OHE October 12, 1998 (c)

Date: Mon, 12 Oct 1998 23:47:33 -1000
From: Sergio Lotenschtein (loetch@iav.com>
Subject: Ohulehule

So much said about Paka's beloved mountain that five of us undertook to climb its flanks. My hiking comrades, Phyllis, Myles, Bob and Karen (who is just new to our outings) got some fine directions from Paka and headed into the Kahana Valley jungle.

This is only our second time into the valley and its a wondrous jungle full of hala and koa. Our OHE predecessors have done well to keep the trail passable and very readable. The hike really got interesting after we passed Kawa stream. An idyllic loc ation so pleasing to the eye. We stared at the oncoming walk through uluhe with that underbreath groan and many expletives that begin with ****weed.

We had gotten a late start and knew that we had to forego our usual lalala rest stops so we started pushing up from the 400 foot level. Without much fanfare this leg goes steadily up till we reached a small level spot on the saddle at about 1200 feet. My companions are hard core gym-aholics and did nothing more that compare their watches as if they were on a stair master. I don't really like structured workouts so I collapsed and tried to catch a five minute nap and breather.

What is most impressive is the view. You start seeing the ocean out of Kahana Bay, the back end of the ridge that houses crouching lion and Koaloa valley. I was also dazzled by what looked like two cables coming straight down 50+ feet from the middle rise of Ohulehule. Then the climb began in earnest. We had cloudy weather but no sense of rain. On these islands one can't feel confident with the prior statement -- rain cometh when it wants to. Its a very tight and narrow rise all the way to the top and I don't know who to congratulate for the knotted cable on the vertical rise, it saves a lot of time, life and limb. Many were the moments when the footing was not there and at one point into the second set of cables I had to rely on sheer umph to get over a root. Karen almost gave up there but sense prevailed after I threatened to take a permanent picture of her muddied ass and circulate it around her nursing peers.

The raspberries around 2000' are a pestilence and we cleared some of them. The fruit themselves were tart yet not so bad when mixed with stale shelled sunflower seeds (still in my pack from our August Kalalau trek). The view from the top is as it has b een described-- spectacular. The remains of a recent campfire and the shambles of what could have been a lean-to all tied up in orange ribbons were there. When I finally reached the top my buddies had been marveling the scene for 20 minutes. They threw a sandwich in my direction and told me I had 10 minutes to eat and rest.

The hike down is just as awesome and a sure guarantee at getting muddy. It was late afternoon and if we continued without stopping we could get out by nightfall. If I were a father and these bud's were my kids I'd give them to Paka as an adoptive parent. They are worthy of his speed. I was like tumbleweed rolling, only turning as obstructions changed my course. Back on the uluhe trail at 400' the group picked up speed like horses going back to the barn. Phyllis and I decided to amble along and enjoy the beauty that is the jungle. For all their efforts we managed to get out of the forest five minutes after they did. Using the dam to clean off our muddied boots we headed back to the car with just enough daylight to spare.

This is a must-do hike for all experienced trekkers. The marathon aspect of it is definitely a personal agenda. I don't prefer it as it makes me take for granted the beauty and the nature that surrounds me. Mt Ohulehule has one of the best views on th e island and we should all take advantage of it before Mike Wilson and bureaucrats decides that its off limits, or fee-based.

I want to thank all those maintenance crews for their efforts on these trails. You never get the true credit that you deserve.

Serge


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