haliewa for Pizza and Beer at Pizza Bob's !!! Boy what a grind!

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