OHE November 13, 1999 (Ka Nuku-Hoomaluhia)



Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 14:58:57 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Ka Nuku-Likeke-Hoomaluhia

More stream-of-consciousness stuff. Bear with me. :-)

Found out last night that I would be free to hike this a.m. An alternate non-hiking outing was on the agenda but that was postponed till the p.m. Was aware of the Pali Falls club hike. Too short in itself. But I could add some sections to it to provide a longer workout. Fred Boll had mentioned doing Likeke and then descending to Hoomaluhia. That sounded good. Since I live in Kaneohe, I figured why drive to the Lookout. Might as well hike/run up there. Heaven knows metabolic acceleration is tantamount for me given my high caloric intake (i.e. I gotta exercise a lot since I eat so much). It's a constant struggle, to coin a phrase I heard Pat Rorie once use.

A four-minute drive from my home put me at the start of Kionaole Road, the one that leads to Koolau Golf Course. Spot HTMCers Steve Brown and Lin Black walking their dog along Kam Hwy. They're wearing slippers so probably no trail walking for them. Don't spot Dusty Klein, another Kam Hwy walker-of-canine.

Am wearing running shoes to start off. Have my cleated Sharks in my pack. Will put them on later prior to hitting the trail part of the outing. It's a two-pole day for me. Walk for a couple minutes to warm up then commence jogging, using poles like a cross country skier. Plenty of folks driving up Kionaole to the golf course. The road is narrow and twisty. Hope they see me jogging and don't run me over.

Pass the entrance to the golf course on the right, the Pali Golf Course maintenance yard on the left and reach the gate that blocks vehicular traffic on Kionaole. A burnt skeleton of a car sits fronting the gate. Probably some insurance scam. I recall hearing someone say it's better to have a thief steal and burn your used beater car and collect the insurance than try to get the same amount of $$ on a trade-in. Go figure.

Continue jogging up the old road. Feeling pretty good. Wonder if I can keep jogging all the way up the Pali Lookout aka Ka Nuku (see Landgraf's *Legendary Places of Ko'olau Poko* p. 98 for the reference). However, I yield to hard breathing and cease jog-mode and start hiking. Sweating pretty good. Nice cool air. Kind of cold, 's'matter of fact.

Duck under the Pali Hwy viaduct. Notice a newish set of wooden stairs someone has put there to help the climb on the mauka side of the highway. Mahalo.

Start up the old Pali Road and a few minutes up run into Fred Boll and entourage heading down. They have started ahead of the pack, says Fred, to avoid the prehike hubbub and possible static from the hike coordinator, who might object to anyone breaking away from the planned route.

Fred et al continue down, saying they may wait for me at Pali Falls before heading out on Likeke. Maybe I'll see you later, I say.

Reach the Pali Lookout just as the caravan of club hikers pull into the lot. Donna Davis-Brown is the coordinator. When I approach her to sign up she asks, "Member or guest?" Member, I reply.

The member sign-up list is full so I have to sign a new sheet. Talk to George Shoemaker and Janice Nako-Piburn. They inquire about tomorrow's Three Corners hike and I tell them where the group will meet on Farrington Hwy past Waialua High School. Also note that there are many guest hikers on hand today. All told there are 40-50 on the hike, including plenty na wahine. Jackie (my gf) was supposed to join me today but she had to work.

Donna gives her prehike spiel and she concludes with "Let's go hiking!" Given the green light, the thundering herd departs Ka Nuku and charges down the Old Pali Road, with Donna, Janice, and George setting the pace. I hang back, taking pics with my digi cam. Beautiful day. I stop at one point to look back at Ka Nuku. The sheer cliffs leading up to Pu'u Lanihuli are magnificent sights.

When we reach the place where we have to duck under the viaduct to pick up the old road on the makai side, there is a hiker-jam. Instead of waiting in line, I sit on a boulder and change from running shoes to Sharks. Okay, I'm ready to mish and mash in the mud.

