OHE November 8, 1999 (Lanipo)

Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 23:34:24 -1000
From: Roger Sorrell (alohaboys@attglobal.net>
Subject: Lanipo

Wasn't it great to be hiking in the Ko'olaus again? After trekking in the mysterious Waianaes, coming back to the Ko'olaus, and Lanipo especially, seemed like a reunion with old friends. Most of us had hiked this trail before, some of us many times, and we well remembered its well-worn ups and downs--especially the descents, most noteworthily coming back, where the long descent before the last sharp ascent--an unusual feature-- has tired many a hearty hiker. But the splendid morning weather convinced us that Lanipo was well worth another go, and our customary enthusiasm was, as usual, proven correct. Lanipo's obvious path has an asset Solemates have grown to enjoy. It offers many options to hikers. For those wishing only a short outing to get back in shape or work up a sweat, it provides a safe, open trail. For those wishing great views, it has these in abundance. And for those wishing a true challenge, it has the reputation for being a definite test of endurance to achieve the summit.

So we did it all, each to our own satisfaction. We welcomed back Erika, truly an old friend--an original--who has survived not only many Solemates treks but a 90 mile per hour wind while on a Caribbean cruise recently. For her and others who were getting back into shape, the views up to the crest and back all the way to Diamond Head and Honolulu provided an inspiring setting for a good workout and chance to talk story with the group she had much missed, and that had missed her. We found many native plant "old friends", also: the a'ali'i tree with its glorious profusion of crimson seed pods (intimations of things to come, since it blooms all over the drylands in the late winter and early spring); a branching giant lobelia in flower; and a rain forest alani bush with one of those great scientific names: Melicope rotundifolia. The botanist who named this plant had seen too many pretty opera stars who had eaten too many bonbons!

Most of us forged on to attain a spectacular view looking down on Ka'au crater, and discussed how rewarding it had been a few months ago to circle the crater by ascending the two ridges surrounding it up to the Ko'olau crest there. Then six hearty souls (Soles) decided to press on to Lanipo's top. Our summiteers raced toward it and gained it in a frenzy of effort--then to face changing weather on their descent, as a suddenly looming Kona storm transformed the sun-struck green of the rain forest summits into a misty fantasy of far pavilions.

Our returning Solemates, plowing back, then resting and talking story at times, were cooled by the upcoming sea breezes and mist. They emerged triumphant, though well-winded, late in the afternoon.

So went another outing with "old friends" to some, a new adventure to others.

See you next week! David and Roger

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