OHE November 7, 1999 (Manamana)

Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 19:56:12 -1000
From: KalalauRich (kalalau@gte.net>
Subject: Puu Manamana

This morning 11 of us met at Swanzy Beach Park at 8:30 planning to hike up to Puu Manamana. The hikers included Rich Jacobson, Jay Feldman, Grant Oka, Nathan Yuen, Thomas Yoza, Charlotte Yamane, Kay Lynch, Brandon Stone, Ed Gilman, Mr. Kim, and Lynn Agena. We split into two groups. Charlotte, Kay and Brandon elected to start at the cemetery off of Trout Farm Road. The other eight began at the traditional trailhead down from Swanzy Beach Park. Our plan was to meet up at "Turnover" marked by a Geodesic Survey marker at the top of Puu Manamana. From there we would decide how to get back down.

I had never done this hike before and after reading in Stu Ball's book that this hike is one of the most dangerous hikes on the island I decided to ask Jay about its dangers. He responded "I am not sure why Stu said that since I don't consider it difficult and not at all dangerous". Jay assured me that he was confident that I would not have any problems on the hike. Of course after the hike Jay told me that he forgot about all those hairy spots reasoning that perhaps he had suppressed the memories to protect him against overwhelming anxiety.

Earlier Jay and I met on Luluku Street to carpool to Swanzy Beach Park. We flipped a coin to decide who would drive. I won. Perhaps this would be my lucky day and I would complete the hike without injury. Only time would tell.

As we began the hike Grant was in the lead and I was second. Grant turned to me and said "What am I doing in front. I am a slow hiker. Why don't you take the lead.". So I did.

The day began somewhat overcast and did not improve much throughout the hike. We experienced light rain on and off most of the day with some clearing toward early afternoon. The cloud cover obscured most of the views on the way up. This was a mixed blessing. On the bad side was a missed opportunity to see some great views. On the positive side was not being able to see the steep drop offs:-))

I felt particularly energetic this morning and kept a rather brisk pace up the rather steep climb up the mountain. For those of you who have not done this hike, it does involve some scaling of rock faces that are exposed with some steep drop offs. There are some cables at certain points for assisting your ascent. At one of the more exposed areas without any cables I reached out with my right hand to grab hold of a rock outcropping and just before I put my full weight on it, the rock came loose. Fortunately I regained my balance before tumbling down the left side of the ridge. I was certainly grateful for that and felt that my winning the coin toss earlier portended positively for me that day.

After about a half hour of climbing I looked behind me but could not see anyone. The visibility was not very good due to the heavy mist. After scaling several rock faces and crossing narrow dikes I reached point on the ridge where there was a very steep drop off. Fortunately there was a cable there and I descended without incident. I continued along the ridge until I reached a point where the trail met a junction. Do I go right or left to get to the meeting place?? Since I did not know I waited. Ed showed up about ten minutes later but he did not know either. About 20 minutes passed before Nathan and Mr. Kim arrived. Nathan indicated that we turn right to reach the meeting place.

Ed, Nathan, Mr. Kim and I arrived at Puu Manamana at about 11:20. Charlotte and company had not yet arrived. We decide it was close enough to lunch time and that we were hungry enough to eat without waiting for the others. After finishing lunch we chatted for a while. It was windy, rainy and rather chilly just sitting there so after several minutes we decided to hike down toward the cemetery to meet up with Charlotte et al. After a dozen steps down the trail I saw Brandon coming up. We returned to the original meeting place where the three new arrivals ate their lunch.

Wondering where Jay, Grant, Lynn and Thomas were Charlotte used her two way radio to call Thomas. He responded saying that they were at the junction where I originally stopped to wait for directions and would be there shortly. We waited for a few minutes and decided to start exploring a different way to go through Hidden Valley to return. Charlotte, Ed, Nathan, Mr. Kim, Brandon, Kay and I started down the overgrown trail. Part way down Brandon suggested that we bushwhack down into the valley instead of heading down the more established trail which was heading in the wrong direction. I looked at the dense uluhe and decided to go back. Mr. Kim returned also. When I reached the original meeting place, Jay, Lynn, Thomas and Grant had arrived. Five minutes later those who had planned to bushwhack also returned. They decided that the poor visibility made it dangerous to proceed farther.

We decided that we would return via the Kahekili Trail to get back to our cars. This involved retracing our steps back to the trail junction. While Jay, Thomas, Lynn and Grant ate lunch the others headed down. Kay and Brandon brought up the rear as they were interested in exploring the native plants. Mr. Kim took the lead and kept a brisk pace back to the junction and down to the top of the waterfall in Hidden Valley. Although the rainfall had been plentiful the night before and today there was only a trickle at the waterfall. After waiting for Charlotte for about fifteen minutes we decided that she was probably checking out the local flora and proceeded down.

After negotiating a rather step descent down a rocky face with the assistance of a cable I sat down in an open grassy area with a rather spectacular ocean and mountain view. I watched as the others descended the cables noticing each person's technique in negotiating the climb down. Charlotte seemed to have the best technique as she effortlessly floated down the cliff.

As we were making the final descent Charlotte noticed that Mabel's car was at Swanzy Beach Park. But when we got there at about 2:30 it was gone. It turned out that she had gone down to the usual exit from the cemetary. Fortunately we all waited patiently at Swanzy until Mabel showed up with her usual goodies. Kudos to Mabel for the culinary delights. And thanx to everyone for making this another great adventure for the Oahu Hiking Enthusiasts.

Happy trails and safe hiking,


PS Hopefully by next hike my digital camera will have arrived and I could include some pics for my next post.

Reply From: JFEL873@aol.com (Jay Feldman)

I'd just like to respond to this comment. Considering the current state of my cerebral calcification or extraordinary ability to disremember, you might think you could understand my obviously absurd comment above. But you'd be mistaken. The real reason for what I told Rich was that I've always gone up Kahekili and down Crouching Lion (Pu'u Manamana), and over time substituted one ascent for the other. So my advice to Rich was based on my memory of climbing Kahekili, a rugged but not excessively difficult hike.

In fact, Pu'u Manamana is a difficult, dangerous, and potentially treacherous hike just as Stuart Ball describes it in The Hikers Guide to O'ahu. Wil Kawano and I will be coordinating HTM's Pu'u Manamana hike on Nov 21 and I want to emphasize that it is for members only and considered very advanced. I recommend it highly as an excellent and challenging trail but only for the expert hiker.


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