OHE May 26, 1999 (Laie summit campout)

Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 14:52:28 -1000
From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>
Subject: laie/ohe-l

Last weekend we performed the Second Annual Hesperomannia Pilgrimage, worshipping at the altar of an endangered plant that we happened to find off of the Laie Trail last year at this time.

We trekked up the Laie Trail on a muggy, hot, sunny Saturday, past the waterfall turnoff, past the crossover, and on toward the summit. At a certain point, our Hesperomannia meters told us to leave the trail and start looking for a small, bushy plant with light green purple-veined leaves and lavender thistle-like flowers. In minutes we stood before our Grail, which still appeared to be healthy and strong. It had flowers, but they weren't quite all the way open. Last year the yellow stamens were emerging from their centers; this year they were still closed up pretty tight. Beautiful nonetheless, and extremely rare as far as we know. Protocol on finding such a plant is to let the pros know, which I had already done, giving data and pix to the Center for Plant Conservation.

After the sacrifices were made and the service completed, we went down to the stream to fetch water to carry up to the summit (in case it was dry up there). We bathed in a milky little pool that was oh, so refreshing. Ate lunch in this garden of delights. Continued on up to the summit, from where the views were tremendous, and headed left over to Pu'u Kainapua'a near the junction of the KST and the Kawailoa Trail. This KST section was clearer than I remember it from a couple of years ago; not bad at all. We set up and then went down to the adjacent stream to check for water, and water aplenty there was. Most of the trail had been dry, but the shorts wearers amongst us still had lots of washing up to do before being allowed into the dining room. The chef, BTW, is now using a homemade alcohol stove that weighs nothing; well, maybe 1/2 oz. His MSR Whisperlite is history. (check www.uvol.com/scouts/stove/stove.htm) The food was excellent, the drink superb, and the sky was pretty clear that night. The wind came up, though, and it was howling chilly. We retreated.

The next morn was rainy off and on, nothing too serious, and we eventually packed up and set off for home. First, we tried to see what happened to the KST proper as it continued toward the genuine junction with Kawailoa. Never figured it out. The KST just seems to die out in a muddy, boggy area. The only thing to do is to climb up onto the hill with the cabin remains and continue from there to the true Kainapua'a Summit. Did not add any flags for fear of compounding the confusion. Backtracked along the KST toward the Laie summit junction and--though I still can't figure out how--we missed it. Somehow we ran right past it and wound up heading for the Malaekahana Summit. We had originally wanted to descend Malaekahana anyway (I'd never done the upper portion), so I wasn't upset about the result, only about not seeing the Laie junction. But the mediocre weather had had me thinking we'd just bail down Laie. As it turned out, however, the missed turnoff was a bit of serendipity, for just about that time the day perked up, the sun came out, and the landscape was positively glowing.

We crunched along the mostly dry, well-marked KST swath to Malaekahana and on down the ridge. Many thanks to the trailclearers who, I believe, cleaned this trail up a few months back. We noticed the cleared area under a paperbark that Patrick had mentioned as a hunters' campsite. Once down there, about 40' below the trail, we could find no flat spots for camping, though, so I don't really know what that site is for. There is a large, shallow pool there that we made good use of, dipping and basking in the sun for at least an hour. Moving on, we headed downslope, eventually passing the turnoff to the falls, and finally, finally emerging by the Laie turnoff and signboard.

I haven't even tried to give times because we moved slowly, snacked frequently, and lazed about quite shamelessly. We didn't notice any other plant surprises up there, aside from a gorgeous yellow ohe naupaka near the Hesperomannia altar. There were plenty of ohia trees laden with scarlet blossoms and lots of little lobeliod mop-tops along the crest. I've started using spiked tabis for just about all hiking now, and after only six weeks my first pair gave out on the way down, threads popping along the Velcro closures. Got a new pair, different style, said to be longer-lasting. Will try them this weekend.

Good hiking! Good camping!


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