== 9/12, Friday Pau Hana, Wa'ahila Ridge
Headed for the top of St. Louis heights as soon as work was finished. Arrived shortly before 5 p.m. at the Wa'ahila Ridge State Recreation Area. Changed clothes in the mens room and parked just outside the rec area for two reasons. First because it closes at 6:45 p.m. (I knew there was no way I could make it back by then) and second because of possible auto break in. Entered the rec area again on foot and marveled at the large number of tall Norfolk Island pines on the property. It was 5 p.m. Noticed some people relaxing at a picnic table near a terrific vantage point of Konahuanui.
Reached the trailhead at 5:04 and headed up the ridge. The trail was super wide in the beginning (jeep road ?). As it narrowed it became somewhat of a roller coaster descending and then ascending. There were nice views of both Manoa Valley to the left and Palolo Valley on the right. I reached the junction with the Kolowalu trail at 5:32 p.m. and continued on without resting. After ascending a couple of prominent humps in the ridge (one with the assistance of a long rope) I could see one more hump in the distance with the summit of Mt. Olympus just behind it. The trail began to descend again so I stopped and sat down to enjoy the views at 5:51. The late afternoon sun lit up some of the smaller ridges in the back of Manoa valley very nicely. Could see the "walls" forming Ka'au Crater but could not see down inside of it.
At 6:13 I began heading back to the rec area. On the way I noticed a beautiful rainbow beyond Mau'umae Ridge (Lanipo Trail) and the large moon in the sky above. To the right down in Manoa Valley I recognized Mae Moriwaki's beloved Pu'u Pia. About half way back to the trailhead I witnessed a lovely sun set. It got dark but not pitch dark as I completed the final stretch. When I arrived back at the rec area there was a group of people having a cook out much to my surprise. The music sounded like jawaiian so I concluded that they were not freemen ! Got back to my car after 7 p.m. and headed for home soon after.
== 9/13, Saturday, "Stairway To Heaven"
Although man made probably my favorite hike (climb) on Oahu. Dayle and Wing have filled in much of the details so I'll offer only a few more tid bits. The slow pace was nice because it allowed for longer enjoyment of the route (esp. the very very steep sections). Couldn't find Collette's signature (sorry Collette !) at the concrete enginehouse but noticed Kurt Heilbron's name in several locations. Laredo had to leave the group at about 11 a.m. so he headed down alone (his house is just outside the H-3 access road). I told him to watch out for security and if caught to tell them he was with Councilmember Holmes. When I thought about it later I doubt they would have believed him since Laredo was shirtless and had blue hair !!! I forgot to bring my tape player with a copy of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" inside. Otherwise I would have played it at the summit in honor of the trail. On the way down near the second PVC ladder I removed a cable that had a vine growing on it (obviously not in use) to be installed on another trail where it is badly needed (Ohulehule ?). After the hike Ralph, Torrey, Dayle, Chris, Jarrod, Jarrod's uncle and myself relaxed briefly near the Omega Station main building. It was an incredibly beautiful afternoon. I wanted to go on another hike but had a 5 o'clock committment. Bummers !
Notes: The Omega Station wires (cables) which are suspended high above Haiku Valley will be coming down sometime in the next three weeks. Furthermore, the area will be the site of much activity as the Coast Guard vacates the premises.
== 9/14, Sunday, Ka'au Crater Trail Maintenance (aka Trail Clearing from Hell !)
Dayle was very kind in his description of this outing but I shall not be for the sake of evalution.
The crew split at the junction where the trail crosses Waiamao Stream and at first ascends somewhat steeply and then levels off in route to a powerline tower. This left only 7 to do the bulk of the work as the stream continues past three waterfalls. Mike Mottl, who will lead the hike in a couple of weeks, did not clear and Jason Sunada came late although his contributions coming down the west ridge were huge and greatly appreciated. Also, Jay Feldman was slowed by an illness. There was quite a bit of work to be done on the trail leading up to the first waterfall and we did a quality job despite being short handed in the intense heat (hence the mini celebration at the pool below the first waterfall). We thought we had done the bulk of the work. Dayle even told Jay who wasn't feeling well that most of the work was past.
The group continued to clear making our way to the second waterfall and then to the long cascade section. Clearing mostly uluhe along the trail as it continued above the cascade the crew stopped for lunch near an ironwood grove at 11:30. Jason Sunada joined us then.
Just before 12 we began to climb toward the summit of Palikea. As we made our way up we cleared as necessary. After another break at the summit the group descended at first along the Ko'olau summit crest. I was in front (not a glory position by any means - just ask Gene Robinson !). The summit ridge leveled off but there was no trail. It was completely overgrown ! This continued almost nonstop until we reached the first powerline tower along the summit ridge. More of the same further on until we got past the second powerline tower.
After a brief open section the trail disappeared again as we began descending the west ridge. On the way down I went the wrong way down a side ridge. Jason took the ramrod while I was making my way back to the correct route. I used my bolo knife more for safety reasons than for clearing the "trail" because the dense vegetation masked the path below. Jason fell a couple of times because of this. After a while Jason and I stopped clearing and started pushing thru in order to escape with our lives !!! My arms got so tired I could not swing my bolo knife !
Finally reached the powerline tower at the low end of the west ridge at 3 p.m. The remainder of the trek went much better, however, including a very informative conversation I had with Jason. He is one of the unsung modern day hiking gurus and Stuart Ball's hiking sidekick. Once we reached the stream the men washed up while Lita and Charlott gathered tea leaves for lei making. Got out before 5 p.m. and enjoyed Mabel's delicious pie soon after.
Notes: This trail clearing should have been broken up into two days or more people should have been contacted to help. I apologize if I come across as a "grumbler" but people "burn out" if they are subjected to this kind of experience.