OHE September 26, 1998

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 13:42:26 -1000
From: Nathan Yuen (nyuen@lava.net>
Subject: Konahuanui Adventure

Seeing all the familiar vehicles but no trail-maintenance crew in sight, it slowly dawned on me that I had suffered an alzheimer's attack and forgotten the meeting time was moved up to 7:15 AM. Since I hadn't a clue where the new route to the Halawa ridge trail was, I decided to forego my usual expedition with the trail-maintenance crew and join the regular club hike to the summit of Konahuanui.

Since I had ascended Konahuanui from the Ahualama Trail at Manoa Falls before, I decided to try something different and ascend up via the Nuuanu-Judd Trail at Jackass Ginger. SoI I drove up Old Pali Road and parked on the edge of the road near the stand of banyan trees and crossed the stream. After a short jaunt through a bamboo forest, I found myself ascending a series of switchbacks through a grove of magnificent stately norfolk pines. Continuing up and onward, I rounded the ridge and found myself overlooking Pacific Heights and Pauoa Valley with lovely ohia and koa trees beside the trail and uluhe ferns on the steep slope flowing to the valley floor below. Soon after I reached the junction with the Pauoa Flats Trail and met up with the club hikers ascending via the Ahualama Trail.

While the solitude of my hike was nice thus far, I also greatly enjoyed the company of a dozen of so fellow HTMC hikers as we rested at the lookout spot overlooking the reservoir in Nuuanu Valley with Lanihuli looming in the background. As we began our ascent, the clouds obscured the summit of Konahuanui. All along the southern coast of the island, the sun shone brightly overhead giving spectactular views of Diamond Head, Downtown Honolulu, and Pearl Harbor. But the interior of the island was dark and overcast.

As we climbed ever higher, I slipped in the mud and jammed my left ringer into a rock. Thinking it was merely a sprain, I continued with the group to reach the highest point on the Koolaus. As we neared the top, we pierced the cloud ceiling and watched the mists envelope the lapalapa and ohia trees. After snacking a bit, a handful of the group decided to push onward to reach the second, taller peak of Konahuanui. Wading through calf-deep mud and pushing through the overgrown vegetation, we were treated to momentary lifting of the clouds when we were able to see the greenswept beauty of Maunawili below us. As we reach the second peak of Konahuanui at 3150 feet high, we were disappointed that the clouds had not dissipated but had intensified instead.

As we retraced our way back down the mountain, the clouds which had once only covered the peaks of Konahuanui had now spread out over Nuuanu and Manoa Valleys. Descending further down the mountain, the clouds released their rain on us making the steep descent even more tricky that usual. Several of us slipped and gouged out footholds that were so conveniently carved into the trail. Continuing our descent we reached the lookout spot overlooking the Nuuanu reservoir and noted how the dark and dreary it looked. As we reached the Aihualama Trail, the bid farewell to my compadres and continued towards the Nuuanu Trail where I left without incident.

When I got home, the finger I had jammed into the rock hurt like the dickens and continued to swell. Oh well I thought, so it's a bad sprain. As the night progressed my finger took on reddish hue and had become so swollen that it could not bend. And by morning it was almost purple. Fortunately, I work at Queen's Medical Center, so it's very convenient for me receive medical attention. After taking x-rays, the doctor said that a bone in my finger was chipped-off along with a ligament. Additionally several blood vessels ruptured leading to internal bleeding. Fortunately it supposed to heal itself. All the doctor has to do is ensure that as my finger heals, the bone fragment does not lodge itself between the joints in my fingers and prevent the finger from bending.

BTW, the Orthopedic Surgeon who looked at me was very familiar with the climb to Konahuanui and scolded me, saying that I had aggravated the injury by continuing on when I should have turned back. He chided me saying that the pressure from using the ropes was probably responsible for aggravating the inflammation and internal damage to the blood vessels. In defense of myself, I told him that I fall all the time and get sprained fingers all the time, without any real injury. And besides I quipped, once I was up there I had no choice but to get back down.

Anyway... it supposed to take 6-8 weeks to completely heal. But my entire finger is supposed to turn back-and-blue. And I gotta tape it to my middle finger so I don't use the finger. I am pleased to report however, that in the meantime I can still going hiking.

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