Tuesday, May 29, 2001

Koolau summit trail Pupukea to Waikane

There's a saying that only fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
What does this have to do with the following account? Read on and you'll
hopefully see the connection.

Nine of us took the plunge into the mud of the Oahu mountains this
weekend, hiking from Pupukea to Waikane via the Koolau Summit Trail. We
spent two nights out, the first at the Kawailoa terminus and the second at
the Poamoho Cabin. Participants were Ken, Ralph (co-coordinators),
Carole, June, Thea, Georgina, Dave, Justin, and I. Carole was doing the
KST trip for the seventh (and last) time, she says. Georgina,
just a teenager, was among a handful of first-time KST backpackers.

Day 1 was Saturday (5/26). We rendezvoused at Kay Lynch's house in
Hakipuu then were transported over to Pupukea by Tom, Stuart, Larry, and
Kris. Larry and Tom were able to drive us in their 4x4s all the way up
the Pupukea dirt road to the KST trailhead, saving us 3 miles and an hour
of road walking. Mahalo nui for their efforts and to Bill Gorst for
getting us access to the dirt road beyond the Boy Scout camp.

Everyone set off at their own pace, which was helped or hindered by the
loads carried. Pack weights ranged from mid-50s (Justin, Ken, Ralph),
to the 30s (all the wahines), to mid-20s (me). I had intended
to keep my pack under 20 lbs (food and water included) and was
disappointed when it weighed in at 26. Hiking light is a choice I've
made after some painful experiences hefting heavy loads, including
an ascent of Mauna Loa when I lugged 3 gallons of water and a bunch of
other foolish, bulky crap. Learn and live.

Anyway, we moved along without much trouble on day 1 since the trail was
relatively clear (due to HTMC TM efforts) and only moderately muddy--the
big mud tango coming on day 2. Significant points along the way were the
junction to the Koolau lookout (where Tom and Stuart found the old Kahuku
trail), the junction with the trail to benchmarked Pupukea summit, the
sign-marked Malaekahana trail terminus and the Laie trail terminus.

A minute after the Laie junction, I had a face-to-face encounter with a
(sick?) pig. I rounded a turn in the trail and saw what I thought was a
dead pua'a on the footpath. Just as I was about to turn to Carole, June,
and Georgina to tell them about the deceased porker, said porker sprung
to life and commenced a stare-down. I yelled and struck my hiking pole
on the trail in an attempt to scare off the pig, but scare it did not.
It, in fact, advanced toward me, which pigs with room to flee typically
don't do (and this pig had plenty of room to flee). Seeing this, I
commenced a quick, hasty backpedal and ended up crashing backwards
off the trail, now defenseless against the advancing foe. The three
wahines, all a safe distance away, just giggled and cackled at my
situation. The good news was that the pig did not attack and burrowed
into the bushes away from me. The bad news was that I was the butt of
jokes at dinner that night. The wahines even claimed I screamed as I
fell off the trail. Poppycock.

Our campsite at Kawailoa was once occupied by a cabin. Now all that
remains of the structure is a single plank and a lone post. Tom and
Stuart had hiked up via Laie the weekend before to chop weeds around the
site, to dig a couple of holes for our lua, and to flag the trail leading
to a nearby water source. They also cleared a good deal of the section
between Laie and the campsite. Nice job and thanks to those two.

We were able to set up nine tents in and around the site and we also
fashioned a nice lookout on the pu'u overlooking the camp. After dinner,
we used the lookout as a place to kick back, watch the sunset (nice), talk
story, and stay out of the wind. Earlier, Dave had hiked across the
swampy area adjacent to our camp to climb a landing pad hilltop with a
panoramic view of the surrounding area. Nobody else did this, probably
because of the swamp and because misty, cloudy conditions would have
hampered views.

The wind was a bit of a nuisance during the night, not only because of
the noise it created by flapping rainflys but also for the cold
it sent into our bones as we tried to sleep. It also rained at
several points during the night but never anything hard or prolonged.

Day 2 (Sunday, 5/27) was a rough one and began around 6 a.m. Around then,
someone asked Georgina how she had slept during the night

"Horribly," she said. "I was so cold," a statement we'd hear from her
a bunch more times during the trip.

A few others admitted to being cold and no one, in fact, professed to
sleeping well, which wasn't surprising given the nippy, damp night we'd
had. As we ate breakfast, then broke down our tents then packed our gear,
the mood was somber and introspective. Everyone knew we'd have a tough
string of hours ahead of us.

Dave and I were the first to pack up and depart. Just before we hiked
around a bend in the trail and out of sight of the others, I raised my
right fist overhead, turned to whoever was looking, and bellowed,
"Poamoho!" Bear in mind I was once a football coach, so I'll never lack
for quasi-pseudo inspirational dogma.

And then we mushed on, with mush being the operative term. We were
constantly in mud, the brown, putrid, boot-sucking kind. Trying to avoid
mudholes on the KST is futile and those foolhardy to try it end up
expending more energy, battling impenetrable vegetation, and encountering
just more mud. So the best tactic is to submit to it and just slosh
right on through. By day's end, we were coated in muck from toe to
crotch. Yum.

Though never easy, day 2 was made better by several days of trail work
done by Roger in the preceding couple of weekends and also the new
exclosure fenceline installed by Army Environmental, with an assist by
HTMC members, among others. Good job to all.

Day 2 landmarks included the old Kahuku cabin site (about an hour
from Kawailoa), a beautiful windswept windward section overlooking upper
Kaipapau Gulch, and the Castle junction, where Dave, Thea, Justin, and I
ate lunch and rested. We saw plenty of signs of pigs but never encountered
any. About 30 minutes beyond Castle, we came upon the exclosure
fenceline, which generally follows the KST. A corridor on both sides of
the fence has been cleared, making for unimpeded, less muddy hiking.
Partway along the fenceline we saw a quonset hut-like structure a
quarter-mile to our right (west). We also noticed a silhouette next to
the structure. Was it a person? Movement confirmed it was. We later
found out the person was actually two people who had dayhiked over from
Poamoho and the structure was used by the workers building the exclosure
fence. An unnamed source told me in the area near the structure are
views of a stream (Helemano or Opaeula?) with waterfalls and a pool "as
large as a football field."

The southern end of the fenceline is at the junction with the Peahinaia
Trail. The fenceline extends down Peahinaia for a distance and then
crosses a couple of drainages to form the exclosure boundary with the
fenceline along the KST. Among the folks I was hiking with, I heard no
negative comments about the fence, and thanks to oversight from the HTMC
(including Pat, Stuart, Charlotte, and others), the fence doesn't block or
badly infringe on the summit trail corridor.

