OHE May 25, 1999 (Lanipo--Ka`au)

Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 10:06:50 -1000
From: Sergio Lotenschtein (loetch@iav.com>
Subject: Lanipo to Kaau Crater

Sunday: parked my car in the back of Palolo and waited for Myles to come and get us. He arrives with Phyllis and Bob in tow and we got to the trailhead on Wilamina rise without major incident.

Beautiful day with the right mixture of clouds and sun. The clouds obscure the sun on the early part of the hike which is dry and exposed and does a long sloping drop. I've always disliked this part on the hike back because at the end of the day you're tired, ready for that large coke and the long drop and rise is a test of wills. Today I was not coming back this way and that made the trek momentous.

The trail is in excellent condition and apparently no one had been on it yet. Bob, Phyllis and Myles are workout junkies so they left us ambling behind quite early in the hike. The views just get better at every rise and the forest changes continuously. Parts are dry while others are grasssy and nearing the lookout where Kaau crater and waterfalls come into view, the vegetation is tropical and the ground damp.

Looking at the Wailai Iki ridge (wiliwilinui?) I've always wondered if anyone has tried to hike the other tine of the fork as the ridge begins its final rise. I didn't see much trail wear and it does look doable. Where does it end? on whose back yard?

Three hours later we're at the top and the views are superb all the way to Ohulehule and back to Waimanalo. The Pali cliffs were sheer and cloudless. A bit of lunch and letting the trades cool us off before we begin the trek across to Kaau crater. This proved to be rather exciting.

The initial drop is steep and as you approach a mound of low shrubs and grasses you can no longer see if the trail continues. It appears to suddenly end in a scary drop off. There is no apparent trail and the ground is loose. Bob went ahead and swiftly disappeared over the edge. I had to butt trek some parts of it because I could not see where the edge of the ridge was. Phyllis (stubborn and independent) decides that butt walking along the right edge of the ridge is preferable while Diane and I try to move along the lee of the mound. The wind makes it difficult to communicate. I see Bob and Myles climbing onto the next ridge (ok, there's a trail at the bottom) and they're both signaling to Phyllis to move to her left. Like a mule you sometimes can't tell her what to do and she's using her nylon pants to slide down the mound. After a bit of yelling she stops and begins to move in our direction. You can see Bob and Myles relax. Apparently the mound continues to round out to the right in a steeper drop off. If she had continued her butt walking she would have moved onto that edge, with the nylon pants on she would have tobogganed right off the side onto the Maunawili Falls trail.

This bit of disaster prevented we continued through the ridge for 45 minutes till we reached the top of the crater ridge. The cross over ridge is narrow and quite overgrown. Raspberries, uluhe and clidemia, what joy. There's narrow exposed portions that are breathtaking as the wind rushed and screams and you look straight down to the valley and all the way to the ocean.

Reaching the top of the crater ridge we rested and prepared for a long descent. The ridge is in really bad shape. Footholds are shallow, dry and crumbly. There's a rope tied to a tree thats pulling the tree right out of the soil. Although not especially hazardous it does take quite a bit of muscle to keep yourself from accelerating.

We reached the top of the falls (there are new ropes up there), and decided to split up and see which is the faster way to the car. Bob and Myles went down the falls and the rest of us walked the round. Now that it became a contest there was a push involved. My apologies to Phyllis who was ready to run through the ridge but Diane and I we're feeling our aches so we took our time. We lost the race by 20 minutes. Now I know that no matter which route is taken they are equal in time. The falls are a bit more treacherous on the way down, thats all.

See you out there.


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