Saturday, April 28, 2001

Waianae, Makaha, Dodge ridge to Kamaileunu

Pat, Ed, Steve, and I logged a good amount of hiking today.  We all
started in Waianae Valley and made our way up the No-Name Peak side
of the Waianae Kai trail, a no-nonsense climb and a good
workout. From there, we descended an ancient Hawaiian trail, nowadays
used mostly by hunters, to Makaha Valley. This trail is well-defined in
its upper third but less so the rest of the way as it descends thru guava.
Pink ribbons helped us navigate our way.

Once down in Makaha, we headed makai on a well-used trail along
gently-flowing Makaha Stream. At one point, Pat led us up a short side
trail on the right that took us in a couple minutes to a pu'u with a
panoramic view of the valley. Pat and I agreed that the surroundings
reminded us of what one might see from Smoke Rock in Kalalau. Very nice.

The valley trail led to a Board of Water Supply well and a paved road
leading to the well. We walked down the road, our next objective being to
find a trail on the left that would lead us to a spur ridge up to the
terminus of the Kamaileunu Trail. HTMC vet Fred Dodge has hiked this
before, so I christened this Fred Dodge's Ridge.

We walked past the obscure trail on our way down but after backtracking,
we found it (a large pole, and now pink ribbons, mark the spot). The
trail proceeds into a forest of coffee and macadamia trees for 50-60
meters then veers right on a contour. After that, the way became
indistinct, and we switched into path-of-least resistance mode, with Pat
as the hammer man.

After about 15 minutes of pushing through, we began climbing a distinct,
rocky ridge. Yes, this was Dodge Ridge, which we hoped would deliver us
to the summit of Kamaileunu. We were optimistic yet apprehensive
since none of us had ever hiked this route all the way before (Pat,
Steve, Wing, and I had explored the lower section a few years ago).

Happily, the ridge was quite good, with no chopping necessary and no
overly challenging or taxing rock climbing, at least until we neared the
summit. Goats rule this ridge, evidenced by the well-used paths they've
created and the piles of dung they've left behind. Additionally, the
acrid aroma of goat urine leaves quite an impression.

As we approached the 2000-foot level, Pat picked up the pace and pressed
forward ahead of the rest of us. As we neared 2500 feet, we reached a
level section where we could see Pat 100 meters ahead. He had stopped at
the base of a radical-looking rock section, and it was obvious to us that
Pat had ceased hiking because the section was a dangerous one.

Steve, Ed, and I eventually reached the base of the rock section and
followed Pat to the left on a narrow bypass used by goats. A
big drop had us moving very cautiously. We decided that this left
bypass was too risky, so we backtracked to the face of the rock section
and explored bypass possibilities on the right. These didn't pan out, so
the only option was to attempt the face straight on if the summit were to
be acquired.

Testing every foot- and handhold several times, Pat went first. As we
nervously watched, he made it and then reported that ridge ahead looked
doable. Ed, exercising the same kind of caution, went next. Success.
Next in line were Steve and I. Admittedly, I was very nervous about
climbing this face but after watching Pat and Ed make it okay, I felt I
could do it. Steve, a very cautious sort, opted not to try it, even
after my concerted pep talk about what a great climber he is (which is no

Not wanting Steve to have to descend the ridge and find his way out of
Makaha alone, I decided to pass on the summit and head down with him. I
yelled out our plan to Pat and asked that he drive over to the end of
Kili Drive in Makaha to pick us up. Pat said he would.

So Pat and Ed continued up the ridge to reach the Kamaileunu terminus and
then hiked makai on that trail to Kepauula and the ridge that descended to
the junkyard in Waianae Valley. Earlier, Pat had left his vehicle on a
residential street near the junkyard.

