Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 21:01:10 -1000 From: MARK SHORT (MARKESHORT@worldnet.att.net> Subject: Hawaii Loa to Makapuu
My son & I had planned to go up Poamoho & down Schofield-Waikane as on November 27-28. In the morning the weather looked very bad, heavy clouds over the Koolaus & heavy rain off & on in Kailua and Town. About 12:30 we were thinking about going somewhere e lse to avoid misery. My son decided he wasn't feeling well but offered to drop me off. The clouds to the east were much lighter so I decided on this trip.
My dog Sam & I started from the Hawaii Loa trailhead at about 2:30. There was a cold wind blowing and a hard rain began. I quickened the pace to the shelter of some guava trees to take off my pack and put on my jacket. Soon after, the rain stopped. The ja cket stayed on as wind protection. The summit was reached at about 4pm. It was really blowing up here, I had my hood up to keep the cold wind from blasting straight into my ear. Sam kept going to the edge, craning his head, neck & as much of his body as p ossible, out into the foggy space. His ears and lips would flap like he had his head out the car window. Since the actual edge was masked by vegetation and the cloud cover masked the height I wasn't sure of Sam's judgment and was afraid he would go over. This section of the summit was wet and muddy or mossy, or on top of rotting plants, with about a one foot wide swath cut through. My legs were getting slightly scratched but stopping to put on pants was too much trouble. The highest peak I crossed had a t hin trail leading down to leeward. Kulepemoa? I wasn't able to see much because of the clouds.
Was happy to reach Puu o Kona since I knew what to expect from here to Kuliouou and it would be dark soon. We reached the Kuliouou trail at 6pm I called home to let them know I was camping here. By the time I got down to the Norfolk pines it was completel y dark. I tied Sam to a fallen tree/branch and gave him some dinner to eat while I set up my tent. The idea was to camp here for some shelter from the wind, however this spot always seems to be very windy. I ate my dinner in the tent for protection from t he wind, then tryed to sleep at about 7:45. I slept a little then had trouble because of the sound of wind in the trees, my tent flapping and Sam fussing. Eventually I heard some rain and got up to untie Sam, hoping he would find himself some shelter and leave me alone. Instead he fussed outside the tent hoping I'd let him in. I did offer for him to come under the rain fly, but he didn't get it. Some time during the night he did come under the fly and pressed up against my legs through the mosquito nettin g, helping to keep me warm.
The morning was beautiful with the winds much quieter. I packed up and had a leisurely breakfast then headed back up to the summit, reaching it at about 8:15. The view was spectacular, the greens of Waimanalo backed by the blues of the Pacific. At about 8 :30 I passed the huge metal power poles with concrete steps. About five minutes later there was a broad area with lots of trees and a trail leading down to the left. "Wonder where that goes?" I thought only briefly. As I continued I thought "this doesn't seem like the summit, maybe I'm just by passing a dangerous section and descending to some saddle,it sure is a nice trail, look this is even a contour!" Not soon enough I realized I was heading down to Hahaione Valley (I think) on a well marked trail. I t urned around and was surprised at how far down I had come. I was back to the junction at about 9:15. This detour kind of made me mad at myself and I don't remember exactly where on the summit, but I also saw three orange ribbons marking another junction, and a trail with lots of yellow ribbons heading to Hawaii Kai. (Anybody know wherethese go?) Also (somewhere in here, I think) reached the Mariner's Ridge junction which is in back of a leeward contour of a peak. I went around this peak then to the top th en back down to continue on my way. This part is sort of a blur in my mind. I need to get a topo and pay more attention so I can check out these other trails.
At 11pm we stopped for lunch atop a narrow peak carpeted with needles from Ironwood trees. This made a very inviting rest spot. Sam fell asleep while I ate half my lunch looking at the Hawaii Kai side and half looking at the Waimanalo side, with just a sw ivel on my seat to accomplish this. The views were unobstructed because of some judicious trimming, thanks!
Eventually we continued on, reaching a place where the summit dropped off on three sides. A cable was tied to a tree on the leeward side and ran down the windward side. Up to this point I had not used any cable just my hiking poles. For this section I wou ld need my hands free if not on the cable then on the rocks. I strapped the poles to my pack, bucked up to prevent any load shifting and went down with no problem. I wondered though how Sam would make make it? I had mentally prepared myself for the possib ility at an un-dogdoable section and I was ready to go back the way we came, if need be. Up to this point Sam had been able to climb up and down some amazing sections, seemingly pulling himself up with only his front legs, or descending like a mountain go at where there did not seem to be footholds. Often he would just contour around through the brush. I continued a bit further trying to see the path Sam had chosen. Eventual he appeared to the leeward side of the finger, his attempt at contour was foiled b y more cliff. He went back and tryed again, contouring lower but was still stopped by cliff face. I call out to him that the way I had gone was the only way. He went back to the top and made his hound dog sound. I climbed part way back up to encourage him and show him the way. He would come half way down just out of my reach then back up again. He was afraid of a short section but I could see he could do it. I climbed to the top and got him to come with me but then he chickened out again. I went to the to p again and sat with him awhile praising & encouraging him for his efforts. He now trusted me enough to go down with one of my hands on his collar and my other hand on the cable, I guided him along the correct route and he took off once passed the section he didn't like. We must have spent 1/2 an hour here and I hoped this was the worst because I didn't like the idea of getting him back up this.
Passed some wooden power poles with a marked trail heading toward Waimanalo must be Tom-Tom? Also Kamiloiki Valley with its grass covered 4wd roads reaching clear to the summit. Up & over a few more peaks then the climb up the spooky section to the radar/nike/old building/hang-glider site. I stopped at what I remembered as the "rat hole", Sam stu ck his head through (just like out the car window again) and I called home to arrange pick up at Makapuu. I also thought about what I had read at Dale's Oahu Hike Tales " According to legend, Pikoiaka'alala, a skillful archer from Kauai, spotted a rat on the cliffs above Waimanalo. From a canoe offshore of Mokapu, he sent an arrow shoreward killing the rat at the spot where the puka resides on the ridgetop. Hence, the location was named Kaulanaaka'iole, literally "the resting place of the rat." " And reas oned this legend must be not be that old (didn't rats come to Hawaii on western ships?).
This part of the hike has very rough rocks and was hot. I was concerned about Sam's feet, however after inspecting them at home they were fine, amazing! At 3pm, as we were making the final decent to the highway, my wife pulled up in our van and called out "Hi Sam!". At this point Sam didn't seem ready to go rushing down across the road but I put on his leash anyway. I reached the van with my hair plastered to one side from sweat and wind, and a big smile on my face, having thoroughly enjoyed my tramp alo ng the summit of the east Koolaus.