Date: Mon, 7 Sep 1998 18:55:38 -1000 From: MARK SHORT (MARKESHORT@worldnet.att.net> Subject: Kuoakala/Makua Rim
Next week we're hiking in to Kalalau. We were only able to get a permit for one night, so there won't be any recovery day. In order to build confidence & hopefully endurance, and to try out our new zip stove my son & I went on an overnight to the shelter on to Mukuleia Trail via Kaena Point Tracking Station and Kuoakala/Makua Rim Trail.
We started at about 3pm, which gave us some incentive to keep moving so that we would make the camp site before dark. When we got the permit there was a big sign that said "Peacock Flats Camping Permits" and I was told 20 permits had been issued so far th at day. It seemed there might be a crowd so we even talked about going further past the water source to camp.
First thing we noticed was the recent fire. The slope below first half of the Kuoakala Trail and even some above had been burned. This section always reminds me of Northern California, with all the pine trees, needles & cones. Now we also had the smell of campfires (I thought for sure I could smell marshmallows too) and lots of dusty ash. It was interesting to see how the fire had jumped around and all the trees that had been cut (for firebreak No doubt). The views are always great up here but now everyth ing was opened up we could see a lot more.
After Kuoakala we came across a big, white, shiny new rope running across the road on the ground. "Wonder what this is for?". Follow rope over side of cliff and see a fairly nice, primer gray, Chevy truck. It's over the edge with a tow strap and a couple of small trees keeping it from going to the bottom. The big rope looked brand new. I can imagine the occupants climbing back up after going over, then getting a ride to the hardware store real quick to buy some rope to tie up their truck. My son says "ho w did they do that?" It was a flat section and the road has been recently graded and is very wide. "Just playing around", is my reply.
Once we get to the forest reserve, over the pig fences, we are treated to trees full of Ohia blossoms. In fact in some places the trail is even coated with the petals (needles?). What is behind the section fenced off with metal roofing and barbed wire any way?
Made it to the shelter by 6:20, then went to get water. Set up tent, then set up new jungle hammock from campmor. Decide I don't like it. It's dark now but we have no trouble getting our new zip stove started. We're both very impressed. This thing is fun. We boil our water and have some Ramen and fig newtons (we stopped on the trail and ate fresh dill/rye bread w/ cheese & apple - ono!!). We get everything situated in the tent then decide to hike up the hill to a view spot on the ridge. There is a very br ight moon and we try to make shadow puppets on the floor of Makua Valley, this didn't work. It's very clear tonight, there is a big planet? right above the moon which is also very bright. We can also see the top of Mt.. Kaala, lots of lights on the North Shore and even some lights on Kauai (Lihue?).
We slept the night without the rain fly. Lulled to sleep by the sounds of crickets and falling guava.
6:30am it's raining, I put on the fly and can't go back to sleep. I get up and eat breakfast and start packing. Ryan won't get up, so finally, I pack his sleeping bag, then my fleece blanket, then my sleeping pad (he was using all three). We went to get s ome more water and decide to use iodine tablets instead of starting up the stove again.
On the way back we detour to check out the Nike Missile Site?. The gate is locked. It looks like the area around it has all been cleared and there is a new building. What's it for?.
Retraced our steps back to the van arriving at 12:20. There was no crowd, we only saw two 4x4s on the road section and two small groups on the Kuoakala Trail Monday morning. A great hike and a great night!!