OHE September 17, 1997

From: Sergio Lotenschtein (loetch@iav.com)

I never seem to get enough time to catch up on what everyone's doing and less to write about it, keep it up - its a hoot.

We tackled Niu Ridge early on Sunday and found the bottom section totally dry. The stream that often trickles as you come out of the head high vegetation was bone dry. Even the familiar milky look of the water was gone (is that supposed to be milky whi te or some industrial grade stuff someone is dumping from up in Hawaii Loa?).

Seems that the trail has been cleared recently and was a wonderful walking pleasure. Even the narrow sections before the first false mount were easy to walk. There is one tricky spot before the ropes. Seems that a small part of the ridge is gone and t he roots of some forlorn tree offer the only footing. The spongy moss covering is enough to make you wonder if you'll slip right through to the bottom of the uluhe infested hillside. The cable is intact and it was one of the few times I'd wished to be w earing cleats like Pat does.

I used to shutter when looking at steep climbs and long inclines, thinking the eternity it would take to complete it. Now it all seems to commonplace and I look forward to it. The fauna is quite diverse on the final climb. There's a cactus like flower that Phyllis said may be called "Money Plant" (help! if you know the names) and the crickets are the size of miniature ponies.

Lunch at the top and waving at people on Hawaii Loa made it a quiet highlight. Then the clouds burst in and the drenching began. Going down the cable in the pouring rain leaves much to be desired. Cuts and scrapes and the smell of adrenalin soaked tan k tops. Gotta love it.

Then the long walk back down the hill, car and home.

What I like about Niu Ridge
- The surprise forest between mounts. Like some of the mainland hikes I've been on.
- The cable and narrow walks
- The constant view of the Hawaii Loa trail cause you're walking much higher. Seeing those hikers make their casual way up and how they tackle the barren dirt climb.
- Eating oranges with peanut butter tiger milk bars.
- Shave Ice after its all done.

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