OHE September 11, 1999 (Manoa Miconia Search)

Date: Sat, 11 Sep 1999 19:30:34 -1000
From: Dayle K. Turner (turner@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Manoa Miconia Search (9/11/99)

Thomas Yoza and Pat Conant led a Sierra Club outing in Manoa Valley today with a goal of finding miconia, an invasive plant. On OHE the other day, Thomas posted an invitation, and after reading it I thought joining him would be an interesting way to spend a Saturday.

We all, about ten altogether, met at the Church of the Crossroads at 8 a.m. and from there we drove up Manoa Valley to the parking lot of Lyon Arboretum. Among those in attendance were Randy Ching (a SC leader), Charlotte Yamane, Dick Schimdt (Charlotte and Dick are HTMC legends), and newlyweds Joby Rohrer & Kapua Kawelo, field biologists for the U.S. Army.

Thomas and Pat briefed us before we set off and even showed us miconia specimens growing in pots at the arboretum so the newbie searchers, me among them, would know what to look for.

We then hiked mauka on an old road/trail through the arboretum grounds until we eventually emerged on the Aihualama Trail between the start of the switchbacks and the bamboo grove. Earlier, Ray Baker, a live-in research associate for the arboretum asked us to tread lightly as we neared Aihualama so as not to attract attention to the side trail we used to get there. When we finally reached Aihualama, I recalled seeing this side trail on past hikes and wondered where it led. Now I know.

We headed right (toward Manoa Falls) on Aihualama for maybe 50 meters and then regrouped. We were then informed that Pat would lead a group up a ravine while Thomas would lead a smaller group up a spur on the Manoa Falls side of the same ravine. Pat said to be on the lookout for a clutch of royal palm trees in the ravine, for that would be the place where we'd stop and head back down.

A ridge-person more than a gully-person, I opted to join Thomas. Our group of four walked along Aihualama for another 20-30 meters and up a spur we went, wading through waist- to chest-high uluhe much of the time. Thomas asked us to keep on the watch for miconia, its trademark purple color on the underside of leaves the thing to cue in on. It was a bright, sunny day and conditions were warm and sweaty. And even though what we were doing was more rugged than I anticipateed, I had fun and enjoyed romping around in unknown territory and for a good cause to boot.

After climbing up the spur a couple hundred meters, I broke away from Thomas and Randy and veered left to drop down into the ravine Pat and his group were ascending. When I whooped out to determine if anyone was nearby, I heard Charlotte whoop in return. She was a good distance up the ravine from my position and she yelled out that Pat had found a 10-foot miconia. Success.

Side-sloping across the ravine, I scrambled, grunted, and thrashed my way to the crest of the spur on the farside of the ravine where I found a well-defined pig trail heading upward. While I rested under a spreading banyan, I heard someone hacking away with a machete nearby and this turned out to be Dick Schimdt. Even with a pig trail to follow, Dick couldn't move upspur very quickly because of thick tangles of vegetation, so I eventually caught up to him.

Together, we waded through thick uluhe up the steepening spur, pulling ourselves up by grabbing trees and roots, and scrambling or clawing when handholds weren't available. Around 11:30, we heard Thomas and Pat yelling that they'd reached the terminal point in the ravine to our right and were heading back down. At the time, Dick and I were pretty high up and felt we could top out within half an hour unless conditions turned sour.

So upward we continued. Sure enough, we crested out in the allotted time, and we sat down to rest and eat lunch in the shade of an ohia tree. From our lunch spot, we could see the Nuuanu lookout about 150 meters away. A small gulch separated us from the lookout, but we had a good pig trail to follow near where we sat down, so we were encouraged. Plus, Dick assured me he'd done a bunch of exploring in the area, noting that the Nuuanu area was one of his favorite places to hike, so we'd reach the Pauoa Flats trail on its way to the lookout without a problem.

During lunch, I chatted at length with Dick [link to a pic of him], who in his younger years (he's in his 60s now) was one of the kingpins of daring-do in the HTMC. He started hiking with the club in the mid-50s and still does so now and then. "I know a lot of things about a lot of trails but my body tires out after awhile and doesn't respond the way it used to," he admitted. He's volunteered his time for trail building projects, having been a loyal worker in the construction of Maunawili Demo, Maunawili Falls, Aihualama, among others. He has a good sense of humor and said he enjoyed playing pranks on Mabel, the current HTMC trail clearing honcho. One of his pastimes was leaving bottles with notes at the summits of trails, and he smiled and his eyes lit up when I told him of times I'd found bottles he'd left (his bottles have been found atop Bowman, Pu'u o Kila [Kahana Valley], and on the trail up to Ohulehule).

After lunch, we followed the pig trail we'd sat near, bashed around through fiddlewood further down, and emerged in a dark guava & lama forest a hundred meters makai of the Nuuanu Lookout. We then followed the Pauoa Flats trail to its junction with Aihualama and then headed down Aihualama and its fifteen switchbacks. On the way, Dick stopped to chop away fiddlewood trees that had fallen across the trail. The pride he has in this trail, since he helped construct it in the late 70s, was evident.

We eventually met up with the others at the junction with the sidetrail we'd come up on from the arboretum. Thomas and Kapua had found more miconia and had yanked these out and carried them out in their packs.

Once we'd all regrouped, we headed back down the way we came to our cars. Thomas and Pat had refreshments for us, and we all were invited back for another miconia hunt in October. Thomas will likely announce that outing on OHE in the week prior, so those who can, please help out.

Hike on,


Reply from: Jay Feldman (JFEL873@aol.com)

Dayle, I'd just like to add my two cents about Dick Schimdt. Not only has he figured large in HTM's hiking history, he also for years was the major source of repair and upkeep for the clubhouse. At one time he practically replaced the entire back corner of the building and kept the structure from disappearing to termite onslaught. He also has replaced or repaired practically every fixture in the building from toilets, to lights, to washing machines, to picnic tables and benches, to the old staircase (before Ralph replaced it). He also built the upstairs fire escape porch and ladder, maintained the grounds, and probably painted more paint on more clubhouse walls than any of us care to think about. Much of this work was done quietly (not that Dick was quiet) and on his own time. He did this all when HTM's budgets were tight contributing not only the skilled labor but much of the material out of his own pocket. Fortunately when Dick finally slowed down his endless and excellent clubhouse repair and property management we found Alex Broadfoot to take over, another quiet and unsung hero of HTM. Without heroes like Dick in HTM's past I doubt we'd have as fine a hiking club as we have. Many of us are not aware of the stalwart foundations of our club built for us in the past by a number of most excellent hiking members.

MAJOR KUDO's to Dick Schmidt, an HTM LEGEND.


Reply from: "STONE, J. BRANDON" (802005%cchpd@co.honolulu.hi.us>

Kay and I were taking a skilled algae botanist (but novice Oahu hiker) partway up Konahuanui on Saturday. We started late and moved along slowly. When we were in the bamboo just before the Nuuanu lookout, we heard voices off to the right. We couldn't imagine who'd be over there. Now we know!


Return to OHE top | Return to Oahu Hike Tales | Email Dayle