OHE November 12, 1999 (Makiki Mauka)



Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 23:46:05 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Makiki mauka

Wrote this stream-of-consciousness style. Grammar cops, be warned!

Veteran's Day on Oahu. Great day for hiking with sparkling, clean skies and a Idaho nip in the air. Nice.

Made myself an omelet for breakfast with an orange juice chaser. Ready for the trail. No one to hike with. Not feeling that ambitious. Haven't done Tantalus in a while. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Grab my pack, a power bar, some water and am off. Kaneohe to Pali Highway past Roosevelt High and then to the Nature Center. Eyeball where the Xerox shooter was apprehended. Park at the Nature Center. Only a handful of cars there. Strange for a holiday morning. Thought there'd be more folks out.

Put on my Sharks, grab my pack and hiking poles and am off. Decide to do the loop counterclockwise. Why I'm not sure. Pass the NC complex, cross the bridge. Notice some improvements to the trail, notably some boards with notches on them. For wheelchairs?

Feel good climbing up the trail. Love these poles. Especially on hills. Just before the four-way junction, I spot a lone Korean wahine ahead. She stops at the junction to stretch and we greet each other politely.

I head right on the Ualakaa Trail. Not sure if I'll head up to the lookout or just stay on the trail. A couple of large birds (escaped parrots?) raise a ruckus in the treetops above. It seems like they're tracking me. Nah, just paranoia. Must be that clip of "The Birds" that I saw recently.

Reach the junction where I can head right to climb up to Ualakaa Park lookout. Decide to pass on that and continue straight. Pass a Korean couple heading the opposite way. The woman eyes me and my poles. Must think I'm weird. Or maybe she's envious and wishes she had poles of her own. Or maybe it's my tattered hobo shorts. Who knows.

Reach the road, cross it, continue on a trail, cross the road again and continue on the Makiki Valley Trail. Pick up the Moleka Trail and follow it up. Climb over a blown down tree. Hope someone comes up here with a chainsaw and clears this mess.

Right before crossing the road to get to the Manoa Cliff Trail, I pass a trio of local teens heading makai on Moleka. Courteous greetings.

A group of folks and their dogs are gathered at the road crossing. Looks like they just finished their walk/hike and are heading home. I hike by quickly, crossing the road and heading into the forest on the Cliff trail.

It's muddy but not too bad. The poles are helpful for balance and vaulting over small mudholes. Cleated shoes are great too. Still haven't sipped any water yet. The biggest climbing is done. Feeling good. Nice cool air.

Stop to check out the view down into Manoa and mauka to the Koolau Crest from Konahuanui to Olympus. Trace Manoa Middle Ridge as it comes down from the spine. Wow, that upper section is steep. And we went up/down that. Wow.

Continue moving at a good clip, stopping to look for a way to climb a spur on the left to get to the Tantalus Crater. Check out what looks like a trail behind the Bamboo Bench. Dead end in the bamboo. No machete nor desire for bushbashing. Love the cool mountain air.

Further on, check out the spur by the lookout bench. Again deadend. Great viewspot from the bench. I look over at the Olympus summit section again. I wonder if anyone is heading up to Konahuanui today?

The trail remains muddy but no blowdowns or obstructions. Finally reach the high point of the Cliff Trail and begin descending toward Pauoa Flats. See a European tourist couple. The husband has a babypack complete with infant. Detect a Swedish accent in their hellos. Then again, I'm no linguist.

Reach the sign junction and head right toward Pauoa Flats instead of left to switchback down to the Pauoa side of the Cliff Trail. Not sure if I'll continue on to the Nuuanu Lookout. I'll decide when I get to the junction with Kalawahine.

At the junction, I decide to pass on the lookout and head left on Kalawahine. A sign says .3 miles to the Cliff Trail junction. Hope I don't surprise any pigs on this section. See ribbons on the right heading down into a ravine. HTMC uses this for the Tantalus Ramble. Is that coming up soon? Can't recall.

No puaas sighted. Reach the junction with CT and continue straight ahead bound for the road. Pass a couple and their two kids. Again, the wife in this case eyes my poles. I recall some local kids laughing at me and my poles on the Aiea Loop Trail. I'll have the last laugh, I tell myself.

Pass four military types maukabound. Heading to Konahuanui? Maybe. Reach the road. Three cars parked near the trailhead. Hope car thieves have taken a day off today. Short road stretch and then am on the trail again. Nahuina, if memory serves.

It's muddy and a little brushy in places. Relative to many other trails, this is a freeway but for the Tantalus system, it's pretty overgrown. Still no puaa nor any rampaging parrots nor guys yelling "Murder!!" at me. I recall encountering a guy playing a Hawaiian song on a trumpet when I hiked this section in the past. That guy was quite good. Must have been the pakalolo he was smoking. Or maybe his girlfriend.

Reach the junction with Kanealole. Head down it. I don't have a watch so I'm not sure what time it is or how long I've been hiking. Must be at least two hours, maybe closer to three.

Almost suffer a catastrophic ankle blowout on the way down. My poles save me, though. They're bent and banged up (the poles) but worth every cent. See a shirtless Korean guy heading up. He eyes my poles. I think if I had just one most wouldn't give a glance. It's the pair that draws stares. Let 'em stare.

There's a gentle flow in the stream on the left. Wonder if the water is any good in there? Polluted with fertilizers from Tantalus yards? Maybe. Plus, there's pigs in them thar hills. Lepto. Probably.

Crunch down the bluestone section of the trail and arrive back at my car. Feeling good. Check the clock on my dashboard. 1:05 p.m. Three hours on the trail. A good workout.

Need to eat a couple bean burritos as a reward. Yup, that's the ticket. Taco Bell bound then home. Happy Veteran's Day.

--DKT


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