About midway between the Peahinaia junction and Poamoho, we ran into two
early-twentyish haole guys shouldering big packs. When I saw them, the
first thought that popped into mind was "Wade Johnson" (for those who
don't know about Johnson, he was a BYUH student who, with a buddy, was
backpacking on the KST in the summer of '95. The buddy was found but
Johnson never was).

The two haole guys said they'd come up Schofield, crossed north along
the KST, passed the Poamoho Cabin, and were looking
for cabins they'd heard about beyond Poamoho. I told them where we'd
come from and that there were no cabins between Poamoho and Pupukea.
Hearing this, they then said they'd try to reach the summit of Laie by
nightfall. It was nearing 3 p.m. and with darkness hitting in four
hours, I told them reaching the Laie summit was not possible with the
daylight remaining. This information seemed to deflate their enthusiasm,
but they thanked us nevertheless and continued on. Strangely, no one in
our group of nine other than Dave, Thea, and I saw these backpackers, so
I'm not sure where they went after we talked to them. I hope they're
okay.

We had heard that Grant might be hiking up Poamoho to join us for the
final night, so we were eager to find out if he had showed up. Once at
the Poamoho summit, marked by the Cline Memorial Stone, we made the
five-minute walk down the trail to get water at the stream. As we
approached, we noticed a large tent in the clearing by the stream. Was
this Grant's? If it was, he, or whoever it belonged to, wasn't around it
nor in it. A mystery to try and figure out.

After acquiring water for the night and morrow, it was off to the Poamoho
Cabin. On the return trip to the Cline Memorial junction, we met a couple
who belonged to the tent. They'd been the silhouette makers we'd seen by
the quonset hut structure by the exclosure fenceline and knew about our
backpack trip. They'd even contacted one of the coordinators (Ralph?) to
inquire about the trek. In the morning, they had set out to hike to the
KST/Castle Trail junction but ended up not getting that far, opting
instead to explore the fenceline and the quonset hut structure in the
Peahinaia area. Nice folks.

Getting to the 4-bunk Poamoho cabin required a muddy (what's new?)
half-mile slog south along the KST from the Cline Memorial. Though
spartan, the cabin brought relief from the mud and weather. The weather,
by the way, was never bad during the trip. Though it rained briefly, we
were never poured on. And though clouds blocked views at times, these
times were brief. In all, the weather was very cooperative.

All nine of us spent the night in the cabin. As one of the first
arrivers, I snagged one of the bunks, as did Thea, Dave, and June. Yes,
I could have given my bunk to Carole or Georgina, but after a long day on
the KST, I wasn't feeling chivalrous.

What I did do, however, was congratulate Georgina for enduring the
toughest part of the KST, and with a pack that was at least 10 lbs more
than mine. No matter how much I chided her for whining about being cold,
she'll always have my respect (though she may have preferred my bunk).

But I digress.

The night passed reasonably well, with one challenge being how to make it
thru with people having to get up at various times to answer nature's
call. I used an old mountaineer's trick: piss in a bottle. Yes, this
may seem gross, unsanitary, yada, yada. But when in a high mountain bivy
suspended from a cliff 5000 feet up (or in my case, in a cabin with bodies
strewn yon and hither), doing number 1 in a bottle is much easier and
more convenient. A few key points: [a] make sure to get it in the
bottle; [b] make sure to cap bottle securely; [c] make sure not to
confuse this bottle with the one you use to sip water from; [d] make sure
not to do #2 in a bottle (which is gross, unsanitary, yada, yada).

Okay, let's move on.

Day 3 was the shortest, easiest, and most scenic. Just like the morning
before, we were up around 6 a.m., having survived a night sleep noises
(read: snoring) and of dark figures going in and out to use the lua (the
lua being the nearest bush). Breakfast prep and consumption was
followed by packing up for the final leg. One of the least pleasant
parts of the trip was having to put on the same smelly, dirty clothes we'd
worn the days prior. But as someone mentioned, after a couple minutes on
the trail, we wouldn't notice the dampness and stench. Well, at least
that was the theory.

>From the cabin, almost all of the KST to the Schofield junction was on the
windward-facing side of the mountain, making for cool breezes and pretty
views. Clouds obscured visibility in the area below Pu'u Pauao, which is
about half an hour from the cabin. Beyond that, views and hiking were
superb, with the lush, remote massiveness of Kahana sprawled out below
us. While hiking along, many could pick out the Kahana peaks we'd
climbed with the club, including the triumvirate of Kila, Ohulehule, and
Manamana. Since we set off early, the temps and conditions were moderate,
making for enjoyable hiking.

Moving steadily but leisurely, most completed the ~2-mile leg to the
Schofield terminus in two hours. Following a rest there, what remained
was a final 20-minute swan song on the KST to the Waikane trail
terminus, and then a descent of Waikane itself, the latter being in fine
shape because of recent maintenance efforts by the club.

Having completed the descent of Waikane, many took the refreshing plunge
in the water flume at the bottom of the trail, and then there was a tramp
on the dirt road back to civilization. On the way down, I came upon a huge
black sow and her two keiki. Unlike other recent encounters with pua'a,
this one was textbook, with my yell sending the porkers scampering into
the brush.

Tom, Mabel, and Grant helped with posthike transport to Hakipuu where we
left our cars. And Charlotte dropped by with refreshments. Relaxing and
reflecting on the trip, we hung out at Kay's front yard to enjoy
refreshments and to clean ourselves up. Among the goodies consumed
were cookies, chocolate cream pie ala Mabel, corn dogs, assorted chips,
watermelon, soft drinks, and beer.

Much thanks to Ken, Ralph, and Grant for coordinating the trip and to all
the others for logistical/people-power support. The outing went well
because of the efforts of all these folks.

Will any of us ever do the KST trip again? I'd bet that most eventually
will, me included. After all, we saw no sign of angels anywhere we hiked.

Malama pono,

--dkt

Saturday, May 19, 2001

Kuliouou, Kuliouou West

Some deranged person posted some fairy-tale, knights-of-the-roundtable
write-up the other day using my name. Let it be known that I have
discovered and dealt with the culprit swiftly and surely, and he's now in
custody at the funny farm in Kaneohe.

Okay, enuff said about that.

Tomorrow's HTMC hike is Puu o Kona, which the club has often done via a
middle ridge that starts at the end of Papahehi Place in Kuliouou Valley.
As Jay has mentioned recently on OHE, the Papahehi access is now no more
because the owner of the lot where the trailhead was has decided to
build.

