September 1, 1997 (b)

From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu)

Did a bunch of hiking this weekend in anticipation of future cutbacks in trail time because of the upcoming demands of work. Here's the scoops:

==Saturday, 8/30==

Hiked with Wing Ng and Pat Rorie on the Wailupe Middle Ridge. Art Neilson hiked the route the day before and wrote a full report about the trek. It's a nice hike that starts at the end of Hao Street, climbs up a ridge to the Koolau summit, crosses west (left) over to Wiliwilinui, follows Wililinui down a ways, and then descends steeply back down to the point where one started. The HTMC will probably add this hike to its list of outings.

==Sunday, 8/31==

Along with 60 other folks, I hiked the Kuolani-Waianu Trails in Waiahole Valley with the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club. The route is publicized as a 5-miler and takes about two hours to complete. About half of the way follows along the Waiahole ditch trail and at one point we passed an intake of the ditch, complete with a mighty flow of water from the innards of the Koolau range. Mahalo to leaders Jay Feldman and Will Kawano for a interesting hike.

==Monday, 9/1==

Celebrated Labor Day '97 by hiking in the Waianae Range. Joining me for the hiking pa'ina were Pat Rorie, Wing Ng, Laredo Murray, Torrey Goodman, and Gene Robinson. We had intended to start in Nanakuli, hike up to Pu'u Heleakala, continue past it on a ridge to the Waianae summit crest, and descend the Palikea trail to the pineapple fields off of Kunia Road. However, the latter part of that plan was waylaid by a Del Monte security person who told us without a permit we were not welcome on Del Monte land, where the Palikea trail bottoms out.

Accordingly, we modified our trek so that we'd end on Palehua Road above Makakilo, where we left two cars. Wing volunteered to hike up the road to the Palikea trail and meet us on the ridge we'd later ascend from Nanakuli Valley.

Meanwhile, the rest of us were Nanakuli bound in my vehicle. With the sun beating down on us ominously, we set off from the trailhead on Mokiwawe Street for Pu'u Heleakala at 9:09.

Despite the heat, easily in the 90s, we made fairly good progress, climbing the 1,900 feet to the peak of Heleakala in 75 minutes with Pat managing this section almost effortlessly. From Heleakala, the trail dropped steeply to a saddle, and then rose up again on the right edge of a large pyramidal ridgeface. Once the lost elevation was regained, we followed the ridge as it swung east toward the Waianae mountain range.

Simply magnificent views were ours all day long, with clouds staying clear of the summit crest for the duration. To our right was the undeveloped upper portion of Nanakuli Valley and to the left was massive Lualualei Valley and its myriad of ammo bunkers. To the north, mighty Kalena, Kamaileunu, and Kaala stood prominently, reminding of us of past visits paid.

As Wing mentioned in his write-up, we traversed a series of humps in the ridge, stopping at the top of a couple of these to rest, grab bites to eat, drink water (I carried two gallons with me and drank all of it by day's end), and survey the route ahead with Gene's binoculars. Laredo led the charge over the hump-section of the hike.

Looming ahead were the white-faced rockfaces of Palikea (lit. "white cliff") and a steep grassy slope above it--obstacles we'd have to negotiate to reach the Waianae summit crest.

As we approached the cliffs, we had to cross a series of rock dikes with steep dropoffs to the Lualualei side and occasionally to Nanakuli. What's more, any semblance of a trail had disappeared by then, with Gene doing the bulk of the energy-zapping ram-rodding, mostly through sticky "buffalo" grass and Christmas berry thickets.

As we began to climb steeply, Torrey, after suffering a bit earlier in the day, pepped up considerably, particularly when we had to do some rock climbing, an activity she enjoys. We made it past the Palikea rockface, climbing through a notch that had enough hand- and footholds to offer security. Thereafter, the ascent up the steep grassy slope went without a hitch. We had a couple coils of rope with us--just in case--but we didn't need them.

When we reached the treeline, we had a mini celebration, knowing the worst was past. Waiting for us was Wing, who'd cleared a nice path down the ridge to that point. Mahalo, Wing. After resting a bit in the first real shade we had all day long, we continued up the ridge, eventually reaching the Waianae summit at a point just shy of 3,100 feet. From there, we followed the Palikea trail for 30 minutes to Palehua Road and walked back on the road for an hour to the cars we had left earlier in the day.

All told, we had hiked for 7.5 hours--a full day on the trail and capping a Labor Day we'll certainly remember for quite awhile.

Aloha and safe hiking to all,

--Dayle


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