OHE June 1, 1998 (HOAH-Pat)

Date: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 15:46:00 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: The Hike Of All Hikes - Laie to Waimano - Day 3

Laie to Waimano - Day 3 - Reaching One's Limitations

At 5:30 a.m. I awoke to the sounds of Gene preparing breakfast, or more accurately, the dinner he would have eaten the night before if near exhaustion hadn't forced him to retire early. It had been another chilly night and atleast two passing showers pelted our tents. I emerged from my slumberjack bivy around 6 a.m. and the two of us exchanged greetings. Kipapa Ridge and the single Norfolk Island pine dotting the ridge line in the distance were visible to leeward as I consumed a couple of bagels and some cherrios. Between 6:30 and 8 a.m. Gene and I broke camp which included the purifying of water from the intermittent stream (a continuous faucet while we were there) ten feet away.

We began ascending the switchbacks toward the Kipapa Ridge summit at 8:11 a.m. and reached it thirty six minutes later beyond a lone tall loulu palm. The flat grassy overlook (elev. 2,785 ft and one of the best view spots on Oahu) was socked in with clouds and gusty trades pushed us around.

Undaunted and leaving the KST and Kipapa behind, the two of us headed south, bound for Waimano. The swath created in October of last year during the MOAH or Mother Of All Hikes (a two day trek up Kipapa, along the Ko'olau summit ridge and down Manana) by Peter Caldwell, Laredo Murray, Dayle Turner, Gene and I was still visible along the summit crest, much to my surprise and delight. It wasn't long until the ribbon I had tied periodically to trees during that ordeal began to appear. As a result, we made excellent progress following the ridge line most of the way with occasional leeward contour stretches arriving at the small ravine which was used as a campsite during the MOAH in only half an hour!

After a fifteen minute rest at the ravine during which Gene placed some moll skin on a blister which had developed on one of his feet, we pushed onward. At 9:48 a.m. the two of us climbed up a hill which had a flat grassy top and a short metal pipe sticking out of it (a better place to camp than the ravine). A side ridge was visible on the right coming up from leeward but I remembered the area and lead us down and to the left along the summit ridge. As the crest began to level off a long shallow ravine choked with an overabundance of vegetation (including strawberry guava) appeared on our right. The summit spine dipped again and Gene and I noticed a stream below (water source) on the leeward side surrounding a cone shaped pu'u at its base. My voice echoed whenever I shouted toward the gulch. A major climb came next followed by a descent and another climb.

Then we began to descend steadily toward the Waiawa Gap, "the lowpoint of the summit traverse at an elevation of 2,100~ feet"*. We dropped below the clouds during the altitude loss and beautiful (lush, undeveloped, pristine) Waiahole Valley appeared with its amphitheater affect. I spotted a large black wild boar just prior to dropping down into a pig haven complete with fresh rootings. On the way past it, Gene and I crawled through the "tunnel of love", a natural tunnel of vegetation (mostly tree limbs) formed by several trees growing together.

We got to the Waiawa Gap at 10:50 a.m. Gene took several pictures of the area and descended the leeward side to check on water availability (not that we needed any but for information sake). What he found was surprising - the stream was bone dry! It was at this point in the pilgrimage that Gene told me he would not be going beyond Waimano.

At 11:22 a.m. the two of us "saddled up" and commenced ascending out of the Waiawa Gap. After passing a stand of five tall loulu palms we departed the summit crest and cut across a small ravine. We then contoured along a very steep mossy hill switching back atleast twice until reaching a crack. Gene and I went up the crack and contoured to the right (we should have gone left). I climbed very steeply over a hump in the hill as Gene watched. Unfortunately, I weakened most of the footholds making it nearly impossible for Gene equipped with a heavy backpack to follow me. Using his ingenuity, Dr. Robinson dropped his pack, tied a rope to it, and gained my location using a different route. Together we pulled the pack up the side of the hump.

The two of us completed the ascent and a level stretch ensued. We took a break and called Dayle to give him an update. Gene terminated the conversation at 12:22 p.m. Next, a very steep climb was encountered which took fifteen minutes to complete and put us amongst the clouds once more. Another level segment allowed us to catch our breath. Just before the summit ridge "ended its southern tack and veered sharply to the east"* Gene and I left the summit crest and made our way to the base of a mossy hill ascending steeply straight over it.

