OHE KST Backpack 2000, Day 3


OHE KST Backpack 2000, Day 3

From:	"Dayle K. Turner" 
Subject: HTMC KST Backpack 2000 (Day 3)

Just like the morning before, I was up early, around 5:30, saddled with
the restlessness of a less-than-comfortable night on the hard floor of the
Poamoho cabin.  The tent campers (Stuart, Lynne, Tom, Roger) had agreed to
be at the cabin at 8, so there was plenty of time for the cabin group to
eat breakfast, change into yummy hiking togs, and pack up for the final
day's march.

I ate a can of vienna sausage for my morning meal and popped down some
vitamin pills with a liter of crystal light drink.  As I ate this fine
fare, my mind drifted to an L&L Drive-Inn chicken katsu plate lunch, but
then I remembered how being obsessed with kaukau during the final day of
last year's KST trip led me to rush and then take a spill off one of the
windward sections of the trail on the way to the Schofield 
terminus.  Didn't want a repeat of that.

So I switched my thoughts to other things, like jokes. That decided, I
took to ribbing Big John about his uncharacteristic slowness the day
before.  John, a hardcore vegetarian and usually one of the frontrunners
on every HTM hike he attends, was dead last into Poamoho on Sunday, and I
joked that he would have fared much better if he ate some meat.  John, in
addition to having some rightfield opinions about things (he loves to
drone on about Rush Limbaugh), has a good sense of humor and took my
good-natured poke without offense.  

Since I've mentioned John, I should also talk a bit about the other folks
on the trip.  First, there's Ed Gilman, one of the most pleasant men
I've ever hiked with.  There's just a nice vibe that emanates from
him.  Plus, he's one heck of a tough hiker although a casual observer
might not gather this by looking at his slender, willowy build.  Henry
Davis has been hiking with the club for a only a few months, but he's
demonstrated that he's a sturdy, capable hiker and quite a photography
buff (and single, too, girls).  Larry Oswald, an engineer at Pearl
Harbor, is well-known in the HTMC trail maintenance crew as
Mr. Chainsaw after he toted a chainsaw to the summit of Pu'u Ka'aumakua
via the Waikane Trail.  Larry has a great sense of humor, a love of
spearfishing, and is a maker of one potent margarita. His wife, Kris
Corliss, a pharmacist at Kahuku Hospital, looks and hikes likes she's 20
years younger than her actual age (which I don't know and won't hazard a
guess at here).  A runner and Girl Scout leader, Kris has a fun,
bubbly personality.  Stuart Ball, as all of us know, is the famous hiking
author of Hawaii.  A gentle, unassuming man, Stuart is someone I respect
greatly, not only for his boundless hiking knowledge but for his pleasant
disposition and reliable advice and guidance. Lynne Masuyama, who
unbachelorized Stuart at the summit of Koko Crater on New Year's Day 1997,
is one of the stronger wahine hikers in HTM, having completed two
club Super Hikes in good form. She works for the DLNR, so don't talk stink
about dem buggahs when she's around.  And then there's Tom Yoza, an avid
bicycle enthusiast, a former Portlock Point paipo board king, and along
with Ken Suzuki and Jim Pushaw, one of the heroes of Kahana during the
rescue of the two Danish girls from Pu'u Ohulehule.  When Tom expressed an
interest in taking part in this year's backpack, I counted myself
fortunate, for there are few more reliable people I know.  If anyone ever
runs into trouble in the mountains, he or she can count on Tom to leave no
stone  unturned and no pig trail unsearched.  Such are the folks who
joined me on the trip--a great group and a pleasure to hike and camp
with.

The tent camping group (Stuart, Lynne, Thomas, Roger) arrived at 8
a.m. at the cabin as planned.  A few minutes later, Ed, Roger, and Henry
set off.  The rest of us wouldn't see them for the rest of the hike but we
could keep in contact since Henry was carrying one of Tom's
walkie-talkies.  That lead group ended up reaching Kamehameha Hwy in
Waikane a few minutes before 1 p.m., completing the final leg of the
three-day trek in under five hours.  

Meanwhile, the rest of us moved along less quickly.  John and I were the
last to leave the cabin, and I made sure the place was swept out, thanks
to the broom and pan left by Fred Boll and Richard McMahon.  The summit
trail from the cabin to the Schofield summit was muddy and severely
windswept, with gusts over 40 mph ripping up the mountainside from Kahana
Valley at times.  John, as he usually does when hiking, was shirtless when
we started out.  But that didn't last more than ten minutes, when the KST
transitioned from leeward to a long windward-facing stretch.

