OHE September 4, 1999 (Lualualei)

Date: Sat, 4 Sep 1999 17:38:33 -1000
From: Lad Spinner (ladspinner@yahoo.com>
Subject: Lualualei covert hike

Aloha to everyone on this great list! I've enjoyed the informative posts and have learned plenty about hiking on this island. Thanks! I've lurked to this point and feel it's time to jump into the discussion. I'm not a writer, so please be kind. ;->

My hike today took me and a friend, Cleve Rich, to Kolekole Pass through the grounds of Schofield Barracks. We met at 8:45 at the parking lot just before the top and started hiking just before 9:00.

From the lot, we picked up a trail that led us past a sacrificial stone and then a high radio tower. When we reached a fork right past the tower, we followed a road that went down to the right. I believe the road/trail that went up to the left leads to Kanehao/Hapapa trail. We wanted to do something different which is why we went down the road to the right.

Maybe about 90-100 yards down the road, we cut left onto a forested slope, leaving the road behind. Cleve had hiked in this area before, so he took the lead. After descending kind of steeply, we came to an old jeep road, now badly overgrown with trees and weeds. We followed this road downslope as it switchbacked down the mountainside toward the floor of Lualualei Valley.

At some points we could see the military road leading from Kolekole Pass down to Lualualei Valley, and we were watchful for security personnel since the area we were hiking is off-limits. The trees kept us hidden pretty well, but we still were concerned about being spotted.

On the way down the old road, we passed a citrus tree on the right loaded with orange fruit. This could have been tangerines. Further down, we crossed a trickling stream fed by a spring. The map shows this spring and there is water there! Nope, not enough to swim, but enough to dip a bottle into in a pinch.

Following the road still, we came to a grove of pine and banyan trees. At that point, we left the overgrown road and headed left to contour along the mountainside toward Puu Kaua. We didn't know how far we'd go. We'd let our energy and the time determine that.

We did plenty of up and down hiking mostly with no trail to work with. We found game trails (goats? pigs?) to follow sometimes but we bashed around more often.

Around 11:30, we reached the base of a prominent spur ridge. It was too steep to climb where we hit it, so Cleve and I had to head left upslope until we found a place to climb. Sure enough, we found a place and we grunted our way to the top of this spur. We passed some small caves and areas dug out by animals for dens (goats? pigs?).

For the previous couple hours, we saw few signs that anyone had been in this area. No trash. No ribbons. Only a couple of cut tree branches. We did see some old rock structures but we weren't sure if these were from ancient Hawaiians or from more recent cattle operations in the valley.

After lunch, we bashed our way downhill on the spur until we came within a hundred feet of a paved road in Lualualei Valley. We stayed in the forest since we knew security personnel patrolled this road and would bust us if we were seen.

Cleve and I alternated in the lead, crashing through the brush and small trees until we found the old jeep road again. We followed it, with an old wire fenceline on our right, until we again arrived at the pine/banyan tree grove. From there, we retraced the route we'd taken in the morning to return to our cars at Kolekole Pass.

We had fun and plan to return some time to continue on to a spur we spotted that looks like it can be climbed up to the summit ridge.

Of course, we can't announce that in advance since the military folks might find out and be waiting for us. There are spies everywhere!!


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