Wing, as he's mentioned on the list, has opened up a new route from the
end of Kalaau Place (state trailhead) up to the crest of the middle ridge
in response to the Papahehi trailhead loss. Today, a handful of us went
back to Kuliouou to do additional work on Wing's trail and we later went
further mauka to open up a contour route from the middle ridge over to
Kuliouou's west ridge.

In contrast to the rainy weather we had on Oahu yesterday, today was a
scorcher. It was actually a great day for the beach, and when I drove
home after the hike I saw tons of people at Sandy Beach and Makapuu who'd
agree with me.

Showing up today were Jay, John, Gordon, Peter, Evelia, and I. John will
be working with Ken Suzuki to coordinate tomorrow's hike. The rest of us
showed up today to lend moral support, to do some work, and to get some
exercise.

We did some rerouting of Wing's trail right away to avoid being in view of
the last house on the left at the end of Kalaau. The route begins on an
obvious trail on the left about 15 yards from the chain across the road.
After that, it's follow-the-ribbon time through haole koa and then makai
along the bank of a dry, branch-choked Kuliouou Stream.

The trail then crosses the streambed, then climbs steadily thru haole koa,
rocks, scattered cacti, and smidgens of other dryland type brush on the
down-valley side of a spur ridge. Wing did a nice job of establishing a
line and putting up ribbons. Today, we did additional chopping and
tossing aside of rocks and dead branches.

About halfway up is a small patch of Formosan koa where we cut a small
trail to the right for a place to sit, rest, and check out the views.
Above the FK patch, the trail stays directly on the crest of the spur
ridge where there is direct exposure to the sun and better exposure to
breezes cascading down the valley. We put in 2.5 hours of work on Wing's
trail on the way up and some additional touch-up work on the way back
down in the afternoon.

Once we cleared to the middle ridge's crest, we headed mauka for five
minutes to an ironwood grove to rest and eat lunch. Evelia and Peter had
pushed ahead and we wouldn't see them until later in the afternoon. So
that left John, Jay, Gordon, and I to eat lunch together. We found
a nice spot alongside the trail that was shaped like a comfortable sofa,
only this one was cushioned by ironwood needles. Nice breeze, nice
shade, nice lunch.

After lunch, we continued mauka up the middle ridge, passing thru another
larger ironwood grove. Gordon decided to hang out there and take a nap
while John, Jay, and I continued on up. Jay wanted to do some clearing
and marking of a contour trail on the left that dropped into the narrow
valley between the middle ridge and Kuliouou's west ridge. For lack of a
better name, I'll call it Kuliouou Iki (Little Kuliouou). The contour
trail into Kuliouou Iki is about five minutes upridge of the large
ironwood grove where Gordon stopped to nap. It's quite a good trail
obviously man-made, cleared fairly well, and descends very gently over
the course of about 250 meters. It then crosses a streambed and there is
a steep trail thru guava that climbs out the other side to the crest of
Kuliouou West Ridge.

With such a gentle, well-made trail into the valley, we thought the
steep trail out seemed oudd. It'd make more sense that whoever built it
would create a similar gentle countour out of the valley's other side.
Well, with some scouting around, we found it and marked and opened it up
quite well. This is a nice option to the steep trail out of the valley.
I should also mention that Evelia and Peter showed up during this
chopping session. They'd headed up the west ridge to the summit and then
come back down.

After opening up the contour trail to the west ridge, we backtracked to
the middle ridge, then down to the ironwoods where we roused Gordon, then
down to Wing's trail, then back down to Kalaau. At the trailhead, Jay and
John shared some sodas with us and we then headed home, me taking the
road around Makapuu, a route I really enjoy driving.

--dkt

Olomana 1st peak makai

Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 18:51:32 -1000
From: Stan Yamada <stanboy50@hotmail.com>
To: turner@hawaii.edu
Subject: Olomana Makai

Howzit: I was surfin the other day and stumbled over your OHE site and
signed up. Imagine my chagrin when I come across your story of Olomana
Makai. I believe it was my trail blazing efforts you found on OM. I used
to mountain bike regularly there as I live in Enchanted Lake. My son and I
like to hike a bike up the ridge lines and zoom down. One day in late '99 I
took the ride up that government road I had been eyeing on the topo map and
found the remnants of an old ridge trail. Sensing a possible new route, I
took the plunge and attempted to clear a path up the ridge. Very hard with
a bike in tow and no machete. I got to where the trail drops down before
the fern forest area. I gave up as I was getting ripped to shreds at that
point. Never returned, until I read your story. I went up there today
armed with my hiking and trail clearing gear, just in case. I wasn't going
to be denied this time!

As stated in your tale, I went up the Kaneohe end of Old Kalanianaole Road
just past the Girls' Home. After the first hill the road dips and the
government road (really a driveway) begins on the right on the other side of
someone's garage. Up the steep and overgrown drive to a former building
site. A lonely slab is all that remains of some former state facility I
presume. Just mauka of the slab a hidden jeep trail is revealed. Left up
the hill and the fun begins. Immediately unsheathed my trusty blade and
began wailing at the chest high Cal grass. After a short climb I reached
the ridge trail and proceeded mauka.

There I discovered a very nice trail going up the hill. Thank you to your
cohorts or whomever paved the way. It certainly wasn't that nice when I
left it! I used the machete a few times on the way up to clear away the
usual detritus. On the way up I found my personal Holy Grail; a lateral
passage contouring my beloved Olomana heading East. Yes!! I've been
wanting to link trails for an Olomana circumnavigation for many years, but
never did it. I will try again at a later date. If you don't already know,
some rich person (supposedly the daughter of An Wang of word processing
fame) bought up most of the lower makai area of Olomana (mauka of the road)
and is using the local gendarmes to enforce a strict no trespassing policy.
I've been personally kicked out and warned twice. Neighbors spot people and
call the cops. They allege that bicycles cause erosion and messes up
Kaelepulu Pond. The rich just want to keep the riff raff out. They have
quite an enclave there now. Guess what? The horses cause a lot more, but I
digress.

Went up and got to the rock face and found the ribbons pointing the way left
and around to the saddle between peaks 1 and 2. Very nice. Got to the top
without mishap. No one there. I had the whole mountain to myself near noon
on a beautiful Saturday. What's up with that? Of course, peaks 2 and 3
were calling and I answered. The ropes were still there and in OK shape.
Got to 2 no problem and rested. Two helicopters flew by and we exchanged
waves. "Look honey, a Hawaiian on top of that skinny hill." "Well dear, he
looks Japanese to me."