In about half an hour, we passed the junction with the trail that descends
to Kahana via Pauao Ridge.  An old sign, its lettering no longer visible,
is planted on the trail at the junction.  I stopped for a minute to look
down the trail, recalling how Pat Rorie, Steve Poor, and I suffered on
Labor Day 1998 to reach this very spot after nearly eight hours of hiking,
climbing, chopping, and crawling.  

Beyond the Pauao junction,  the KST is at its spectacular best, with long
sections cut high into the steep face of the windward-facing pali.  I
snapped some pictures of this section, along with pictures from days 1 and
2, and these are available at 

	http://www.geocities.com/htmchiker/kst2000/

While knocked off balance by wind blasts a few times during the crossover,
John and I reached the Schofield terminus a bit over two hours after
leaving the cabin.  Stuart, Lynne, Kris, Larry, and Tom were waiting for
us there, and we all took a break, snacked, and snapped some photos.  By
this time, Henry, Ed, and Roger had descended the most dangerous
segment of the Waikane trail and  arrived at the Waikane saddle.  Man,
they were moving fast.

While hiking along the short section of the KST over to Waikane, Stuart
mentioned to me how lucky we were to have hiked this section from Poamoho
without obscuring clouds.  I agreed with him, even though I would have
preferred a bit less wind.  But the wind made for cool hiking, and I
needed only a couple sips of water for the final leg as a result.  

When we reached the KST/Waikane junction, Stuart stopped to jot some
info in a small notebook he carries while hiking.  The info was for
updates of his backpacking book, which can be viewed at

	http://www.hgea.org/~lmasu/

The Waikane trail has been graded and cleared by our club, and we reaped
the benefits of that labor.  Even in its improved state, the trail down to
the saddle still requires careful hiking, for in many places a slip can
lead to fatal consequences.  But we were careful and all of us made it
down to the saddle without a hitch.  

Since it was a nearly 12:30 when we arrived, we stopped at the
Ohulehule-facing lookout at the saddle for lunch.  During that time, we
raised Henry on the walkie-talkie, and he reported that he, Ed, and Roger
were well on their way out to the highway via the dirt road in the
valley.  I also phoned Dusty via cell to let him know that the lead group
would emerge around 1 pm, and he drove over from his Kaneohe home to pick
up Henry, Ed, and Roger to transport them over to Kay Lynch's house.  Much
thanks to Dusty for the assist.  

Also during lunch, I asked Stuart about the old route the club used when
climbing Ohulehule, and he pointed out the approach and descent routes,
the former being the SE ridge and the latter being the ridge facing us.  
Kris passed around a bag of chocolates for anyone who wanted some, and
Lynne was a glad taker and mentioned how she'd been craving chocolate.

At 1 pm, I bid a temporary farewell to the others at the saddle and headed
at a quick pace down the rest of the Waikane trail to the ditch intake,
then to the valley road.  I knew that someone would be waiting to pick me
up when I emerged on Kam Hwy, and I didn't want that someone to wait too
long, so I hurried my pace.  When I reached the lower (unlocked and
open) gate by the houses, Henry and Ed and their vehicles were waiting
there.  I told them the others would be out 45-60 minutes later.  Henry
drove me over to Kay's house, less than five minutes away by car, and Kay
was waiting there in the shade of a tree in a large open lot on the
property she lives on.  She had some cold drinks, fruit, and cake for us,
and these were welcomed and appreciated.  Kay then gave Ed, Henry, and I a
tour of her plant nursery, and showed us an adjacent property that has a
working taro patch fed by water from Hakipu'u Stream which is in her
backyard.  Wow.

After the tour, I made a quick stop at Waikane store to purchase a
liter bottle of Diet Coke, which I downed in a minute.  I then drove back
over to Waikane Valley Road and headed mauka in my Cherokee.  A couple
minutes up the road, I met Big John, who told me the others were not far
behind.  I continued up the road, and, sure enough, Stuart, Lynne, Larry,
Kris, and Thomas were marching along.  Kris and Larry jumped in, as did
Big John, and I drove them to Kay's then returned to pick up Stuart,
Lynne, and Thomas to transport them to Kay's as well.  Thomas told me he'd
met Laredo Murray on the way down the dirt road.  Rainbowman, as we like
to call Laredo, is someone we've hiked with in the past and has a fondness
for coloring his hair in various shades like green, orange, red, or
yellow.  He'd been dirt biking in the valley.

All of us at Kay's now, we spent time there enjoying the refreshments she
provided and her kind hospitality.  Much thanks to her for this as well as
for allowing us to leave our vehicles there.  This was a big help to us.

There is talk of another KST backpack trip next summer, an all-wahine
outing.  And I'm certain there are an ample number of women in our club
who could pull it off with no problem.  Maybe they'd christen that
adventure "2001, A KST Odyssey."

As for me, I think I'll take a year off from this rugged trail.  There's
always 2002.

--DKT
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