OHE May 24, 1999 (Poamoho-KST-Castle)

Date: Mon, 24 May 1999 18:24:13 -1000
From: MARK SHORT (MARKESHORT@worldnet.att.net>
Subject: KST/Castle/Waiahilahila/Punaiki

Having read Brandon's write up of Papali/Castle, saw that DKT had also posted a write up, been wanting to do KST and not able to find the time, after fulfilling an obligation Saturday morning I was seized by the determination to do something.

I figured I could go up Poamoho along KST to Castle & camp by stream by night fall. Then go down Papali and be picked up at noon for my Sunday afternoon commitment.

Started at Poamoho at 1:45 with my dog Sam. Passed two hunters w/ dogs & three hiking different hiking couples. Just after the trail crosses over to the Poamoho side of the ridge the was a brand new sign "Trail Temporarily Closed Due To Dangerous Conditions". I did heed the warning and kept on the alert for danger as I hiked.

A little after 3pm I stopped by the stream/camp site and put on long sleeve shirt, long pants & gaiters. It was clear at the summit and the trail was a pleasure to tramp on. The feelings I had from the continuous views were beyond words. I guess the words that best describe how I felt would be 'extended euphoria'.

There was new fence being put up just before the solar powered weather station and landing mats that had been moved over the edge.

I was glad to reach the Castle junction which was clearly marked by a new metal pipe and an old metal stake, both with plenty of ribbons. The Castle trail was much better than I expected (so was KST). At one point ahead I could see a notch in the ridge with clouds pouring through. It was clear on my side it must be cloudy on the other. At the notch was a side trail I thought it may go down to the stream so I explored it for a short distance. This trail seemed to disappear but not before yielding incredible views of upper waterfalls. Back on the main trail I working my way down switchbacks and contoured in & out of small gullies, passed a heavily ribboned junction and finally passed through a notch that is the gate way to the magical Kaluanui Valley. With excitement I cruised down the remaining switchbacks to the large stream below (much larger than I expected so high up in the Koolaus). By now it was a little past 7pm so I just had time to was off the mud (lots of it), set up my tent & feed the dog. I ate inside my tent fearing mosquitoes. I soon realized there were none. I also realized the sky was clear with a half moon and many stars. I lay there with that same feeling of euphoria that I possessed my for much of this trip.

In the morning It was cloudy & rained a little as I packed up. I ate breakfast & filled up water containers in the middle of the stream and watched the mist swirl around inside the valley. I wanted to see the Castle trail down Punaluu but knew views would be obscured so I left that for a future trip and head back up the way I had come to the junction with the Waiahilahila trail. This trail was my first ridge trail of the trip with small rollercoaster action that was pleasant since there were more downs than ups. I was looking for a side trail to lead me to Papali and when I found one it seemed I was to far down. The trail I found was double ribboned and looked very new (recently tramples uluhe, no dirt). So I continued down Waihiliahila and up to top of the Pu'u (a.k.a. "The Nipple"). I did see the trail down from here but decide to go back & try the trail that I figured didn't go to Papali. It was ribboned and went down the ridge on the Hauula side of Waiahilihila. This ridge reminded me of Puu Manamana. Narrow & rocky.

Near the end I headed down to the stream on the left tying to avoid coming out in someone's yard. I did have to walk about 20 yard on a driveway before reaching Hauula Homestead road. I had used my cell phone to arrange pick up and soon met my son on Kam Hwy at about 11:30am. This trip fit perfectly into my time slot and ranks easily among the best I have ever had.

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