OHE October 2, 1998

Date: Fri, 2 Oct 1998 00:21:23 -1000
From: Sergio Lotenschtein (loetch@iav.com>
Subject: Wahiawa Hills

Although a bit late on this, it still worth writing about. At the end of California ave. (after passing too many churches), Phyllis, Myles and I got started on the Wahiawa hills hike. We parked by a large water tank and followed the fence line for a bi t. Because the area is well trodded on we had a hard time finding the trail head. We followed some of the markers but that lead us right into the Army Rangers training area. After some backtracking we located a long steep descent and picked up the trail.

Balls book is rather confusing in its direction so we just decided to let our experience guide us. Although not a tough hike it was enjoyable picking our way through the eucalyptus and the paperbark. A slimy rivulet and finally to an Idyllic river.

The trail is wide at this point, a virtual walk in the woods for awhile till we reached a junction. To the left and up I suspect it lead to Poamoho and all points beyond. To the right and down we headed toward the swimming hole described by Ball. It looked deep but the quality of the water was far from inviting. It looked more polluted than muddy.

We again crossed the stream and ran into an odd pair. He had a gun and both were in Camies. He said they were pig hunting. It was too late for that. Probably got a stash of plants up or down river. Don't ask, don't tell.

After the stream it becomes a pleasent walk in the woods till we started going down a muggy slope and crossed a stagnant pool. Soon after that we emerged back to were we started.

Its an easy hike and not one for views. I need that kind of hike every so often. The air is full of scents and the uluhe far enough from the ankles. We are considering taking the KST connection but are unsure how far to Poamoho. Anyone done the left and up?

By the way. It was a nice surprise seeing the HTMC gang moving up from Makapuu. We're planning on doing Mariners to Palolo either this sunday or the one after.

Hike till you drop.


Reply From: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>

In response to Segio's question about a Wahiawa Hills--Poamoho connection:

> We are considering taking the KST connection but are unsure how far to Poamoho. Anyone done the left and up?

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "the KST connection," (the summit is far, far away) but I know the area pretty well and I think I know what you're getting at. A topographic map of the area is a great help in planning the kind of connecting hike that I believe you are talking about.

Let's assume that you are going around the Wahiawa Hills loop in a clockwise direction. After completing the north side of the loop (the "virtual walk in the woods") you come to the junction you mentioned. To the right and steeply down is the N. fork of Kaukonahua Stream. If you go up and to the left instead, you come in about ten minutes to a ridgeline which separates the Kaukonahua watershed from the Poamoho watershed. There is a trail of sorts along that ridgeline that heads toward the summit of the Koolaus, but that summit is many miles away. We followed the trail one time for about 30 minutes; I don't know how far it might go beyond that.

If you stand on the ridge in question facing the summit, Poamoho Stream is on your left, and the dirt road to Poamoho Trail is on the ridge beyond the stream. I.e., in order to get over there, you'd have to descend northwards into the valley, cross Poamoho Stream, and ascend the other side to join the dirt road; at that point you'd be about a mile or two from the Poamoho trailhead. I know of no trails, but I'm pretty sure that hunters, the military, and paramilitary weekend warriors move around in that area.

Back to the ridge in question, though. If you were to hike about three miles mauka along the ridge, you'd find yourself looking down to your left on the narrowest section of Poamoho Valley. (On the topo this is near a spot on the ridge in question marked 1915'.) If you made it down to the stream in that area, you'd find it to be beautiful, though you'd have to wade and rock-hop in the streambed for lack of a trail. If you crossed Poamoho Stream and proceeded north, directly up the opposite side of the valley, you'd wind up on the Poamoho Trail. There is a steep but doable trail up the hillside there; it may or may not be discernable for those walking along the Poamoho Trail, but I doubt anyone would ever find it by walking along the streambed. That sidetrail junction is about 30-40 minutes mauka from the Poamoho trailhead.

(I should make it clear that we have not done that three-mile stretch along the ridge in question. I have no idea whether or not it's really doable or whether or not there's a trail. We have been down to Poamoho Stream, though, via the sidetrail from the Poamoho Trail.)

Here's something that might interest a few of you: If you walked up Poamoho Stream for about two hours from that point, being extremely careful because of the slippery boulders, you'd come to some pools that fill the narrow valley floor and impede further progress. These pools are no more than one mile, if that, from the summit. If you doffed your packs and clothes and swam through three or four of these frigid, deep pools, making a sharp turn to the left in the process, you'd come upon a ten-foot waterfall gushing into a tight, dark cavern with high rock walls. Any Oahu waterfall enthusiast would find this setting to be as enchanting as it is inaccessible.

Here's another way to get down to Poamoho Stream, much farther downstream. Say that you're doing the Wahiawa Hills loop in a clockwise fashion. When you first approach the north side of the loop you cross a dirt road that leads back to a Naval radio base. You see evidence of military exercises and you might notice a trail leading north, i.e. to the left. If you poke about you'll find an old, old switchback trail that leads down the hillside to Poamoho Stream. It hits the stream just downstream of the opening of the Poamoho Tunnel (the function of which I'm not clear about). There's an old dam down there and some old dam-related machinery. The switchback trail and the tunnel show up on the topo as very faint lines, easy to miss, but they are there. The trail was completely overgrown when we did it, but its footbed was solid.

Anyone who wants more specifics may send email direct to me. I'd love to exchange information about lesser-known destinations.


Return to OHE top | Return to Oahu Hike Tales | Email Dayle