Conditions were ideal. Cool, not cold. Breezy, not windy. High overcast.
I enjoyed myself and wen hele on to peak 3. Had a slight problem on one of
the steep faces, but luckily I've been getting into rock climbing and
bouldering lately. As I clung to the rock face about four feet above the
very narrow trail below and a chasm on the other side, I reeled through my
mental database of how to solve the particular problem I faced. Suddenly it
dawned on me. I had two good foot placements and I was in a crouched
position (my hand holds were very sketchy). Stand up silly. I extended
both legs and suddenly new and solid hand holds appeared like magic. I'm
glad I'm not the panicky type, just a little stupid is all. Having overcome
that dilemma, I attacked the remaining rock faces with enthusiasm. Atop 3 I
rewarded myself with a PBJ sandwich which was suitably squashed for easier
on trail digestion. Some water and gorp and the descent down the Makapuu
face was next up.

The cables/ropes were OK until I reached one that was missing. No problem,
I got rope. I used a short loop I had previously prepared and strung that
through the bolt someone had left. I strung my rope through the loop to
double it up and dropped the two ends down the chute about twenty feet. I
probably could have negotiated the spot without the rope, but why not,
that's why I carry it. Having completed the drop I simply pulled one end of
the rope and got it back, leaving my loop for the next adventurer. I carry
carabiners, but didn't need it this time. Better safe than sorry is my
motto.

I almost took the last dive when a branch broke and I slid a few feet down a
wash directly above the proverbial precipice. I luckily saved my own life
and heard the sound of some girl screaming like an idiot. Women. No one
was around though so I don't know where that girly scream came from. After
a few minutes of rest I resumed my descent on a narrow ridgeline trail. I
was just here last week when I took my bike up from the Maunawili side Gov't
Rd. Just past two fence posts, one metal and one wood, I took the left down
the hill heading makai. The trail is ribboned (orange). I took my two
youngest kids (then 8 and 13) up that way a year ago and the trail is in
really good shape. Thanks again to Mr. Orange ribbon. Proceeded down,
down, down on a nice trail listening to loud, live Hawaiian music wafting
from Waimanalo below and to the right. Couldn't see any party down there
though.

Once near the bottom, my next quest, a LEGAL entry to this spot. Having
studied the tax maps of this entire area, I deduced that Ms. Wang (actually
the official maps on the State website says that a Waimanalo Corp. owns it)
owns the land from just East of the Waimanalo exit of the Old Kalani Rd.
Then the State owns a parcel, then the stables own the next lot. Therefore,
if I could find the entrance to the State lot I could sidestep the Wang
estate.

Being very familiar with this area, I nosed my way East toward the stables
following the many dirt horse paths down to a gated entrance to the stable.
No Trespassing signs indicated that I had reached the stable land. With the
highway right there, I knew that the State land was to my immediate left.
What the heck, it's fenced with barbed wire! I hopped it and found a trail
next to the fence. Two large horses watched as I invaded their (or the
State's) homestead. They weren't aggressive and let me be. I found a
culvert going under the fence and crawled through. I found myself next to
the speed limit sign on the Waimanalo side of the Waimanalo sign just past
the Old Kalani Hwy exit.

All 100 ounces of water gone from my pack, I just made it home in time to
relax and down a couple of Advils. I had dilly dallied and enjoyed the
views so much that it took me over 5 hours to do it. All in all, a good day
in Hawaii. Tomorrow, mountain biking down Waahila!!

sky 5/19/01

Thursday, May 17, 2001

Kulepeamoa, Kupaua, Kuliouou

In the fifth month, in the second year of the new millennium, Sir Jay Man
of Feld dreamed a prophetic dream. In it, he found himself wandering
along mountain trails in three regions. In his dream, some trails he
romped along had been established generations ago; others had to be
fashioned with brute force and strength. So taken was he by this sleep
vision that Sir Jay sent out word to disciples from the hallowed tribe
once dubbed the WEHOTS. And convinced of the veracity of the apparition
of the Man of Feld, the disciples agreed to accompany him on his quest.

And so it was. And so it will be written.

At the end of a Place called Kalaau in a valley called Kuliouou,
Jay and the summoned disciples gathered at a brown sign adorned with
bright yellow hieroglyphics, a holy shrine to a tribe called Na Ala Hele,
the keepers of the trails of the land. While facing the shrine, Jay and
the disciples prayed for guidance and wisdom, and a voice from the
heavens told them to go forth as one to the land called Niu and a
mountain ridge called Kulepeamoa. Thusly, in a holy (holey?) chariot,
guided by Sir Mike of Algiers, the annointed ones set out on their
quest.

Once at Niu, the band of merry men, and one merry woman, commenced the
journey. Let the venerated scrolls of OHE show that the men were Sir Jay
Man of Feld, Sir Mike of Algiers, Sir Jay Son of Sunada, Sir William of
Gorst, and the scribe, Sir Ka of Lama. And she of the fairer sex was
Lady Helene of Sroat. Ambling amiably in the forest, a motley and
madcap bunch they were.

Soon enough, the pleasant forest trail steepened, and the questers
languished and labored, perspiring in such quantities to sate the dry
stream in the valley below. But relief came eventually by way of a lovely
breeze-caressed copse of ironwoods atop a mountain called Kulepeamoa,
where the questers cast their bodies down to rest aching limbs, to sup on
sweet snacks, and to soothe parched throats. Far off to the south, they
spied the bluest of oceans, but, despite its alluring presence, it was
not there they were headed. It was north they needed to go.

Hastened by Sir Ka of Lama, the merry band recommenced its journey after
the pleasant rest in the ironwood copse. Over hill dale they
marched, searching for the prophesized place where they would depart the
mountain crest of Kulepeamoa. And less than a dozen hills northward
from the copse, they found it, in a sheltered dell between hilltops,
amongst sparse patches of ti and staghorn fern. For future questers,
Sir Jay Man of Feld affixed colorful ribbons to mark the way into a
valley called Kupaua.

Recalling his dream, Sir Jay revealed to his fellow questers a prophecy of
an ensuing battle in Kupaua. Thusly, all drew weapons of steel from
their back-borne sacks in anticipation of the impending confrontation.
And the Man from Feld was prophetic indeed, and the battle commenced, with
opposing combatants from the Guava and Christmasberry tribes felled in
great numbers. Miraculously, none of the questers were struck down, a
testament, no doubt, to the experience gained from many battles waged in
prior quests.

Sir Jay and the disciples battled their way to waterless Kupaua Stream,
leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Crossing to the stream's far
bank, they continued on, climbing unchallenged at times and jousting with
aggressive Guava and Christmasberry tribesmen at others. One by one, the
questers thrust their way through the enemy line, fighting a brave
fight to emerge atop the west ridgecrest of Kuliouou. The last to emerge
was Sir Jay, who proclaimed to all who would listen, "We have battled and
we have won." He marked the place of proclamation with colorful ribbons,
and he and his fellow questers sat down nearby under a lone ironwood to
for a celebratory feast of sausages, sandwiches, nuts, and sweets.
Sir Jay told of his longing for tortillas made from corn, but none were
seen or to be found.

