Eight of us were going to go up Kipapa, cross over to Manana, and come out Manana trail. It is so long and difficult that we allot two days.
6:30 parked at the Manana trailhead, and then drove over in two cars to Kipapa. Started 8 a.m. sharp. Steve Poor and friend came along to do the dayhike up Kipapa and turn around.
First part was uneventful, and the trail was wide open. In an hour or so we hit the section of the trail that is one continuous landslide. We have to be careful not to slide off almost all the time. Mike Uslan decided to withdraw when he fell off and had to be dragged back by Dayle Turner. He told me that they recommended that I turn back also, since they won't wait for me at the top.
With 3 days of provision in my pack, I decided to press on. Bad conditions continued for hours and hours. About 2 pm, Don Fox turned around, complaining about a bruised leg. About 2:30, Poor and co. turned around. They said they reached the top one hour ago, about half hour ahead of the main group, who rested at the famous "stream". They should be at the top right now and starting their crossing. Poor also asked me if I wanted to turn around and come out with him. I declined. I figured that I should at least gain the top. There is only 4 hours of daylight left, and I won't make it out in 4 hours anyway. I thought I'll decide what to do at the top.
Once there is an option out, I become deflated. About half hour later I got to the famous stream, from which they (and Stuart Ball said so) hoped to get water. Not a drop. But it is a nice place and I sat down to eat lunch (past 3 pm already) even though I wasn't even hungry (too much excitment). I recall it was half hour to the top from the stream, but I went slower and slower.
The top part was like a dream world, with steep, huge mountain faces covered with short grass, that looks similar to the top of Waimalu Middle, and parts of Hong Kong. Maybe I'll change my will :)
I took 1.5 hours to go from the stream to the top. I tied one of my own ribbon at the metal stake that marks the KST, and I tied another huge ribbon at the top. I looked to the right and saw a new trail going down that my comrades just made. It is past 5 pm, it is totally fogged in, and to cross over so much behind the main group is not just a dangerous adventure, it is suicidal. I decided to pass.
It's been more than ten years since I got up here. Every time prior, I saw magnificent views. Nothing to see this time. The goal of cross-over that I propagandized for 2.5 years is irretrievably slipping out of my reach. I wanted to break down and cry.
The top is too windy to sleep in. I walked back to the stream and bivoucked there. Every time before that I slept outside I was cold, and so I brought along a super-warm jacket, which I then wore, and wrapped a space blanket all around me as a "tent". 6:30 it is pitch dark already, and there is no TV program, and so I went to sleep. The arrangement was satisfactory. I was toasty warm all night. Amazingly I looked at the watch at 9 pm and the next time I looked it was 5 am, meaning that I was sound asleep for 8 hours. I got woken up at 5 am because it started pouring. The space blanket plus jacket combination worked, and I could even sleep fitfully while it rained.
I got up at 6:30, and started going back at 7 am. I was making good time until I got to the 2-mile-long-landslide about 11. The trail got wet from the morning downpour, and the footing was atrocious. I fell down countless times and had to laboriously crawl back up. The steep landslide plus rockface was also very exciting, especially on the way back; the maneuver was easier on the way in, much harder on the way out. I worked so hard that I developed a headache. Many times I cursed the trail.
About 2 pm it abruptly got better. The rest was the two palm tree spots, the giant Norfolk pine spot, the lone ti-plant spot, and finally the paperbark forest spot that old trail we used ten years ago used to branch off. From there it's only 15 minutes to the houses, at which I arrived at 3:25 pm.
I moaned and groaned to myself that I had to walk the miles out to Ka Uka and then get a taxi. About half hour into the walk, a car passed by and inquired what I was doing, and I said Dr. Pete Caldwell got permission from Doug Payne. Turned out he is Mr. Payne himself! He graciously offered to give me a ride to the Manana trailhead. I offered the story that some jerk of a hiker washed his hiking boots in the swimming pool of one of houses, and Mr. Payne said he never heard of that one!
It was 4:30 and I decided to sit around a while. My slow hiking partner Slow Walter showed up, expecting to see me come out of Manana. We talked story and they left 5:30. I sat there another half hour and stood up to leave at 6:10 when I saw a slim figure walking out with a big pack. That turned out to be Gene Robinson, and his girlfriend was waiting for him. They all made it across and some of them are behind and hiking out in the dark.
I am sure they have a fascinating story to tell.