In the meantime, Steve and I headed back down, stopping at the 1400-foot
level to examine what we thought was a halapepe tree. We eventually
reached the BOWS road and headed makai on it toward Kaneaki Heiau. Just
mauka of Kaneaki, we veered right on a trail, leaving the road behind.
This trail was overgrown with grass but still discernible. We crossed
the stream a handful of times and then emerged on a fairway of the Makaha
Valley Golf Course. Not wanting to walk out on the golf course, we
backtracked a minute on the trail and found another trail heading off in
the direction of the Makaha condo towers and Kili Drive. We followed
it. Steve and I eventually emerged on Huipo Drive, where we turned right
for the short walk to the end of Kili Drive by the security checkpoint
for the Makaha Towers. We sat down to rest on a bus stop bench and five
minutes later Pat and Ed pulled up to pick us up. Great timing!

In all, it was a good day of hiking. The weather stayed fairly cool all
day, with just a brief passing drizzle around 2:30. By 5 p.m., we all
were motoring off for home.

Some notes, not necessarily hike-related:

1. Posthike, on the way back up Waianae Valley to pick up my vehicle, we
passed a large gathering of people in an undeveloped lot where Waianae
Valley Road veers left and narrows. Chicken fight!

2. Regular unleaded gas is $1.76 a gallon in Nanakuli! I filled up on the
way home.

3. Around 5:30, Ed (passenger) and I (driving) witnessed an accident on H1
right by the Waikele offramp. While traveling in the center lane, we
saw a car two lanes to our left slam into a light pole along the center
median and flip over 5 to 6 times. We pulled over to render aid and Ed
called 911 on his cell phone. Miraculously, the driver and his
passenger survived!


Saturday, April 21, 2001

Friendship Garden and Kokokahi

Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001 17:01:20 -1000
From: Shelly Bermudez <>
Subject: Friendship Garden


My name is Shelly Bermudez and I am the Program Manager of YWCA Camp
Kokokahi. Upon conducting a word search of Kokokahi, I came across your
webpages about your hiking experience and the spirit dog. Mahalo for
sharing your story. For the past 5 years that I have been at the camp, I
have been interested in hearing any ghost stories about the Kokokahi

Some brief history on Kokokahi.....
Dreams are realized in a diversity of ways, but few so beautifully as
that of Theodore Richards who envisioned a Hawaiian valley where people
of many races would work, play, and pray together in harmony. This was
"Kokokahi" of one blood. This was the name he gave the valley when his
dream came to life in 1928. His vision of Kokokahi was inspired by the
moving sermon of St. Paul in Chapter XVII of the Acts of Apostles.

Friendship Garden was a part of the whole Kokokahi system. Mr. & Mrs.
Jack Gillmar, their children and numerous volunteers labored for 25 years
to restore and maintain the garden. In 1998, The Friendship Garden
Foundation obtained the deed for the property from the YWCA. Mr. and
Mrs. Gillmar believe it is very important to maintain the garden to
continue Dr. Richard's dream. Mr. Gillmar's grandfather, Frank Schudder,
a Congregational missionary was a friend of Dr. Richards and played an
active role in Kokokahi's early days.

Russell Porter and Ted Talbott, two Windward residents were helpful in
restoring the trials that connected to the garden. One of the trails that
ties into Friendship Garden is named the Dudley Talbott Trail. It was
built by Ted Talbott in honor of his grandfather, Paul Dudley. It is
said that Mr. Tolbott, with the help of a few friends, worked about 1,000
hours and completed the trail in about 9 months.

If you are interested in more information about YWCA Camp Kokokahi,
please feel free to call the camp at the phone number below.

Aloha Nui Loa,

Shelly Bermudez
YWCA of O'ahu
Camp Kokokahi
45-035 Kaneohe Bay Drive
Kaneohe, Hawaii 96744
(808)247-2124 ext. 11

Sunday, April 1, 2001

Bearclaw Ridge

I dislike hiking in streambeds and along narrow ridges with rotten rock.
As things turned out, I did both today probably because I'm a hardheaded
son of a gun. Or maybe I did it because it was April Fool's Day, and I'm
the king of fools.