An hour after noon, with bellies filled with food from the feast, the
questers arose yet again to continue their journey. Southward they
headed, then downward and leftward into a narrow cleft on a steep slope
covered with needles of ironwood. A short battle with a wayward tribe of
Guava brought them to a small stream, with stale pools of green water.
Sir Ka of Lama tossed a stone into the largest of murky pools and made
a wish: "I wish we were riddith of this forsaken place," he said.

"And we will be," said Sir William of Gorst, "once we mount the hill from
hell." And so it was set forth in Jay's prophetic dream, and so it came
to be. So upward they all went, the mounting of the hell-hill the goal.
Just like on the hills before it, one by one the questers reached the
apex, first Sir Jay Son of Sunada, then one by one the others, casting
their bodies down to rest and rejoice. "We are here!" said Lady Helene.

"Indeed we are," said the Man from Feld. "But there is one final test in
our quest: finding the fabled trail made by the lopper-wielding sorcerer
Wing of Ng. It is south from here."

So rousing themselves once again, southward they headed.

On a rocky hilltop, they found a magic ribbon tied to a vine. Looking
over the side of the mountain, they saw more ribbons tied to vines and
branches. Far below, they recognized the Place called Kalaau in the
Valley of Kuliouou and the shrine to Na Ala Hele where they had prayed
for wisdom only hours before. "Ahh, we have found it," said Sir Mike of
Algiers. "The fabled trail is no fable after all."

So down they headed, over rocks, over vines, past branches and trees laid
to waste by the sorcerer Ng. Whenever there was doubt about which way to
go, they found a magic ribbon pointing the way. "Follow me," the ribbons
beckoned, "follow me." In a trance, the questers continued along, down,
down, down.

Led forth by the magic ribbons, they then arrived in a dry stream
filled with a jumble of dead trees and flood-borne branches. The
sorcerer had fashioned a tunnel through this maze, making for safe
passage for the questers. "Thank you, Sorcerer Ng," they all proclaimed,
"you are not evil like some make you out to be."

The sorcerer's trail indeed led right to the shrine, and upon arriving
there, each one of the questers sat down near it to pay homage to it and
to give thanks for a journey successfully completed. Yet another feast
commenced, with Sir Jay offering cold drinks to appease thirst and sweet
cookies to satisfy hunger.

"A great journey it was," said Lady Helene.

"Agreed," echoed her fellows. "We shall do it again someday."

And so it was, and so it will be written.

Saturday, May 12, 2001

Maunawili miconia hunting

Like the last several months, Maunawili Valley was the venue for the
Sierra Club miconia hunt. We found none of the purple-leafed monsters,
but what I've found on these outings is that the fun is in the hunting;
finding, though the goal, isn't required.

We met at 8:30 at the community park in the valley. HTMers Charlotte,
Tom, Justin, and I were among the small group who showed up to search.
The husband and wife team of Joby Rohrer and Kapua Kawelo were the
coordinators for the hunt. Additionally, Sean, who works full-time for
the state as a miconia hunter, was on hand, and he provided transport
deep into Maunawili Valley with his state truck.

I had never been on the narrow, paved valley road past where the Maunawili
Falls trail begins, and it was interesting to see how well-kept it is,
what kinds of homes & structures are back there, what kinds of crops are
being grown, and how far the road penetrates into the valley (the road
becomes dirt and gravel after a mile or so). To give you an idea how
deep we got, Sean was able to drive all the way to the base of the large
powerline tower that is between the 4.5 and 5.0 markers on the
Maunawili Demo trail. From the truck, we were a 5-minute hike from the
demo trail.

Once on the demo trail, we headed in the Waimanalo direction for
about a mile until reaching a junction with Ainoni Ridge. In last month's
search, the one where I had an encounter with a pig in a snare, we had
done a pretty thorough job of covering the area between Ainoni and Aniani
Nui Ridges. So today, the plan was to cover as much as we could between
Ainoni and the main powerline ridge we had driven up.

To do that, we descended Ainoni ridge on a brushy but discernible trail
and after 10 or 15 minutes down, we began peeling off to the left to
descend into a large drainage. After a few others had peeled
down, Charlotte and I headed left down a spur ridge and began spotting
ribbons and pretty decent trail. Just about everyone on the hunt had a
walkie-talkie, and as such we all were able to monitor positions and
progress. Those things are great.

Charlotte and I passed a pile of trash on the ground, which included
several water bottles, a can opener, and a tupperware container
full of uneaten, moldy rice and meat. We also noticed a thick wall of hau
to our left, so we kept on the spur top, hoping that the hau barrier
would end to allow us to drop down to Ainoni Stream. Indeed, the hau did
abate, and we were able to descend to the stream, which we crossed to its
far bank. From there, we began working our way upstream on the slope of
the bank along pig trails through guava and around small patches of hau.
While doing this, I spotted above us what looked like a people-made
contour trail. Closer inspection proved this to be correct. Apparently,
this contour path was constructed during the building of the Maunawili
Demo trail and used by volunteers to access MDT around the 6-mile mark.
Tom and Charlotte, both who put in time in building the demo trail,
recalled using this contour route.

Today, Charlotte and I followed the contour trail, which after a bit
dropped down to cross Ainoni Stream and continue generally on its left
bank. We eventually caught up to Justin, who was making his way to
the left around a steep waterfall section, and Kapua and Tina (visiting
Nature Conservancy worker from Molokai), who were beginning to head up a
large ravine to the right of the one Justin was working on. Kapua, after
a bit, headed up a steep confluence similar to Justin's, while Charlotte
and Tina began scouring a larger one just to the right of Kapua's. Sound
confusing? Well, it was, unless you were there, in which case you would
have found that we had everything well in hand (at least, we thought so).

What did I do? Well, I headed up a narrow ravine to the right of
Charlotte's and Tina's. I followed the streambed at times, pig trails at
others, and no trail at others. When I reached a place where the ravine
split (this happened twice), I headed left each time, always trying to
remember why I was there (to look for miconia!). Where I went, I didn't
see any trash, prints, or cuttings, signs that a human had been there, but
I did see many signs of pigs, including trampled down vegetation that
looked only minutes old. At one point, I stopped to inspect a small
clearing of smashed down weeds. Interspersed in the leaves were coarse
shards of black pig hair. A pua'a bed? Probably.

