OHE November 26, 1998

Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 16:52:59 -1000
From: Greg Kingsley (gkingsle@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Kohelepelepe/Puu Mai, 26NOV98

With the Thanksgiving meal in the oven and some time on my hands, I headed out to Koko Head Crater to work up an appetite. Meeting up with a friend, we drove to Koko Head District Park and proceeded up the easiest of all four routes to the summit: the west entry behind the old Job Corps.

At about 9:25 AM, we had cruised over the railroad tracks and topped out at Puu Mai (elev. 1,206 feet). The day was stunningly clear and the usual views were just as enhanced. Having been there quite often, the visuals were predictable during the trail but breathtaking every time I reach the summit. The 360-degree panorama includes the view from parched Makapuu Head to windy Puu o Kona, from the green-coated ridges to bustling downtown, from the sparkling waters around Diamond Head to the quiet radio transmitters atop Koko Head, and from the crowded beach of Hanauma Bay to the bounding surf of Sandy Beach. But today, visibility was unhindered by any vaporous skies perched on the island, treating us to a view of Molokai, little sister Lanai, and monumental Maui.

After I had checked out the new entries and reviewed some of the old posts in the "guestbook", I heard a recognizable "hey!" from the northern rim of Kohelepelepe (Koko Head). It was the infamous Dayle Turner! We chatted for a bit, watched another couple cruise by the heli-pad and establish their lunchspot at a nearby concrete pit, then parted ways. Dayle had parked at the blowhole, circumnavigated the crater, ascended the northern rim, emerged on the top, then descended the southern rim to the junction with another southern route: a steep path back to the blowhole.

At 11:30 AM, we set out to explore the abandoned FAA facility. In the number of times I'd been up there, I'd never actually gone inside the rather large complex of concrete, wood, and steel. With flashlights in hand, we slipped through the bent, welded steel door over the portal and proceeded down the 15-yard tunnel. I noticed the names of various sergeants penned onto the tunnel wall at locations which must have slung their weapons or other equipment. We reached a junction with two hollowed-out chambers deep within the summit - the left one about 25 feet square and 15 feet high, the right one about 20 feet by 15 feet and 7 feet high. The earlier had a tall ladder spanning the 30-foot tunnel straight up to a small (welded) enclosure just south of the heli-pad. The latter contained a small room at the far wall that seems to have been used for either as an ammunition storage or a cryptographic room (due to a special 1-foot square door at one wall). There were signs of the FAA's presence there, a large circuit-breaker board, fallen fluorescent light fixtures, and ventilation ducting. The strange thing is that we had only explored possibly 30% of the facility since the rest was cut off from this particular section - there were no connecting tunnels to the other sections.

We headed out just after noon while discovering another entrance to another part of the facility, this one even deeper. We reached the ghost lot short of 1:00 PM and headed home for our respective Thanksgiving meals. (I got home just in time to take out the pot roast!)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


P.S. In addition to Dayle, we saw Grimlock and Gaby in the guestbook!

P.P.S. Good news... it took us 1/5th the time to get to the top since the last time we were there in July.

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