OHE November 30, 1997

Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 12:11:22 -1000
From: Nathan Yuen (nyuen@lava.net>
Subject: Makapu'u to Kaluanui Traverse

(a copy has also been posted to the newsgroup "soc.culture.hawaii")

Went on a great hike the day after Thanksgiving with Dayle Turner on the eastern spine of the Ko'olau Mountains. Traversing the Ko'olau Mountain Ridge from Makapu'u to Kaluanui Ridge (Mariner's Ridge), we staged one of our cars at the end of Kaluanui Road on Mariner's Ridge, and drove to Makapu'u to start the hike.

Beginning the hike up the slope just opposite the lookout, we noted how windy it was, which proved to be both a curse and blessing--a curse in that it blew us around while negotiating the ridge, and a blessing in that it kept us cool (and sometimes downright cold) under the full brunt of the sun. Through much of the initial part of the hike we enjoyed fantastic views of Makapu'u, Waimanalo, and Moloka'i across the Kaiwi Channel. We could see the magnificent dark-blue waters of Makapu'u Bay with its off-shore islands of Manana (Rabbit Island) and Kaohikaipu (Manana's low-lying companion). I particularly enjoyed seeing the fringing coral reefs which dotted the azure shallow water in a lovely fractal pattern and the channels of deeper water which flowed through a maze of openings in the reef in darker shades of blue. What a beautiful sight to see from atop the ridge!

The hike along the ridge contained many fantastic rock formations, some of them quite steep, which were almost entirely covered with white and yellow lichen, and a splattering of rust-colored lichen that grew in spongy tufts. One of the more fascinating formations was a puka (hole) in the ridge from which we could see clearly see Manana and Kaohikaipu. It was fascinating to hear Dayle explain that the puka was part of Hawaiian folklore where a skillful archer from Kaua'i spotted a rat on the cliffs above Waimanalo and shot an arrow from a canoe. Killing the rat at that spot above the ridge, the site is named Kaulanaaka'iole, "the resting place of the rat".

As we continued along the Ko'olau spine, we were confronted by a series of quite steep ascents and descents. Assuring me that "they're not really that bad..." and "they look worse than they really are...", I followed Dayle and climbed to the top of Kamehame Ridge, and then down to the saddle at the head of Kamiloiki Valley, then up again to the top of Kamilonui Ridge and then back down again only to climb back up and down several more times. After a while we reached the top of this ridge which was protected from the wind by iron wood trees. Stopping to rest and eat lunch under the trees, we relaxed on a thick bed of soft ironwood needles while admiring the spectacular view of Koolaupoko below us. From this spot we could see the valley of Waimanalo below us, the magnificent peaks of Mount Olomana, and the tiny off-shore islands of Mokulua off Lanikai and the rocky islets of Mokumanu off Mokapu Peninsula.

As we continued our climb up and down the Ko'olau spine, Dayle pointed out three cream-color goats which were resting on a rock point about a hundred feet below us. Was just mind-boggling to realize just how agile and sure-footed these creatures had to be in order to reach that rocky point. Continuing down through a section of ironwood forest whose undergrowth consisted entirely of beautiful lau'ae ferns, I crushed a few fronds in my hand to release the sweet maile-like scent of their leaves. What a beautiful fragrance!

As we continued onward, we were confronted by a steep precipice which presented us with a rock-climbing exercise. With encouragement from Dayle that "it looks worse than it really is..." and "you can do it..." , I climbed on all fours up the rocky precipice, and pulled myself to the top with the aid of a cable. With adrenaline coursing through my veins I was overjoyed to hear that the worst was over. After a couple more climbs up and down, we finally reach our goal--the top of Kaluanui Ridge! I was just elated as we began the easy hike down the well-used trail to the car. What a fantastic experience it was to admire the magnificent views, experience the neat rock formations, and complete the Makapu'u to Kaluanui traverse.


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