Had an incredible weekend of hiking this past labor day weekend...
== 8/30, Saturday, Wailupe Middle Ridge
In order to avoid repetition I won't add anything more to what has already been written except that it was very enjoyable.
== 8/31, Sunday, Pu'u Keahiakahoe Trail Maintenance
Arrived at the end of Moanalua Valley just before 8 a.m. to join a skeleton crew of HTMC trail maintenance volunteers. Six of the regulars were at a camp in Waiahole Valley and Dayle Turner and John Hall were too ill to participate. Naomi Nasu was helping the Sierra Club at the Maunawili Demo Trail. In attendance were Bill Gorst, ohe-l'er Art Neilson, Ken Suzuki, June ?, Deetsie Chave, Mable Kekina, Thomas Yoza and his buddy Carey. Mable (the trail maintenance coordinator) was pleasantly surprised that I was early. I told her that this was one of my favorite hikes !
The nine of us started walking along the road which leads to the trail at approx. 8:15. We enjoyed talking story with each other on the way. When we reached the koa tree with the vertical blaze cut into it at an obscure junction, Mable and Deetsie departed to do work on the middle ridge while the rest of us continued on the dirt/stone road. We finally reached the end of it at approx. 9:45.
After a brief rest I lead the group up the trail followed by Art and Bill Gorst. June, Thomas and Carey were next with Ken bringing up the rear and tying ribbon on trees to mark the route. The strategy was kind of like shaving with a trak-two razor. Bill, Art and myself were the first razor and June, Thomas and Carey were the second. Whatever the first razor didn't get the second took care of !
The trail was overgrown mostly with ginger in the beginning as I pushed ahead to give the others behind me something to work on. This was Art's first time but it didn't take him long to catch on. He did more than his share of work. The lower section of the trail went fairly quickly but we had to stop and really concentrate on the switchbacks. We worked our okoles off "harvesting" large amounts of uluhe fern which pushed us almost off the trail. The trail itself was very narrow to begin with.
After the rope section and crawling over a large rock, Bill, Art and myself reached the spot under the powerlines. We were about thirty minutes ahead of the others. We rested briefly and then Bill pressed on up the steep ridge toward the junction with the Tripler Ridge Trail. The majority of the work had been done so Art put his sickle away and followed Bill. I sat down to enjoy the view of Moanalua Valley below and called out for Mable on the middle ridge. I didn't receive a reply and noticed Bill and Art well ahead of me so I began to follow them. I kept my bolo knife out just in case I encountered any overgrowth. Bill reached the Tripler helipad just past the junction with the Tripler Ridge Trail at approx. 12 noon. Art and I joined him soon after and had some lunch. Bill was concerned that we weren't making good time.
At 12:30 Ken and the others joined us at the helipad. Bill expressed his concern and Ken told all of us to just make the rest of the trail passable since time was a problem. Shortly thereafter Bill, Art and I departed the rest of the group and headed for the Tripler Ridge Summit.
I got there first and sat down to rest. The windward views were excellent esp. of the Mokulua Islands and Olomana to the right. Konahuanui and Lanihuli were socked in. The sheer cliffs below were spectacular ! The building at the top of Haiku Stairs with the microwave dishes on top was visible on the left. Bill and Art joined me and we went left after a brief water break.
The hike along the summit ridge was very enjoyable with the brisk trade winds and outstanding views of the windward side to our right and expansive Moanalua Valley below and to the left. I stopped briefly and raised my arms in triumph to express my happiness and in honor of Dayle K. Turner. When Bill and Art caught up to me Art expressed his enjoyment and I told him that the stretch we were on was one of the best on Oahu.
Continuing on we passed under the abandonded radar and worked our way up the ridge toward the summit of Pu'u Keahiakahoe. I lay down just before I got to the top of the first hump where the ridge levels off to take in the awesome views below (it is a special place and one of my favorites). Just before Bill reached my position I got up and continued along the ridge. I encountered some clidemia so I cut thru it. Next I passed by some lapalapa with its unique leaf structure. I love the sound the leaves make when the wind causes them to strike each other.
At 1:30 I reached the summit of Pu'u Keahiakahoe. Bill arrived shortly thereafter and we waited for Art. Once he joined us we began heading down the middle ridge. The clouds had moved in so the summit region was socked in. The upper section of the middle ridge was windswept so very little maintenance was needed. I descended somewhat steeply in spots and emerged from the clouds. Once again the vistas were terrific of Moanalua Valley below with the Moanalua Valley Saddle to the right. I could clearly see the Moanalua Valley Trail as it headed up the ridge to the top of the saddle. The Omega Station wires and some of the sheer cliffs of Haiku Valley were also visible. After further descent Kaneohe Bay became visible as I looked beyond the saddle. The angle of descent became more gradual.
Further on the trail became somewhat overgrown so I cleared what I could as I kept moving. Just before reaching the part of the trail that Mable and Deetsie had cleared I stopped briefly and noted the venerable cornacopia of colorful trees below. I also noticed the stream and wished I could have jumped down into it.
Finally reached the road at 3:10 and sat down to wait for Bill and Art. They arrived 15 minutes later and the three of us began heading back to the park which is just before the road.
At 4:10 Art and I entered the park and soon after enjoyed watermellon which Mable provided. Bill joined us 5 minutes later and the rest of the trail clearers came out at 4:45. We enjoyed each others company until just before 6 p.m. and then said our goodbyes.
== 9/1, Monday, Labor Day, Heleakala-Palehua
Dayle and Wing did a nice job of describing this trek so I'll add only a few more nuggets of info.
First of all I can't give Gene Robinson enough credit for finding the way thru thick "itchy" grass, around or over cactus, along crumbly narrow dike sections, etc. Where was I ? In third place behind Gene and Laredo. I hate to admit it but my fear of the unknown kicked in (like on Piei the first time I attempted it). There was no turning back so I had to deal with it. Looking back now the overgrown section from the end of the Heleakala Hike to the summit really wasn't that bad. I would actually consider doing this traverse again but only during the winter months.
While scrambling up steep, narrow ridges is not his strength Dayle showed me an agility that I had not seen from da big guy before. After I made it past a dicey area during the final ascent I thought to myself "how will Dayle make it past this point ?!". Obviously, he found a way.
After the worst was over we went thru some of the loveliest territory on Oahu. It is owned by the Nature Conservancy. While this guarantees that the land will be protected from development it also means that hardly anyone gets up there to enjoy it. The Palehua trail contoured past a wealth of fauna and flora including Norfolk Island pines, eucalyptus trees, iron woods (we enjoyed the unique sound they make when the wind blows past them), and bamboo. There were several excellent view spots on the way down of both Nanakuli and Lualualei Valleys on one side and the Ko'olau Range, Pearl Harbor, and, off in the distance, Honolulu and Diamond Head on the other. The road walk, while hard on the feet and knees, featured some of the prettiest flowers and trees on Oahu. It was a great way to "cool" down from the sweltering heat we had experienced earlier in the day.
== Paka-lolo (Paka means "Pat" and lolo means "feeble minded" in Hawaiian)
P.S. I can't believe that Dayle, Wing, Gene, Torrey and I were the only OHE-L'ers to go hiking this past three day weekend ! Please submit a paragraph or two about where you went. There are several mainlanders on the OHE-L who would love to read about it besides us. No shame !!! :)