OHE November 21, 1999 (Aiea Ridge)



Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 18:43:15 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Aiea Ridge H20 mission

Fifteen liters of water are now cached at the summit of Aiea Ridge for an upcoming mammoth backpacking trip. Mahalo to Dr. Wing Ng, Henry Davis, Thomas Yoza, and Dr. Rich Jacobson for helping to lug water and providing company today.

The haps:

On OHE the other day, I post a request for assistance, hoping a few folks will turn out to lend a hand. Henry emails, saying he'll help. Wing also says he's game. We talk about possibly crossing over to Halawa. Meeting time is set at 7:45 this morning at the start of Aiea Loop. I meet Wing at the end of Iwaena Street in Halawa Valley and we leave his car there, just in case.

After the struggle to reach Kamaohanui yesterday, I am not feeling hunky dory this a.m. But staging H20 is important, so up Aiea it will be. Wing and I arrive at the Loop start point at 7:50 and waiting there are Henry, Rich, and Thomas. The latter two hadn't stated their intention to attend prior, but I'm glad to have them join us all the same.

Around 8:15, we're on the trail, lugging heavier packs than normal but moving steadily. We reach the start of the ridge trail in half an hour and are taking a rest break at the base of Kawipoo an hour after that. The summit ridge is clouded in. The trail is muddy but not overly so.

Wing has fallen back. We won't see him again till 2 p.m.

It's a two-pole day for me. Ditto for Thomas. I love my poles. Great for saving my knees, back, and legs. Provide some upper body workout as well. Go now Hawaii... :-)

When we summit Kawipoo (elev 2,441), I tell the others, "Half an hour to the top." Turns out I'm fifteen minutes off. We need 45.

Almost complete whiteout at the summit. Visibility maybe 100 feet. We plop down at the grassy area just to the lee of the bushes that separate it from the summit cliff. No view anyway so why bother sitting on the edge? Plus, it's cold.

When we gather all the extra water hauled up for a cache, the total is 15 liters. I'm impressed. I thank those who have labored, stick the booty in a trash bag, and hide it in the bushes. "There is enough for a bubble bath," I declare.

During lunch, Rich and Henry talk about digital cameras. Rich has his, and he snaps a few shots when the clouds lift for a few minutes, revealing the sun-soaked windward side. Henry snaps some photos too. Thomas points out where he lives in back of Temple Valley Shopping Center.

Then the clouds roll in again. White-out again. "The show's over," says Thomas.

We again settle in at the lee clearing. We relax, call out for Wing (no reply heard), and just enjoy the fact that we'll be hiking the rest of the day with much lighter packs.

The whiteout conditions rule out a crossover to Halawa, and at 12:30, we pack up our stuff and head back down the ridge trail. We sail along, enjoying the downhills and the lightened loads on our backs. Did I tell you I love my poles?

We make good time on the way back, reaching Kawipoo in thirty minutes. We meet three Navy guys there. "How far to the summit?" they inquire. "Forty-five minutes," is our reply.

We ask if they've seen Wing. "Doing a number with those loppers," they say.

Did I ever tell you how much Wing loves his loppers?

From Kawipoo, we say farewell to the Navy guys and keep heading down. Rich jumps out ahead and we don't see him again until we get back to the cars. We eventually catch up to Wing. He talks about descending a trail down a spur to Halawa Valley (remember his car is at the end of Iwaena). No one expresses an interest in that, so Wing says he'll try it another day. I tell him I'll give him a ride back to his car.

When we reach the junction with the loop trail, Wing, Henry, Thomas, and I plop down to rest. It's about 2:45. Mel Yoshioka (HTMC and Sierra Club) shows up. He's doing an exercise hike on the loop. We chat with him for a while. Then we all head back down the loop together, Mel included.

We're back at our cars by 3:30. Thomas has some cold drinks for us. We talk story some more. I again express my thanks to everyone for helping out. Fifteen liters, more than expected.

I drop Wing off (not before stopping at 7-11 to get a Super Big Gulp) and then head home. Clean my muddy gear. Hop in the shower. Eat a nice dinner. Hack out this report. Computer goes off. TV on. The show "Everest" is coming on in five minutes.

Hike on,

--DKT


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