Today, the TM gang was slated to work on the Kipapa Trail in
cooperation with the feds, but that outing was cancelled at the 11th
hour. So, in place of Kipapa, Mabel requested that the crew hike/work
on the Pu'u o Kona route for an upcoming club hike.

So a bunch of us showed up at the end of Kalaau Place in Kuliouou Valley
this morning to do our thing. I'd hiked the o Kona route last Saturday
and reported to Mabel that not much work was needed on it. Given that,
the day was designated more one for hiking than for labor. No complaints
from me in that regard.

The assembled throng dispersed hither and yon. Some folks went up the
direct route to Kuliouou Ridge. Some went up the middle ridge via the
end of Papahehi Place. I went with a group of folks up the valley trail
that led to the waterfall trail that led up to Kuliouou West by an
airplane wreck near the summit.

The valley/waterfall group had a good workout. Our crew included
Peter Kempf, Ed Gilman, Pat Enomoto, Brenda & Dick Cowan, Jay Feldman,
and Jason Sunada, and me. We all made it up to Kuliouou West in good
stead, after a romp thru a dry stream (which, as mentioned earlier, I
dislike) and a huff-n-puffer of a climb.

After climbing up the middle ridge from Papahehi, Nathan Yuen, Thea
Ferentinos, and Tom Yoza arrived at the pu'u by the airplane wreck about
the same time as our group. Looking across the valley, we saw a string of
hikers topping out on the Kuliouou state trail. They turned out to be
Justin Ohara, Mike Algiers, and friends, who were bound for Makapuu along
the summit. We also were in radio contact with other folks in the TM
crew, who were working in Kaalakei Valley and up Mauna o Ahi Ridge.
Lynn Agena, who's been tied up with work on Sundays since starting a new
job, was with the crew today. Also on hand were Mabel Kekina, Deetsie
Chave, Bill Gorst, Connie and Gordon Muschek, June Miyasato, Mel Yoshioka,
among others.

Our group summited, rested awhile, then began clearing the trail along the
crest toward Pu'u o Kona (not much work to be done). Once at o Kona
(elev 2200), we took a look at Bear Claw Ridge, the massive spur that
extends down to Waimanalo. Many of us have looked at this ridge from
the summit and from Waimanalo, wondering if we'd muster the nerve to
ever attempt it. Well today a few of mustered up some muster.

After some rationalizing and feet dragging, we took the plunge. I went
down a side spur and then bashed and slashed left into a wide, heavily
vegetated ravine that was a mess of 'ie'ie and strangling plants. Ed
later followed my basic line of torture. Meanwhile, Jason damned the
torpedos and went down the direct ridge, and Peter edged after him.
My way was safer but required more energy expenditure. Jason's way was
direct but more exposed. It was pick your poison.

I eventually made my way thru the vegetation stranglehold, while being
urged on and peppered with advice via walkie-talkie from comrades watching
my progress up on the summit ridge. After hearing from Jason that the
main ridge was "okay" (a relative term in the HTMC), I clawed my way very
steeply thru 'ie'ie and buffalo grass to regain the main ridge where Jason
had stopped to wait for me.

At this point, Peter had decided to head back up and Ed was still battling
the tangling flora (Ed later gained the main ridge and then headed back
to the summit). So Jason and I slowly and carefully continued makai
down the Bear Claw. We moved gingerly down some steep, crumbly slopes
that obviously were negotiable and edged to the right of a couple of
pinnacle rock formations. While edging, I had to move extra carefully
because of my wide and heavy bulk ("walk lightly" was my mantra). Many of
the rocks along the ridge, some boulder-sized, were rotten and ready to
dislodge under the weight or tug of an unwary hiker. Fortunately, Jason
and I are experienced enough to know what and how much to grab, lean on,
and put weight on to avoid a big plunge.