Even with the stop to change shoes, I still have to wait in line to duck under the viaduct. Donna posts herself at the makeshift stairs to make sure all goes well. I end up behind a local couple and their teenaged daughter, noting how the husband coaches wife and daughter about the finer points of negotiating a slick trail.

We reach the junction where we leave the old road and head left to pick up a trail that switches back to gain the crest of a spur ridge. I'm almost at the end of the thundering herd, Donna having passed me. And I wait to make sure an older local gentleman, his granddaughter and her daughter see this turnoff. They thank me for pointing out the turnoff. I wave and stride off.

Someone has come through beforehand to work on the trail, I note. Nice job to that unknown person (or persons). Before we reach the junction where we turn left to head to the falls, we encounter a sixsome of haole kids hiking up the trail They aren't in our group. No adult in sight.

A minute later, we meet a haole fatherly-type, inquiring about the kids. Yup, they're a minute up the trail, we say. "That's about an hour in adult time," he replies, huffing and puffing at the same time.

At the junction, a horde of hikers is congregated. Most aren't with our group. The adults are wearing name tags. Didn't catch the name of the organization, however.

How far to the falls? someone asks. Oh, about five minutes, someone answers. That can't be, says the husband/coach. He'll see, I think to myself.

The scene at the falls reminds me of the jungle village scene from Appocalypse Now. People are packed together everywhere there is space to sit or stand. For most, the outbound leg ends there. For me, I'm bound for Likelike Hwy via the Likeke Trail.

I scan the throng to see if Fred and company are around. I see Janice, who tells me Fred them just headed out. Okay, I'll push hard to catch them, I think.

In about ten minutes, I catch Fred and group and hike with them along Likeke. We move along steadily as the trail winds in and out of gullies and over small ridges. The trail is in decent shape a surprise since it probably sees only light hiker traffic. No major obstructions. No uluhe blockage.

At one point, we stop and rest at a segment with a clear view down to Koolau Golf Course, H-3, and beyond. I spot a distinct trail heading down a spur and descend it for 70-80 meters to see where it goes. Maybe to a pakalolo patch, I surmise. Bring some back if you find any, someone says. The path peters out at a hau grove and I reverse field to return to the waiting group. What's down there? ask Fred. Nothing much, say I. Definitely no cannabis sativa.

We ramble on on Likeke, reaching its start/terminus at the abandoned parking area on the Kaneohe side of the Wilson Tunnel in about ten minutes. The parking area has been cleared of weeds and trash. Fred wonders if the state/city is going to reopen the lot. I express my doubts, especially since the lot is situated at a dangerous spot exit/entrance-wise from the highway.

From the lot, we walk on the shoulder of the highway for about 50 meters and veer right down a trail just before a lone tall tree (African Tulip?). The initial going is semi-steep & semi-muddy and some resort to butt-sliding. Next time we go up there for trail maintenance, we have to dig some steps in the slope, I note.

One of the wahines in our group is having more trouble than the rest going down and I offer one of my poles. She gladly accepts and thanks me.

We have no problem going down since the trail is well-marked. However, once we get near H-3, we miss a turn and end up off the trail and wading through overhead buffalo grass. I assume the ramrod at this point, getting us back to the marked trail after about five minutes of crashing. Meanwhile, George and one of the wahines hop over the H-3 fence and jog along the highway to get to the place where we cross under H-3 to get to Hoomaluhia. Their way is faster but involves scaling a fence.

We all reach Hoomaluhia okay, and I bid the group goodbye. They head left to walk down the park access road to Fred's truck, staged earlier by the park's front gate on Luluku Road. I head right, making my way through the park via a system of maintenance roads and trails to get back to Kionaole and my vehicle.

I zip through Hoomaluhia, needing about 30 minutes to reach my vehicle. Not many people are in the park, which is a shame since it's a beautiful place for picnics, campouts, and short hikes. There is also a diverse collection of native and introduced plants in the gardens, so flora enthusiasts would enjoy it as well.

On the way home, I stop at Island Mini Mart for a XL drink and a snack. Grab a warm shower at home. Nap time? Probably.

--DKT


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