OHE September 6, 1999 (Halawa Ridge)



Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1999 15:47:38 -1000
From: Greg Kingsley (gkingsle@hawaii.edu>
Subject: Halawa Ridge TC

This past Sunday's HTMC trail maintenance was of the lengthy graded trail along Halawa Ridge. Present for the day's festivities were Mabel Kekina, Jason Sunada, Wilfred Kawano, Jay Feldman, Dayle Turner, Jim Pushaw, Lynn Agena, Nathan Yuen, Ralph & Michael Valentino, June Miyamoto, Georgina Oka, Ken Suzuki, Dusty & Sandy Klein, Reuben Matteo, Thomas Yoza, Anonymous Woman Hiker, Kristy Pushaw and friend Jennifer, Kost & Gina Pankiwskyj, Dick Beaton, Robert Bettencourt, Dick & Brenda Cowan, Deetsie Chave, Bill Gorst, Slo-Joe, and Wayne Yee.

Gathered at the end of Iwaena Street in Halawa Valley's industrial section, trail boss Mabel Kekina informed us of yet another alternate approach to the Halawa ridgeline. The gang entered the Board of Water Supply's Xeriscape Gardens and passed the USGS stream gaging station located behind a short, grassy 4WD road. Over the water (a sleepy Halawa Stream) and through the woods, we crossed under one of H-3's bridges and scampered up a concrete embankment to the interstate's maintenance road. Instead of continuing straight through and up a steep soiled rock and crumbly tree path, we veered left per Mabel's instructions to the new entry point.

An asphalt walk parallel to the thumps and clanks of cars zipping by on the highway, we counted off four bridges before turning right into the brush. Squeezing through a fence (hidden from the maintenance road), we began the 720-foot climb shortly thereafter. Ducking the overhead web-work weave of Christmas berry, it was a breath-snatching ramble to the top, especially due to the machete banging and tree bark ripping work during the rise. While most of us began to collect at the electric wire pylon (elev. 960 feet) along the 4WD road at the top of the spur, a few continued to press on, including Reuben, Lynn, and myself.

The road transformed into a woodsy graded trail just past the "Halawa Barrel" benchmark (elev. 1,157 feet). We eventually bumped into Reuben, Jim, and Dayle - the latter two had earlier taken the "original" alternate route to the ridgeline, bypassing much of that headbanging/clearing. The five of us continued past the guava intermission and back into the stands of tall albizia. We would soon find this section the victim of at least two large blow-downs, several intermeshed trees comprising each. I had seen the same blow-downs back in December 1998 (see 19DEC98 write-up) while the very section was wide-open during the trail maintenance back in October 1998 (see 25OCT98 write-up). Something's definitely up with either the trees or the soil in this area.

Reuben stayed in the area of the fallen woods with his chainsaw. Lynn, with much of the gang, began work on the lower sections of uluhe and clidemia. Dayle, Jim, and I continued on a hike-and-chop push toward the Crossover. Frequently hidden in the dense brush, our swings proved virtually useless in any attempt to clear the path's original width. Our focus was on what narrow path we could create through the clidemia, uluhe, palm grass, and verbana shrubs.

Jim and I continued our labor as best we could while keeping a quick enough pace to complete this 7-mile trail. By 11:45, we quickened our steps past crossover in pursuit of Dayle who had gained a 20-minute on us. We realized this section required just too much work, thus limiting our energies to only the trudge through the overgrowth. The trail, narrower here than before the crossover, has had a considerable growth of the shrubby verbana. We reached Dayle at the summit (elev. 2,200 feet) - a notch between two peaks along the crest - at about 12:45. Slightly bushed and scratched, the three of us lounged around above Haiku Valley with lunches in hand. Thankfully, views were quite fine of Haiku, Kaneohe, and beyond.

By the time we left, Dusty, two Dick's, Brenda, Nathan, and Wilfred had also reached the summit. Our departing group set a quick pace down the trail, so quick that Dayle had a minor tumble off the trail, only to be stopped short by a luckily-located tree. No injuries to speak of, we returned to the crossover in good time. Shortly after, we unsheathed our cutting implements and added another volley of swings as touch-up to the great work done by the rest of the maintenance gang. I, too, had a quick dump off the trail as a misplaced left step during a machete swing to the right had me neck-high in uluhe ferns.

On the return, I was pleasantly surprised with another variant to the second alternative ascent/descent. Mabel, Bill, Jay, and a few others slightly re-routed the hike route to a more obvious path along the gully's streambed. Some of the gang diverted momentarily to inspect a nearby cave. I believe Ken found some sea-shells in one. The rest of us completed the descent to the sun-beaten maintenance road, over the bridges, and back the way we came. Of course, post-hike refreshments came just in time after this heat-stroke event.

Kudos to Mabel and others for the refreshments.

A special acknowledgement and thanks to Reuben Mateo for his second appearance at the Halawa trail-maintenance. His awesome chainsaw work took out the blow-downs seen early in the trail. See his great job Sunday, September 12 on the club hike!

The next trail maintenance outing is on Schofield-Waikane.

Happy Hiking!

Greg

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