Around 12:30, I finally emerged on the demo trail at a bend in the trail
about 100 meters 'Nalo side of the 5-mile marker. From WT transmissions, I
found out Justin, Tina, and Charlotte had reached the demo trail around
the 5.5 mile mark. Meanwhile, Tom, Joby, Sean and others were a good ways
makai and working toward my position. Tom eventually found his way to the
dirt road we had driven up in the morning and then walked up a mile or so
to the truck.

I found a nice shady spot under a trailside ohia tree for lunch and was
eventually joined there by Charlotte, Justin, Tina, Joby, and Kapua.
Everyone else found their way to the demo trail and the truck, and after
reuniting, we loaded up and headed back down.

On the way out, Tom directed us to a side road on the right where he had
emerged. He told us this offshoot was used by Sierra Club volunteers to
access the contour trail Charlotte and I found in the morning. The road
is now quite overgrown, but Sean's huge state truck was easily up to the
task. We may use this side road on a future hunt.

For those who've never done a miconia hunt, I'd encourage you to give it a
go, especially if you like exploring places few, if any, folks have gone
before. Maunawili's a huge valley and I'd expect there'll be a bunch more
outings needed to cover it.

--dkt

Thursday, May 10, 2001

Friendship Garden, Kokokahi ridge, Kawaewae

I started a month of vacation yesterday, and I decided to join the
Wednesday group (Solemates) for a hike on Kokokahi Ridge (aka Kawaewae
Ridge) in Kaneohe. This was convenient for me since I live a few minutes
away from the trail.

At 9:30, we met on Mokulele Drive near Dusty Klein's house and were
ferried over to Kokokahi Place in three trucks, one driven by veteran
Bill Gorst, who lives on Kokokahi Place adjacent to the Friendship
Gardens where the trail begins. Bill was kind enough to let folks use
the lua in his home, and many took him up on his nice gesture. By my
count, there were about two dozen people in attendance, including the
Solemate's organizers, David and Roger. Some familiar faces included
John Hall, George Shoemaker, Janice Nako-Piburn, Ruby and Joe Bussen, and
Gordon Muschek. Bill also did the hike.

The pace for the hike was laid-back, and folks seemed very intent on
gabbing and talking story as they moved along leisurely. Rest breaks were
often, and there was discussion about the heiau and industrial
buildings on the edge of Kawainui Marsh. Most seemed unconcerned by the
brief rainshowers that spilled down on us. The trail was in fine
condition, partly because the HTMC recently used it for an outing. Even
with the occasionally showers, the footing remained easily manageable,
with no mud at all.

>From the trail's high point, there are a couple of steep slopes to
descend, with ropes affixed as aids. A bit further ahead, at a low point
where the trail followed an old grassy road, I bailed on the main route to
take an overgrown trail I had stumbled upon once before. No one saw me
take this diversion, which was good since I didn't want to lead anyone
astray on a semi-bushwack. I had no trouble on the descent until I
reached a small grove of hau, which I had to twist and contort my body to
get through. After that, I continued to descend a bit more steeply,
finally arriving in a small, narrow gulley. I followed a faint swath,
making my way along what seemed to me as the best line thru the weeds and
vines. After a few minutes of that, the forest floor opened up, and I
recognized the area as one used for paintball battles by folks who enjoy
that pasttime. I continued on to an exit at the end of Lipalu Place,
then walked back through the Pikoiloa subdivision to my car on Mokulele
Drive.

I spent a couple of minutes talking with Moshe Rappaport, who grilled me
about the upcoming KST backpack. Though I wasn't trying to dissuade him,
my mention of the mud, the overgrown nature of the trail, and the need to
obtain water from streams seemed to do just that. I also talked briefly
with George and Janice, who had hiked out at the end of Kumakua Place,
the planned exit for the hike. After chatting with them, I headed
home for a shower, lunch, and nap--the latter being the most enjoyable of
the three.

Ahh, it's good to be on vacation.

--dkt

Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Twin Falls, Ching's Pond, Piilanihale Heiau, Blue Pool, Waianapanapa to Hana coastal trail, Venus Pool, Red Sand Beach, Oheo Gulch

Thirty-something of us--almost all members of HTMC--invaded the Valley
Isle for a couple days of hiking, swimming, eating, and having fun.
The weather wasn't always the best, but as Grant said at one point during
the trip, "Even with the rain and cold, it's better than any day at work."
Yup, he's right about that.

We flew to Maui on Friday morning (5/4), the majority doing so on Aloha
Airlines (better rates? dunno?). For ground transport, we used
two 15-passenger vans, a mid-sized car, and Mark Short's family van (Mark
is an HTMC member and recently moved to Maui). Getting all the bags,
gargantuan food supply, and bodies into the four vehicles was a
challenge, but we're talking about folks with plenty of experience
putting cargo--human and otherwise--into the right place. So no problem.

For the record, the trip participants (35) were as follows: Mabel Kekina,
Carole K. Moon, June Miyasato, Deetsie Chave, Bill Gorst, Carmen Craig,
Ralph/Bev/Michael Valentino, Jason/Cera/Kimberly Sunada, Kris Corliss &
Larry/Ginger Oswald, Gordon/Connie Muschek, Mark/Jacob/Dylan Short,
Joe/Ruby Bussen, Pat Rorie, Arnold Fujioka, Nathan Yuen, Thea Ferentinos,
Justin Ohara, Grant Oka, Joyce Tomlinson, Ken Suzuki, Mike Algiers,
Helene Sroat, Jackie/Jamie Delgado, Dayle Turner. A special mahalo goes
to Lynn Agena, who didn't make the trip but was the major mover in
purchasing and preparing the food we ate on the trip. Way to go, Lynn.

After figuring out what/who went where, we made a stop at Safeway in
Kahului to pick up lunch for the day plus snacks and other food items &
supplies needed for the next couple days. A few people grabbed some
burgers at a nearby Jack in the Box.

Our first hiking/swimming spot was Twin Falls, located at Marker 2 on the
Hana Hwy well past Paia. Anyone looking for this trailhead should have no
trouble finding it because of the tourist cars parked along the roadside
and a refreshment stand there as well. Many of the places we hiked/swam
began at trailheads with "Keep Out, No Trespassing" signs. However, most
of these same spots are well-known (based on info available on the 'net
and in books) and well-used (based on the stamped-down nature of the
trails). Whatever the case, the landowners seem not to enforce what is
said on the signs. As far as Twin Falls, a hike of 10 to 15 minutes
delivered us to a 30-foot cascade where about half of our entourage
took the first of what would be many plunges in the coming days.