From there we followed the ridge line to "the corner" where "the crest turns sharply south again and in half a mile is the summit of Manana"*. On the way, the two of us experienced some rollercoaster ridge action, recognized a unique bowl shaped topographical feature on the Waiahole side of the summit ridge at 1:30 p.m. and got disoriented due to a combo of the fog and side ridges coming up from the valley containing Manana Stream.

Before departing "the corner" we took a brief rest in a grassy windswept area at 2:30 p.m. Gene, a little perturbed, patiently asked "Why are you going so fast?!". "If one of us falls, the other may not hear him cry out!" he continued. I had no defense for my behavior.

Pressing on, Dr. Robinson and I endured the most unpleasant stretch of trail of the day as we plowed through lots of clidemia in route to the Manana topping out point (elev. 2,660 ft). We arrived there at 3 p.m.

Eight minutes later we began traversing the summit ridge toward Waimano. The condition of the trail improved slightly but not as much as Gene had predicted. The clouds continued to engulf us and the day was turning into a grind (no longer fun - we just wanted to get it over with). At the spot where the summit ridge and a side ridge coming up from a leeward valley merged, Gene showed me the remains of an airplane crash and the impact crater it left behind. From there we descended toward Waihee Valley and traveled along the rim. Eventually the clouds opened up giving us nice views of Waihee Valley below. Several steep climbs were accomplished before we found ourselves looking down at the huge landslide on the windward side of the summit ridge which is to the north of the Waimano summit. I descended to Waimano (elev. 2,160 ft) arriving there at 4:48 p.m. Gene joined me soon after.

While Gene refilled his bottles with water he had stashed a week earlier, I sat pondering if I should continue the trip the next day. When pressed for an answer I told Gene that I would stay with Dayle and Wing at the summit overnight but descend the Waimano Trail the next morning bringing the scheduled 5-day Ko'olau hike to a premature end. He was disappointed and asked if his decision to bail out wasn't partly to blame. I reassured Gene that it wasn't and the two of us shook hands a brief time later, preceding his exit from the Waimano summit. Within the hour Dayle and Wing arrived at the overlook and we spent a relatively uneventful night (with the exception of a nearby animal making strange sounds) enjoying each others company.

The next morning (Tuesday, May 26th) we packed up our gear and headed down the trail, Wing at 8:15 a.m. joined by Dayle fifteen minutes later. I lingered for almost an hour after Dayle's departure questioning my decision not to keep going while studying the summit ridge toward Waimalu. But the three previous days had taken their toll physically, psychologically, and emotionally so I very reluctantly followed my two comrads.

The three of us emerged from the footpath around noon and dined on burritos and cokes in Dayle's jeep cherokee courtesy of Dr. Robinson. A big mahalo to him for his thoughtfulness and generosity.

VARIOUS KUDOS (roll credits):

Gary Ehara for lugging water to the top of the Aiea Ridge Trail. This year waterboy, next year participant!!!

Stuart Ball, Jr. for providing the route desription of the Ko'olau Summit Trail from Poamoho to the Kipapa Ridge Summit.

Dr. Peter Caldwell, Dr. Don Fox and their friend Kristen for joining Gene and I at the Waikane/KST junction and for contributing some valuable supplies.

Dayle Turner, Nathan Yuen, Bill and Willie Melemai for stashing water at Poamoho. Dayle Turner and Nathan Yuen for partially clearing a section of the KST from Poamoho to Laie.

Art Neilson and Mike Adams for driving up Helemano to the Poamoho trailhead. Although they didn't make it to the campsite because of rain, their attempt is much appreciated.

Dayle Turner and Wing Ng for coming up Waimano and spending the night at the summit.

Dayle Turner for driving Gene and I to the Laie trailhead and ascending the trail with us on opening day. Also, for keeping in touch throughout the trip via cell-phone, making sure we were alright. Our accomplishment will look like cupcake after he conquers mighty Mauna Loa solo!!!

Members of the OHE-L who cheered us on.

And finally, Dr. Gene Robinson, who through it all remained a true gentleman of the highest order.


* Turner, Dayle K., "Kipapa to Manana--Day 2". 10/29/97 OHE-L Post.

== Patrick

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