OHE November 9, 1998

Date: Mon, 9 Nov 1998 09:48:56 -1000
From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>
Subject: poamoho/schofield

Fellow OHEers,

I had the great good fortune to accompany a military environmental crew on a mapping trip up Poamoho, along the Ko'olau Summit Trail, and down Schofield-Waikane on Friday and Saturday, November 6 & 7. There were six of us, plus a clever dog. These routes are well-described elsewhere, so I'll limit my remarks to a few highlights.

This crew was carrying a $10,000 Trimble Navigation GPS unit with a computer data entry "paddle," an antenna (a 2 lb. head on 3' pole, which stuck up out of the backpack), and who knows what else. This was not a lightweight version for weekend hikers. I look forward to seeing the output, but I believe that the unit ceaselessly kept track of our movement and will know exactly how far we went and where we went, yielding an exquisitely accurate topo map. We entered points of interest, too, such as interesting plants, sidetrails, etc.

Friday was beautiful. I'd never been all the way to the Poamoho Summit before and was duly impressed. About halfway up the trail we passed the easy-to-miss trail down to Poamoho Stream. The stream was flowing well near the campsite. (BTW, that campsite will be filled with another military-led Australian tea-clearing team next weekend, Fri-Sat Nov 14-15.) There's a gorgeous Trematolobelia macrostachys with many pink flowers blooming right beside the trail near the summit.

We ran into a DLNR staffer who was coming down with his little Jack Russell terrier. He had been up to check on his two carpenters, who have by now completed their rebuilding of the Poamoho cabin. We waved to them as we passed by the cabin a little later. It was odd to hear power tools piercing the air up there. There will be a few more cabins put up along the summit very soon. Details were hard to come by (e.g., no word about where the other cabins will be), but these cabins seem to be primarily for DLNR workers. Perhaps some kind of permit system will be developed to allow others to use them.

It took us from 11:30am to 2:30pm to get from the trailhead to the summit, moving leisurely. We had to decide whether or not to continue to our goal, the Schofield summit, and we were unsure whether or not we could make it before dark. I thought it would take us about 3 hours, but the DLNR staffer said 4 hours, so I was a little worried. I did not want to get caught on the Windward KST after dark. We decided to pick up the pace and proceed.

You've all read about the awesome views so I won't rave here, except to say that I want to go up there for about a week just to *be* there. Amazing! Near the trail there were more flowering Trematolobelias, lots of loulu palms which were all sporting large olive-shaped seeds at the same time, and a Scaevola glabra ('ohe naupaka) with its beautiful waxy yellow flowers. I was also interested by a few spots where there was access from the long Windward stretch of the KST into little meadows or heads of gulches on the Leeward side. We were moving too fast to explore those places, but they looked enchanting. About halfway along the summit stretch it began to rain and visibility dropped radically. After 3 hours exactly, we arrived at the Schofield summit junction.

We set up tents, two people went for water and didn't return until after dark, and then we ate copious amounts of tasty food. It blew pretty hard at times through the night and there was more rain, but by morning, the skies were partly clear and dry. It took us 4 hrs 20 min to get down to the Schofield-Waikane trailhead where we had stashed another vehicle. Even though it was a beautiful Saturday, we saw not one other person on the trail all day long. I love that trail, though it does get long after awhile. The upper two-thirds could use a good clearing, too.

On the way down I showed the botanists in the crew a healthy lobelioid with leathery dark green leaves I'd found last year. It's off the trail about halfway down and I only found it because we went looking for water once when we camped in the area. We missed its flowering, but it had some immature seeds, which are on their way to the tissue culture lab. None of us could ID it on sight, so I look forward to finding out from one of the botanists what it is.

Most of you are probably familiar with the sidetrail down to the N. Fork of the Kaukonahua, about 20 min. from the trailhead; I believe that HTMC hikes down there about once a year. We noted two other sidetrails that deserve exploration. One goes to the N. Fork and one goes to the S. Fork, and both are about two miles from the trailhead but still along the initial cleared-wide portion of the trail. Have any of you been down either one?

I would like to spend a long time up in the summit area and part of that time could be used to clear the summit trail. I had a vision of a three-day trip. It occurred to me that one crew could go up Schofield and the other could go up Poamoho on Day One, each camping at its respective summit. Day Two would be devoted to clearing the summit trail. When the parties met in the middle, they would exchange car keys and continue along the circuit, camping at the spot where the other party had camped the night before. Day Three would be exit day. Each party would have a vehicle waiting and everyone would then rendevous at Boston Pizza. This scheme allows more people to take advantage of the limited camping space, simplifies car-stashing, and, besides, I just like the Stanley-and-Livingston meeting high over Kahana Valley. However, I am just musing here, not organizing.


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