We passed to the left of a large ironwood tree and the ridge narrowed
right after it. We crept along the thin, rocky ridge and then
jumped down on the right. In the process, I dislodged a piece of the
mountain. Looking at the ridge I'd destroyed, Jason said, "I hope we'll be
able to climb back up." I hoped so, too.

Not far after that, we arrived at a place where the main ridge narrowed
and veered to the left and a broader side spur split off down to the
right, with a broad, vegetated ravine between the two. The main ridge
dropped to a vertical rockface of 8 to 10 feet. On the other hand, the
right spur could be descended without aids. While I watched from above,
Jason descended the right spur ten feet then did a left slabbing contour
to get over to the main ridge, bypassing the 8-10 foot rockface. While I
continued to watch (I'd decided not to go any further), Jason went down
the main ridge a bit more then came back, saying he felt a little
nervous. In a way, it was good to hear him say this because I was
plenty nervous. Nervousness loves company, it seems.

Jason, having decided to descend the main ridge no further, reslabbed back
to the righthand side spur, descended that for a bit, then came back up
to where I was. From this position, we were at the ~1800 ft level
(altimeter watch check) and about 100 meters mauka of the ironwood grove
that marks the point where the two claws of the ridge split steeply
downward to the Waimanalo foothills below.

It was around noon and time for lunch, but we both agreed not to eat
until we had returned to the summit since somehow food would probably be
unenjoyable with thoughts in our heads of the dicey climb still looming.
Moreover, clouds started massing along the summit ridge, an indicator that
rain might soon follow. Precipitation plus steep eroded slopes equal bad
news, so even moreso were we motivated to return to the summit without

After discussing crossing over the ravine to our left to ascend a spur
on that side, we decided to stick with the main ridge, which we carefully
made our way up. When we reached the narrow section by the ironwood
tree, Jason slabbed left past the tree while I used its branches like a
ladder to regain the ridgetop (thank heaven for strong branches), bypassing
the narrow neck we'd hopped down (and I damaged) earlier.

We then ascended the steep, eroded hill we'd come down earlier, did a
twister contortionist routine thru a thicket of christmas berry (I did a
bit of chopping there), then climbed steeply and carefully up a narrow
hogback to the summit. Safety. Yes.

Breathing proverbial sighs of relief, we turned south to hike along the
summit to the clearing at the top of the state trail, pausing on occasion
to look back at profiles of Bear Claw. We ate lunch at the top of the
state trail with Peter and Ed, who waited for us there. After lunch, we
headed down the state trail, admiring the new stairs we'd worked on last
Saturday, and eventually arrived back on Kalaau Place.


We found no ribbons or old cuts on Bear Claw today. It seems that no one
has done this recently.

We also left no ribbons.

On my way home, I drove the Waimanalo backroads to take a good look at
Bear Claw from below. Both claws appear do-able. In fact, we know that
Al Miller, John Hall, Fred Durst, and others have done Bear Claw. John,
who was in attendance today, told me he last did it about 30 years ago
but can't recall if he went up on the left or right. He did remember
that the climb required no cables/ropes and that access in Waimanalo
wasn't problem. In typical HTM fashion, he described the climb as "not too
bad." Miller, who has done it more recently, says the right claw is THE
WAY to go and that cables are required in several spots. Will it be right
or left? Hmmm...

A week ago Monday, Ed and Roger Breton completed the section between the
Moanalua Saddle and Keahiakahoe. This was a daring, dangerous undertaking
since it involved an ascent of a very narrow ridgeline much of it over
rotten rock. Nice job to those two.

This past Saturday, I hiked Kawaewae Ridge with the club. Jason and his
wife and daughter were there as were Thea, Thea's sister and her two kids,
Justin, Fred Boll, George Shoemaker, Peter, Steve Brown, Lin Black,
Richard McMahon, and many others. It was a fine outing in good weather
and everyone seemed to have had a good time.