OHE November 10, 1997 (c)

Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 16:13:27 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Re: Waikane Ridge Trail

On Sunday, Nov. 9th, 1997, Dr. Peter Caldwell, Dr. Don Fox and myself met in front of Waikane Valley Road just after 8 a.m. to check out a ridge route to Pu'u Ka'aumakua. The idea was based on a conversation Peter had with hiking legend Dick Davis during the construction of the Maunawili Demo Trail a few years back. Peter asked Dick about the Waikane contour trail. Mr. Davis told him that it was washed out in some places but the ridge above it was no problem. Many years ago Don and a friend hiked in the woods above Waikane Camp and noticed the ridge. When they reached the main ridge line the two of them ascended along it for a short distance without much difficulty.

At 8:20 a.m. the three of us started up Waikane Valley Road. It was a beautiful day with lots of blue sky and sunshine. Puffy white clouds moved gently across the sky high above the Ko'olau Mountain Range. After a short distance we went right and passed thru a gate. The walk along this dirt/mud road was rather monotonous except for periodic views of magnificent Ohulehule. I kept stairing at the very steep area above the last dike on the southeast ridge.

Pete, Don and I reached one of the Waiahole Ditch flumes at 9:26 a.m. and after a 10 minute rest started up the Waiahole Ditch Trail. On our way along it to the true Waikane Saddle (also called the Kahana Saddle on some old maps) the three of us did some trail maintenance. Pete and Don got their saws out and cut mostly guava trees which had fallen over blocking the trail. I took out my hand held cutters and trimmed smaller branches.

Shortly before 10:40 a.m. I reached the saddle and found Pete and Don perched about 20 feet above me upon a small hump which offered outstanding views of Ohulehule dead ahead with Kahana Valley to the left and Waikane Valley on the right. In the distance was Kaneohe Bay featuring the Mokapu Pennisula. The Mokulua Islands could also be seen.

The two medical doctors put on long pants and the three of us headed up the Waikane contour trail looking for a good access point to the ridge just after 11 a.m. The contour was once a gem but is now badly overgrown with uluhe and clidemia. Soil slippage and land slides have also contributed to its near extinction. We ended up doubling back almost to the saddle because of a lack of success in finding a good line up to the ridge.

Don took the ram-rod as we gained the very thin ridge line near the start of the contour trail. Progress was slow and Don paid a price in abuse as he plowed thru trees and uluhe. Peter encouraged him as I brought up the rear tying ribbon to trees. The ridge widened and ascended gradually. A short distance later it leveled off and then began descending. The next thing we knew we were back on the contour trail ! Boy did we feel dumb !

The three of us decided to stay on the contour for a considerable distance. Just before the section which passes between two sheer rock faces, Peter, who had been leading us, started climbing rather steeply up the side of the ridge in order to gain the ridge line. Don followed him and I was next once again tying ribbon just in case we had to come back the same way.

At 12:30 after a considerable struggle Peter and Don reached the ridge line. I joined them a few minutes later. We had lunch and then I took the ram-rod. With bolo knife in hand I slammed thru a wicked combination of tree limbs and uluhe. The nightmare of the trip along the Ko'olau Summit Trail from Laie to Pupukea filled my mind ! The experience made me very grateful for the men who originally cut the ridge trails we enjoy today (i.e. Tripler Ridge, Bowman, Aiea Ridge).

Less than an hour later the three of us reached a pleasant position near a loulu patch. We decided to turn back at this point due to a lack of time and depleting energy levels. Peter snapped off several photos as I tied a ribbon to a tree marking our final position along the ridge. I then gave Don my bolo knife and he lead us down the ridge toward the saddle. It took us 10 minutes to reach our lunch spot. About an hour later Don lead Peter and I down a side ridge well before the saddle which allowed the three of us to bail out onto the contour trail (near where the trail bends in the bottom photo on the last page of the photo section in Ball's "Hiker's Guide to Oahu").

Pete took a picture of Don and I lying prostrate toward Ohulehule during a short break before heading back to the saddle. On our way down we did some trail maintenance esp. along the beginning section. Don removed clidemia by its roots as I harvested lots of uluhe. Pete used his machete to do some cutting. Once we reached the saddle the three of us attempted to figure out how high we had gotten up the ridge.

At approx. 4:11 p.m. Peter, Don and I began descending the ditch trail. As we made our way down, the three of us cut many more trees and pushed them into the valley below. On a couple of occasions it took all three of us to lift the trees !!! We eliminated almost all of the low bridges on the trail !

It was about 5:30 p.m. by the time Peter, Don and I reached the flume. After a brief rest the three of us got our flashlights out and started moving toward Waikane Valley Road. It soon became a beautiful evening with a near 3/4 moon almost directly above us.

Around 6:45 p.m. we reached some houses and a few minutes later crossed Kam. Hwy. When we reached my car I shook hands with Peter and Don as we bid each other farewell.

== Patrick

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