OHE October 17, 1999 (Wailupe Ridge Loop)



Date: Sun, 17 Oct 1999 22:10:25 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Wailupe Ridge Loop (10/17/99)

The HTMC trail maintenance crew met in Wailupe Valley (Aina Haina) today to work on the loop route that ascends a ridge on the east side of the valley, crosses along the crest of the Koolau Range, descends the Wiliwilinui Trail, and returns to Wailupe via a steep guava tree ridge.

In attendance were Mabel Kekina, Deetsie Chave, John Hall, Grant Oka, Georgina Oka, Kost Pankiwskyj, Charlotte Yamane, Jason Sunada, Kim Roy, Judy Roy, Ralph Valentino, Wil Kawano, Nathan Yuen, Kay Lynch, and I. Mr. Kim, a Kaimuki resident who hikes the valley every Sunday, joined us today and proved to be a helpful, friendly man.

The air was steamy in the valley when we launched, so we took it slow as we worked our way up the eastern ridge. As we began to climb, we heard a volley of yells and whoops from a group of teenagers somewhere in the valley. Ralph, Kim, Grant, and I--quasi-teens ourselves, offered a return vocal volley, with Kim doing particularly impressive work with his Tarzan yell.

There wasn't much clearing to do on the lower two-thirds of the east ridge but uluhe and clidemia came into play in a big way higher up, so hack away we did. With not much rain in the area recently, the ground underfoot was dry and stable, so we were able to work our way upridge without having to slick and slop.

At one point near the top, ropes are available as climbing aids. Near the summit, there is also a junction with a trail that comes up a middle ridge of the valley, and Charlotte and Wil decided to head down the middle ridge trail instead of continuing to the top.

We summitted around 11:30, and since we were spent from the climb, the muggy conditions, and the uluhe hacking we'd done, we decided to stop for lunch at the Wailupe summit instead of crossing over to Wiliwilinui for lunch as we've done in the past. As we settled down at the summit clearing, we spotted a group of four heading toward us along the crest from the east (Hawaii Loa side). The foursome turned out to be Naomi Nasu, Dave Webb, Dick Beaton, and Dave Waller, who'd started out in Niu Valley and hiked up the Kulepeamoa Trail before crossing over. Their plan was to hike along the crest to Olympus, a tough piece of trekking, but during lunch they decided to nix that idea and head back to Kulepeamoa.

Lunch, as it usually is, was animated, relaxing, and fun. Mr Kim shared a variety of fruits and vegetables he'd lugged in his pack. Judy shared Almond Joy, Nathan his trademark candy, and Kay some soy seeds. At one point, someone reminded me to get a picture of Georgina's painted toe- and fingernails as a memento for Pat Rorie. And during our post-hike gathering I did.

We had cloudfree viewing conditions all during lunch and on the crossover to Wiliwilinui. Before heading across, we spotted paragliders making their way toward us from the east. When they passed in front of us, about 80-100 meters to windward, our yells failed to coax the gliders near our position on the crest. We eventually lost sight of them but they might have continued to Konahuanui and beyond. Grant mentioned that a couple of gliders appeared to be the same ones we'd watched land at Hauula Beach Park one Sunday this past summer. Now if they went all the way to Hauula today, that'd be an impressive accomplishment.

The summit section to Wiliwilinui was choked with clidemia but we did a decent job opening it up. As we neared Wiliwilinui, we met a group of three eastbound hikers, one a UH grad student from Norway who'd emailed me recently to request info about Oahu trails (he actually asked for "adwice"(foreign accent), a pronunciation faux pas that Kim Roy, later quizzed me about. I chatted briefly with the grad and agreed to get in contact by phone at some point in the next week or so.

Also near the Wiliwilinui terminus, we were greeted by Mabel, who'd hiked up Wiliwilinui with Deetsie Chave and John Hall. Mabel and Deetsie did some work along the summit while John, in recovery with a broken bone in his arm, only came partway up the trail before heading back. Deetsie's dog, Sam, also made it to the summit, and many of us took turns holding and petting the cuddly pooch.

After a 20 to 30 minute break at the Wiliwilinui summit, we all headed down, except for Jason, who headed east along the summit back to Wailupe so he could descend the same middle ridge Charlotte and Wil had gone down earlier. For the Wiliwilinui descenders, tt was our good luck the trail was dry, for if it wasn't, there'd likely be some flops since the upper segment is composed of hard-packed clay or the grainy variety that becomes slick as heck when damp.

About fifteen minutes down the jeep road segment of the trail, we veered left at an indistinct but heavily marked junction to follow a trail down to Wailupe Valley. This steep trail has plenty of guava trees for handholds, and the footing was also good, making for an easy, pleasant descent.

At the junction where our trail joined the valley trail, Jason was waiting for us, sitting bootless on a boulder. Jason is an advocate of airing out his feet during breaks and this was one of those times. On the way out, we caught up with Charlotte and Wil, who had done some exploring in the valley and hiked out at a leisurely pace.

After reaching our cars, we drove over to the community park near Kalani High School and spent a couple hours relaxing and enjoying refreshments there. John showed us his cast, and promised he'll hike again once it comes off (six weeks).

For those interested, I posted some pics of the outing on the web at

http://www.geocities.com/oahuhiker/wailupe/

Imua HTMC!

--DKT


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