Due to the weather outlook on Sunday, I decided not to join the HTMC gang for the Koloa Gulch hike but opted for another venture at Kaau Crater. I met a couple of friends at the trail head around 11:00 AM (had to watch the Miami Dolphin game first). With all the rain Thurs., Fri. and Sat., I expected the stream to be higher than the week before, actually there was very little difference in the stream depth but the falls were flowing with a lot more force. Rocks that were dry the previous week were now quite slippery and I had to be more cautious as I made my way up the falls. The east ridge was also much more slippery and as Wing pointed out last week, the footholds dug into the steep parts of the ridge made the climb a lot easier and a whole lot safer. Mahalo once again to the HTMC trail maintenance gang.
Met a group of six hikers coming down the ridge as I was going up. I asked if they had done the loop but they said they were coming down the way they went up. Also asked if they were going to attempt going down the falls route and they said no. I agreed that this was probably a good decision. I expected to get a mud bath crossing over the summit trail and down the west ridge, but to my surprise, the trail seemed to be in better shape than the week before. Don't know why but the descent was indeed less muddier. When we first got to the summit at around 1:30 it was really socked in but by the time we finished our lunch the view was spectacular. The summit remained clear as we made our way cross the summit to the second tower where we began our descent down the west ridge and eventually back down to the stream at crossing number 5. We reached our cars at approx. 3:30 so the entire loop took us 4 1/2 hours. What a great hike!
Patrick indicated in his trail maintenance write up that this trail should be maintained more than once a year due to the heavy growth. I sure agree with that. Seems that it would make the trail maintenance chore a whole lot easier. Perhaps we can organize a group to do this in about 5 or 6 months. Any interest?