With my aging body sending signs of its increasing deterioration, I decided to take it easy this weekend. Managed to get in some quality hiking time nonetheless.
Did a 75-minute loop that started at the Hawaii Nature Center in Makiki. After crossing a bridge over Kanealole Stream, I then ascended the Maunalaha Trail, passing a very nice rocky section dotted with tall eucalyptus trees. In about 20 minutes, I reached a major junction (there is a bulletin board with a trail map at that point) where I turned right on the Ualakaa Trail. After contouring for a half mile or so, Ualakaa crosses Round Top Drive once, climbs a bit more, then crosses it again to join with the Makiki Valley Trail.
At that point, I sat down to eat a powerbar, drink some water, and enjoy the quiet peacefulness. Continuing on, I reached the same junction I had been to earlier but instead of heading back down the way I came, I turned right to continue on the Makiki Valley Trail which contoured into and out of two ravines before intersecting with the Kanealole Trail. I followed the latter, which returned me to the Nature Center and my vehicle. A very enjoyable hike!
Continuing with the low-gear mode, I hiked for a couple hours on the Maunawili Demonstration Trail, located relatively near to where I live in Kaneohe. Thanks to the efforts of the Sierra Club, the first 1.5 miles of the MDT are landscaped and graded superbly--so much so that the area has the appearance of a city park. For example, on the initial climb to the contour trail, rock steps and gravel have been laid out to facilitate what once was a slippery muddy ascent. No complaints from me.
While hiking, I chatted with a couple Sierra Club folks, including Randy Ching, who I had hiked with before. I also saw a couple of female colleagues from LCC and perhaps a dozen other folks during my 120 minutes on the trail.
I travelled as far as a bluff that overlooks the banana plantation house deep in Maunawili Valley. A sign, warning hikers of the illegality of picking fruits from the nearby orchard, sits on the trail at that juncture. After a 15-minute rest break, I re-traced my steps back to the hairpin turn on Pali Highway, thanking the Sierra Club folks for their efforts on my way out.
Joined my friends on the HTMC trail clearing crew for work on the Malaekahana Trail. To the surprise of da gang, Paka-lolo Rorie and I were actually on time, contrary to our usual arrive-30-minutes-late-and-hike- like-hell-to-catch-up routine of past Sundays.
Speaking of da gang, members in attendance were Mabel Kekina, Bill Gorst, Will Kawano, Kost Pankiwskyj, Jay Feldman, Ralph Valentino, Lynne Masuyama-Ball, Lita Komura, Charlotte Yamane, Ken Suzuki, and Joe Bussen. Unable to join us were regulars Carole K. Moon (cold), John Hall (recovering from a stomach virus--reportedly giardia contracted from nasties in Laie Stream), and Naomi Nasu and June Miyasato (Sierra Club trail building).
We met at the community park on Po'ohaili Street in Laie. From there, we piled into Mabel's well-known maroon Isuzu Trooper and Ralph's full-sized pickup and drove mauka a mile on a dirt road, passing the gated head of the Laie Trail on the way. After parking the vehicles on the side of the road, we continued on foot, turning left (mauka) off the main dirt road on a substantially ribboned side road. Eventually, the road dwindled to a trail and climbing commenced. Nice views of the Laie coast, of the Koolau summit ahead, and of the Laie trail ridge to the left were available once we worked far enough upslope to get clear of the flatland forest.
The trail climbed through a sizable stretch of strawberry guava trees, many bearing sweet, juicy fruit. While moving through this section, Paka-lolo and I had brief nightmare flashbacks to our Laie to Pupukea horror hike on the KST a month or so ago.
After about an 90 minutes of climbing and clearing, we reached a junction with the trail that continued upridge to the KST and one that headed right and down to Malaekahana Stream. The club hike terminates at the stream so the latter is the route we took to clear and check out. The descent to the stream is steep at times, muddy all the way, includes one section with a rope, and takes 15-20 minutes to complete.
Once the descent was pau, several of us headed upstream to do some exploring. A few months prior, I had watched an episode of the "Let's Go Hiking" (a local show on cable TV--channel 53) where the folks had encountered a couple waterfalls on this same hike so I was eager to check these out.
About 5 minutes upstream, we reached a couple of decent pools, both populated with a goodly amount of prawns and opae. Spilling into the second was a 30-foot waterfall with a long rope draped down its left side (we later found out Charlotte had placed this rope there on a previous hike). The only way to get to the rope is through the pool, so after eating lunch, in I cannon-balled. Actually, climbing the waterfall isn't difficult because it isn't that steep and there are plenty of foot- and handholds. The hard part is propelling oneself from the pool, up over a rock outcropping, and to the waterfall chute and the rope. I had problems with this and yielded to Paka-lolo to try his luck. He found the right line, and up the waterfall Pat went to the cheers of members of da gang who were lounging on the far side of the pool eating lunch.
Seeing Pat's method of attack, I mimicked his technique and a couple minutes later up the waterfall I went. More cheers from da gang.
Our efforts were rewarded by an even more awesome waterfall that I'd estimate to be 80-90 feet high. A beautiful pool sits at its base. This waterfall itself was not ascendable but a steep guava-covered slope to its left was do-able so up went Pat with me a few minutes behind.
The climb took 10-15 minutes and once the top is gained it's possible to continue upstream for a long way. After checking out the view of the pool from the top of the falls, I hiked upstream about 200 yards before deciding I had seen enough. Pat was ahead of me and later reported that he encountered no more waterfalls.
I retraced my path downstream, survived a semi-nasty spill on a slippery rock above the big falls, descended the steep guava slope to the base of the big falls, descended the lower falls with the aid of the rope, and topped off the return trip with another cannon ball into the lower pool. Ahh, yes!!! :-)
About 5 minutes later, I could hear Paka-lolo yee-ha-ing as he swam in the pool below the big falls. Not long after that, he made his way down the roped, lower falls, and after some verbal prodding from me, did a cannonball of his own into the lower pool.
The others had departed by the time we returned, but we eventually caught up to them after we climbed up the trail to the main ridge.
A great day capping a not-overly-strenuous but nice weekend of hiking.
Aloha and safe hiking to all,