Stop 2 was at Ching's Pond, a clear, pleasant swimming hole located on the
ocean side of the highway. I don't recall the nearest mile marker for
this spot, but I do remember it is several miles before Pua'a Kaa
Park. We ate lunch at Ching's Pond. Afterward we made the 100-foot
climb back to the highway, crossed it, and then headed mauka on a jeep
road to a pool Ken said was fantastic. Unfortunately, only a handful made
it to the pool (I didn't) to experience its fantastic-ness. Maybe next
time.

Stop 3 was at Puaa Kaa Wayside. No hiking here. Just a quick stop to use
the lua and to stretch the legs.

Our next stop was supposed to be Hanawi Falls, accessed via a trailhead at
the end of the road down to Nahiku. As would be the case during our trip,
plans changed often, sometimes minute to minute (okay, that's an
exaggeration but it seemed that way on occasion). So instead of Hanawi,
we drove on to Kahanu Gardens, home of Piilanihale Heiau, the largest in
Hawaii. We arrived after the 2 pm closing of the Gardens, but Mabel had
heard from someone that we could enter the grounds nonetheless, so that's
what we did. The Gardens are immaculately kept and feature a variety of
unusual trees like jackfruit and eggfruit. On the ~1-mile walk to
the heiau, we met some caretakers of the garden. They suggested a $5 per
person donation for our visit, but our negotiators whittled the total
down to $60 for the 35 of us and later to no cash and a few hours of
labor in the gardens at a future date. Hmmm, maybe $60 is the better
deal.

A bit about Piilanihale: it was built in the 14th century for the
benevolent, beloved Maui chief, Piilani. The site was overgrown with
weeds until the 1970s and is now a National Historic Landmark. The heiau's
dimensions are 415 x 340 feet. Huge and majestic.

The next stop took us on a short drive to the end of the road past
Kahanu Gardens. From there, we rockhopped along the coast for five
minutes to Blue Pool, a wonderful seaside swimming spot at the foot of a
vegetation-covered cliffside cascade. It was late in the day and overcast
during our visit, so conditions weren't optimal, but many of us took the
plunge nevertheless, including Pat in his spiffy, new wetsuit.

Waianapanapa State Park was our final stop of the day, and the cabins and
campgrounds there would be our homebase for the rest of our stay. We had
four cabins reserved for 24 (plus 1). Another six tent-camped at the
site next to the caretaker's house. And four stayed at a rental in
Hana town. Prior to the trip, we had all pitched in money for food, with
dinners (teri chicken & curry stew) prepared and eaten at a central
designated cabin. Breakfasts (eggs, sausage, hot cereal) were prepped
and eaten at individual cabins (with tent campers and the four rental
dwellers eating at a cabin of their choice). Sandwich fixings,
chips, fruit, and trail mix were made available to each cabin for
in-the pack lunches. It all worked out well. I was one of the tenters and
enjoyed the benefit of a quiet night's sleep, which wasn't necessarily
the case for those in the cabins (read: snoring). I had to deal with some
rain, with setting up and breaking down my tent, and with the half-mile
walk to and from the cabins, but these were minor inconveniences.

Day 2 (Saturday) was all about rain and dreary weather. But as hardcore
HTMC folks, we're undaunted by such conditions. After breakfast, we set
out in a light drizzle on the rocky coastal trail from Waianapanapa to
Hana town, a distance of about three miles. Along the way, we
passed a shack maintained by fishermen and a couple of older shoreside
homes with guardian dogs. Right before the homes we came to a dirt road
heading inland, which turned out to be the quick route to the road into
town. A bunch of us with a disdain for dirt roads continued along the
coast to eventually reach a black sand beach where we were able to
access a paved road leading to the road into town. A key turnoff en
route was a grassy road marked by a fishing lure hanging in a tree. A
pleasant surprise to me was that Jackie (my girlfriend) and Jamie (her
daughter) were able to stay up near the front of the group without
complaining since they don't hike as much as the rest of us. Good job to
those two.

We all were able to find our way to the road to town and ended up at the
Hana pier, where we had staged the vans earlier in the morning. We spent
time at Tutu's Snack Shop (pricey but one of the few games in town),
enjoying warm coffee, cocoa, ice cream, and whatever else we wanted. The
snack shop and pier sits at the foot of a massive 400-foot pu'u named
Kauiki. On the opposite side of Kauiki is Red Sand Beach, our next
supposed destination of the day. But the due to the weather and rough
ocean conditions, the plan was altered and the next stop was changed to
Venus Pool (aka Waioka Pool). A few folks didn't get wind of the
modified plan and attempted to hike around the seaward side of Kauiki to
reach Red Sand Beach. However, they discovered vertical sea cliffs made
this impossible, so they climbed up to the crest of Kauiki and down its
mauka side.

The trail to Venus Pool is just after mile marker 48 on the
Hana-town side of Waiohonu Bridge. A 100-meter walk brought us to the
pool, which features several rocky outcrops for jumping and diving. The
stars of Venus Pool were na keiki, Ginger and Jamie, who jumped off the
highest rock (~40 feet) several times each. While a few of the men
leaped from this high perch, most macho types (like me) did not (yup,
chicken). So hats off to the daring youngsters.

Our final stop of day 2 was Red Sand Beach, located on the southern side
of Kauiki. Reputedly a place frequented by nude sunbathers, Red Sand
Beach does indeed have red sand. What it didn't have on this day were any
nudists. In fact, members of our group were the first on the beach
thought after our arrival a few other folks arrived. Yes, we shed our
clothes. But no one shed all his or her clothes. Cera, perhaps wanting
to burn some excess energy, climbed partway up the steep slope
overlooking the beach. Way to go, Cera.

We returned to Waianapanapa after an hour at RSB, with most folks opting
to shower, change, snack, and relax. Mark and I decided to hike the
coastal trail to the Hana Airport, and this took us about an hour.
Along the way, we passed a couple of fishermen, a rocky terrace that
appeared to be a grave, and a benchmark stamped into a lava rock. A sign
on the trail directed us to the "Airport Exit" and the trail emerged at
the end of airport runway, unprotected by a fence or wall. As we stood
there, we saw a plane heading for a landing. We watched it touch down, do
a u-turn, and then taxi to the small single-story building that serves as
the Hana Airport terminal.

In about five minutes, Mark and I completed the walk to the terminal. The
pilots of the just-landed plane had already unloaded its cargo, which
included stacks of the Honolulu Advertiser and a box of pizza destined for
the Hana Ranch Store. We chatted briefly with the terminal manager, a
low-key Hawaiian bla-lah, who asked us how our hike had gone. After
watching the plane take off, Mark and I headed back to Waianapanapa,
meeting Jason and Pat along the way. The two-hour hike was a good
workout and relaxing at the same time--just what I needed to end the day.

