OHE November 22, 1999 (Peacock Flats Campout)

Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 14:54:24 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@k12.hi.us>
Subject: Peacock Flats Campout

Desiring to keep the momentum going, CARMEN CRAIG and LYNN AGENA, two participants of the October Ka'a'awa "Virgin" backpacking trip, got together with me Saturday morning, Nov. 20th, for more "training" with the goal of joining a group of our friends at Peacock Flats. We met in the parking area below the Ka'ena Point Satellite Tracking Station guard shack at 8:30 a.m. and, upon checking in with the sentry, drove up the road. At the top of Kuaokala Ridge we proceeded to a dirt lot near the start of the Kuaokala Trail (elev. 1,300 ft).

After final preps, our threesome continued on foot weighed down with heavy packs and began hiking along the graded contour section of Kuaokala a few minutes prior to 9 a.m. We could not have asked for a better day weatherwise, almost completely clear blue sky, an abundance of sunshine and cool breezes. As we made our way along the trail, I noticed many pine trees (the type that produce cones), and the sound of the wind soughing through the ironwoods with the nippy gusts made it seem like we were on the mainland, perhaps Northern California.

Eventually, the three of us traveled on a firebreak dirt road created by a bulldozer. It is designed to keep flames from spreading, but, in my opinion, the DLNR did an excessive job and ruined this stretch of the trail. Further ahead, we left the firebreak behind and took pleasure from our first vista of Makua Valley. The green "carpet" of the valley floor, rugged Ohikilolo Ridge, the triangular peak on the ridge and massive Mount Ka'ala in the distance certainly caught our attention not to mention the superb view of the leeward coast.

As we endured roller coaster action in route to the Kuaokala Access Rd., an interesting pattern developed. I led the way a few feet ahead while the ladies gabbed about various topics on the level and downhill sections, but they fell strangely silent during the steep ascents!

We reached the terminus of the Kealia Trail then, following a stiff climb between tall eucalyptus trees, arrived at the end of a dirt road (elev. 1,960 ft) and paused for a breather. A few minutes later, we dropped down to the Kuaokala Access Rd. and tramped along it for a distance.

At a junction the three of us turned right and ascended gradually toward the abandoned Nike missle site. We encountered three friendly mountain bikers and one of them warned us about a steep series of inclines via short switchbacks coming up. I cringed when the dude mentioned it because I didn't want the ladies to know. However, to passify LYNN and CARMEN, I promised them lunch once we had gained the top of the hill. The two of them huffed and puffed (CARMEN applying her technique of counting 80 steps before pausing to catch her breath while climbing steep segments) but passed the test with flying colors!

At 12 noon our threesome arrived at a spot above the Nike site and halted to enjoy an outstanding lookout of Oahu's north shore, the white wake of waves breaking off the coast and the foothills between Haleiwa Town and the Northern Ko'olaus clearly visible. Nevertheless, the area was not shaded, so we continued the trek, gaining the Makua Rim Trail. Despite carrying a 44 pound pack, I thoroughly delighted in hiking the initial section of the footpath up to and including the 12 brief switchbacks. Meanwhile, one of the gals grumbled about my broken promise to stop for lunch.

At 12:15 p.m. at the top of the switchbacks, I finally gave in and the three of us sat down in shade to consume the midday meal. CARMEN dined on a ham sandwich she purchased from Safeway while LYNN ate a chocolate bar she claimed contained lots of carbos. I snacked on a package of dehydrated fruit (also available at Safeway) and washed them down with a 12 oz. Dr. Pepper.

We "saddled up" again at 12:45, and, further ahead, stopped briefly at an enclosure to look for snails on the leaves of the trees inside. Seeing none, the three of us pressed on to the "breathtaking overlook along the Makua rim"* where we paused to gaze at the floor of Makua Valley far below, the imposing flanks of Ohikilolo Ridge, the triangular peak and lone Norfolk Island pine on the same ridge, broad, white sand Makua Beach and the deep blue Pacific Ocean fronting Makua Valley in the distance.

Beyond the overlook, we endured intrusive uluhe and rollercoaster action with steamy conditions (little or no breeze). Just above the twin Norfolk Island pines situated on the rim that mark the beginning of the Piko Trail, we heard a hoot from CAROLE MOON, and LYNN answered back. When we reached the two pines I stopped briefly to look for the old, broken metal tags STUART BALL wrote about recently on OHE-L but did not find them.

Our threesome descended to a junction, departed the Makua Rim Trail and dropped down to the Mokuleia Campsite. During the final approach to the shelter at 1:56 p.m. I stepped aside and let LYNN and CARMEN arrive first to the applaus and cheers of KEN SUZUKI, INGER LIDMAN, CAROLE MOON, and JUNE MIYASATO. We talked story with our compadres for about twenty minutes, KEN telling us about their day hike (an attempt to find the springs in the region) and how BRANDON STONE, KAY LYNCH, and RALPH VALENTINO were still searching for it having done essentially the same loop three times!

At 2:20 p.m. the seven of us departed the shelter/campsite and walked down to the Peacock Flats campground via the Mokuleia Trail and a dirt road. LESTER OHARA greeted us in his normal jolly style, and we commenced the task of setting up our tents. The others, including LESTER, had arrived the previous afternoon. Several peacocks live in the area and occasionally emerged from the surrounding woods, and the topography is relatively flat, hence the name Peacock Flats. The grassy campground contains three open shelters built by the Boy Scouts, a compost toilet, with tall Norfolk Island pines on the perimeter, the only negative of the spot being the presence of mosquitoes.

BRANDON, KAY, and RALPH returned from their adventure in due time, and blue skies gave way to overcast once afternoon transitioned to early evening. Some rain fell but nothing substantial. LESTER started a contained fire inside a metal tire rim (open fires are illegal at Peacock Flats), and we all ate an early dinner. BRANDON gave us a quick lesson on juggling and, later, as the night progressed, with the exception of KEN and INGER, we gave each other massages. I had the pleasure of doing MS. MOON (a rubdown while she sat in a chair in front of me) and I received the same from her (in your face, JAY FELDMAN, eat your heart out!!!). :-)

Jokes and anecdotes abounded resulting in hearty laughter, but sometime after 9 p.m. we got serious when a DLNR truck pulled up into the campground. Four older dudes got out and started sniffing around asking for our permits. They inspected the fire to make sure it was contained, and one of them flashed a light on each of our tents. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, the men entered the State vehicle and drove off. Soon, the happy atmosphere revived thanks to RALPH VALENTINO and his one liners. 10 p.m. came and went and took with it a few of the campers to slumberland inside their tents. LESTER and I were the last to retire for the evening at approx. 11:30 p.m.

Next: A day hike to Three Corners and along Ohikilolo Ridge


* Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO HAWAI'I. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1996.

== Paka

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