OHE October 3, 1999 (Bowman)

Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1999 21:42:08 -1000 (HST)
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Bowman TM (10/3/99)

Over two dozen volunteers showed up for today's HTMC trail maintenance outing of Bowan, a trail that sits on the ridge on the ewa side of Kalihi Valley. We met at 8 a.m. on Naai Street by Kalihi Elementary School, listened to a briefing by Mabel, then hopped in a handful of vehicles to shuttle to a starting point on Likelike Highway near the Wilson Tunnel. Apparently, the folks from DLNR or the state forestry division will give us hell if we're seen heading into the forest from Likelike, so every time we clear Bowman, we go through the ritual of quickly hopping out of vehicles on the road shoulder and dashing into the woods, all the while hoping a forest cop won't be driving by to bust us. So far, we've never been confronted.

Every time we do Bowman, we start at this upper-Likelike location to facilitate the clearing of the trail. If we tried to work on the trail in a trailhead-to-summit manner, the majority of the crew would likely burn out at some point along the route. Stuart Ball has christened Bowman as the most rugged of the ungraded ridge hikes on Oahu, and anyone who's done Bowman from the start to finish to start knows he's correct in that designation.

From the covert start point, we hiked through a forest, following a faint trail few people use or know about. Fortunately, ribbons and past visits to the area help guide the way.

While the majority of volunteers started in upper Kalihi, Tom Yoza, Doug Klein, and John Hall worked Bowman from the bottom-up. Hats off to these three for opening up the strawberry guava section and working steadily upridge until encountering the first of the top-down group at 1:30. Thomas and I kept in contact via his walkie-talkies, and I radioed him periodically to keep him apprised of the progress of the large group.

Compared to the past four to five years, Bowman was more overgrown than I can recall. Part of this is because the trail likely sees light hiker traffic (hikers on a trail help to keep the vegetation in check). Infestation of palm grass, the menace weed, is worse than ever. What's more, pigs are doing a number on areas on and around the trail. If there are any hunters on the list, head on up there and blast those buggahs, please.

The scenario for clearing the trail goes like this: the bulk of the crew ascends a spur that deposits them on Bowman ridge about 45 minutes from the summit. A spreading koa tree marks the junction where the spur hits Bowman.

After reaching the koa tree junction, folks usually stop for a short rest then head for the summit pu'u called Kahuauli. Once on top, everyone rests for half an hour or so and then heads back down. Trail work takes place on the way up and on the way down.

Today, we had clear views to windward, with Molokai visible off Makapuu. The winds often whip at the summit, but the trades were light today, making for very pleasant conditions to rest and hang out. Over toward the Haiku Stairs, we could see folks romping around. Pat said a friend had planned to head up the stairs and cross over on the crest to join us for the descent of Bowman. As far as I know, that friend was a no-show.

After departing the summit, most of us stopped at the koa tree junction to eat lunch. A few others--Nathan Yuen, Carole Moon, Jay Feldman, and Charlotte Yamane, had passed on trekking to the summit and instead worked makai on Bowman from the koa junction. They stopped to eat lunch at noon further down the trail. I continued to radio Tom to keep him updated on our location.

One of the interesting mysteries was the whereabouts of Volker, Charlotte's husband. It seems he vanished after ascending the spur to the koa junction. Last seen resting under the koa, Volker passed on logging the leg to the summit and he also did not accompany Charlotte, Carole, Jay and Nathan when they headed makai. By day's end, he turned up. Where he wandered off to remains unclear, but there aren't many places to go romping around on Bowman since it's a ridge trail with dropoffs on both sides most of the way.

About a mile of the route traverses a steep dirt road, and there's the final descent of the mountainside down to the playground of Kalihi Elementary. Post-work refreshments were wolfed down on the school's covered basketball court. Of note were Mabel's freshly baked banana bread and guacamole/bean dip.

All in all, a successful and fun outing.

Next Sunday, the crew will work on the Makapu'u/TomTom route. Many members of the group will be backpacking next weekend, so the turnout for trail clearing will be smaller than normal. Fortunately, the trail needs only a small amount of work. Meeting time will 8 a.m. on 10/10 at the HTMC clubhouse on Puuone Street in Waimanalo.

Also for those interested, some pics of today's outing are available at http://www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Campground/9770/bowman/bowman.htm

Imua HTMC!


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