On the way back, I heard Gordon announce on the walkie-talkie that dinner
would be ready at 6 pm. Noticing that it was nearing 5:30, I picked up
the pace a bit and decided against a visit to Waianapanapa Cave. Instead,
I picked up a change of clothes from my tent, and then hustled over to
the cabin where Jackie and Jamie were staying. I took a warm shower
there (that felt wonderful), changed, and headed over to the dinner
cabin for kaukau (leftover teri chicken and curry stew--ono!).

The dinner cabin was the gathering place for the 35 of us, with folks
partaking of relaxing libations, good food, fun games (uno), interesting
entertainment (highlighted by Larry's dancing and harmonica playing), and
animated conversations. I walked back to my tent at 10 p.m. and had
another quiet, restful night of sleep.

Sunday was the day we said aloha to Waianapanapa. The game plan: eat
breakfast; pack up our gear; clean up the cabins; group A would backtrack
along the Hana Highway to Nahiku to do the hike to Hanawi Falls; group B
would drive ahead to Kipahulu to Oheo Gulch for swimming and hiking;
Groups A & B would regroup at Kipahulu in the early afternoon then
continue on past Kaupo for a pit stop at the Tedeschi Winery in
Ulupalakua.

The above plan worked well. I went with group B, having previously done
the Hanawi Falls hike and wanting to stick with the J&J girls. The drive
from Waianapanapa to Kipahulu took about 30 minutes (Ralph did a
fantastic job of driving on the trip) and when we arrived
at the Oheo Gulch parking area, we were almost the first ones there.
Mabel suggested we head makai to the pools first and later head mauka. If
we flip-flopped the order, said Mabel, then the makai pools would be
flooded with tourists on our return. Made sense to me.

With J&J, Mabel, Cera, Carole, the kids, and others, I spent at least an
hour and a half swimming and taking it easy at the pools near the ocean.
A highlight was watching Carole jump off a rock into the lower pool.
This wasn't easy for her since she has personal demons associated with
rocks and water to reckon with. But she did it. Nice job!

Wanting some exercise, I shouldered my pack and headed up the trail into
the valley to Waimoku Falls. Ralph, Bev, Jason, Joe, Ruby, Deetsie, and
others had earlier hiked ahead. The trail was dry most of the way, and a
good deal of its upper section is a boardwalk thru a large bamboo forest.
Waimoku, a 400-footer, was impressive, and I spent a few minutes taking in
its beauty. I headed up the trail to the falls on the left before
Waimoku, and partway down I ran into Ralph, Bev, Deetsie, and Jason, who'd
visited the left-falls and were heading down. I turned around at that
point and hiked out with them.

Jason, on the way out of the valley, went off to explore a side stream
leading to a lesser-known waterfall. There he saw three pot-smoking guys
who shed their clothes for some naked swimming. Not surprisingly, he
didn't join them for a toke or a dip.

Meanwhile, Ralph, Bev, and Deetsie stopped at the top of 200-foot Makahiku
Falls for lunch. I joined them briefly and then headed back down to our
van, where I found that members of Group A had arrived after doing the
Hanawi Falls hike. After another half hour of resting and eating lunch,
we all boarded our vehicles--now three vans and a car--to drive on the
rought road to Kaupo then Tedeschi Winery. Several miles past Kaupo, at
a bridge crossing over a rocky gulch, Carmen's van pulled over and Carmen
and most of her passengers deboarded for a middle-of-nowhere potty
break. In contrast, no one in our van felt the need to answer nature's
call. What's up with that?

The road on the way to Ulupalakua is dry and rocky, akin to the Makapuu
area on Oahu, but the roadway is narrower, rougher, and at times
meandering like a snake as if the road builders were drunk during
construction. In our van, a battle of the songs began, with the kids
singing a can-can tune and Carole and Jackie belting out the itsy-bitsy
spider song. The singers were having fun, no doubt.

We stopped for 45 minutes at Tedeschi, with some folks partaking of free
wine samples offered by the winery staff. We then drove over to Joyce's
house in Makawao, where we cleaned up for the flight home. After gassing
up the vans in Kahului, we headed to the airport for the flight home.

Jackie, Jamie, and I had reservations for the 7:25 Hawaiian Air flight to
Honolulu but we decided at the last minute to stay on extra day on Maui.
We grabbed a rental car, a room in the Maui Surf, and ate a sumptuous meal
of crispy chicken, 5-seasoning roast duck, and egg foo yong at a Chinese
restaurant.

On Monday, we ate at the hotel buffet (eggs and sausage!), then drove up
to Haleakala to spend the morning there. We stopped at the visitor's
center, where I inquired about open spots in the cabins in the coming
month, and among the open dates were some on the Memorial Day weekend.
Anyone interested should call up the visitor's center (572-4400) between 1
and 3 pm to check for open dates. We then drove up and parked in the lot
by the Sliding Sands trailhead (the road to the actual summit was closed
to vehicles). We cruised around the area, taking a ton of photos,
including many of the crater's interior, free of clouds.

After a half hour at the top, we headed back down, stopping at the
visitor's center one more time (lua break), then on down to Kahului Costco
where we dropped off five rolls of film for the 1-hour quickie service.
We then ate lunch (McDonald's), and drove up thru rustic Wailuku town to
Iao Needle, where we hiked around the paved loop trail, snapping more
photos as we went. For those who've never visited Iao, its significance
is well-documented, particularly as the 1790 battle site between Maui
defenders and the invading army of Kamehameha. So many warriors died in
the fighting that their corpses blocked the flow of Iao Stream, leading to
the naming of the area as Kepaniwai, literally "damming of the waters."

>From Iao, we drove northwest on route 340 (Kahekili Hwy) in search of the
trailhead of the Waihee Ridge trail. About a 20-minute drive from Wailuku
got us there, but since it was late in the afternoon, we didn't have time
to hike it. Maybe next time.

We returned to Kahului, picked up the photos at Costco (Jackie has 'em
now so don't ask me to see them), dropped off the rental car, and checked
in for the 6 pm flight back to Honolulu.

Things I learned from this trip:

--With a big group and spotty weather, expect plans to change often.

--The weather, especially in the Hana area, is a big factor in daily
  planning.

--The more walkie-talkies the better.

--Even with walkie-talkies, communication isn't a sure thing.

--Hiking leisurely and taking it easy has its place.

--I'll never go hungry with this group.

--I'll never volunteer to drive a van on the Hana Highway (so don't ever
  ask me!).

--Always bring duct tape.

Aloha and pau,

--DKT