I wrote this post on 18 Nov
(Photo by Peter Clines taken
Five club members--Richard Fernandez, Roger Breton, Justin Ohara, Dave Waller, and Peter Kempf--joined me today for the 11th Super Hike conducted by the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club. While Super Hike X (Wahiawa Nui) covered the most distance (~17-18 miles), today's outing covered the least--maybe six or seven altogether. However, portions of today's hike were more hazardous than any part of the previous ten, and I can happily report that all of us made it up and around our course without casualty. I also will report that I will end my coordinatorship of HTMC super hikes after Number XX, which will be after the first quarter of 2003. I'm sure a willing and able member of the club will carry forth thereafter since there is no lack of gung-ho types in HTMC. New blood will be a good thing.
We started hiking at the end of Waianae Valley Road by the hunters' check-in at 8:25. Around the halfway point up the single-lane Board of Water Supply Road, we headed left on a trail through haole koa. This section was generally overgrown, and the waist-high grass we waded through was wet from overnight rain. But we hiked in good spirits and commented how the cool conditions were welcome, particularly in upper Waianae Valley which often is muggy and hot.
After about twenty minutes of grass-wading, we began climbing steeply and emerged on open ridge. At that point we enjoyed a nice view of the spread of the valley and also of the massive bulk of Kaala, which was cloaked in clouds. I was concerned about rain since wet conditions on parts of the ridge we had to traverse would make the going extremely hazardous. Fortunately, when the rains did hit later in the day, we had completed the most dangerous segments.
In my pre-hike briefing, I mentioned the hazard of falling rocks raining down on trailing hikers. And in many ways the small size of our group today was beneficial since more folks would have multiplied the chances of rock falls. As it was with our small contingent, rocks became dislodged inadvertantly several times, but thanks to attentiveness and good communication ("Watch out, rock!" or "I'm climbing directly below you"), we completed the steep climb to Kawiwi without mishap.
From cars to summit, the group completed the Kawiwi ascent in under two hours. However, I didn't let them rest at the peak more than ten minutes because I wanted to complete the dangerous dike crossing to No-Name Peak before rain hit. This crossing, as others who have done it will likely attest, is much more hazardous than the worst sections of Manamana or Kalena. And that's given dry conditions. In rainy weather, certain parts can become life-threatening, which was the reason for my eagerness to complete the crossing today before the weather turned bad, a very likely possibility based on the gray masses of clouds swirling around the summit of Kaala.
Making our way carefully, we hiked across, up, over, around, and through rocks, trees, notches, and the like. At times, we did balancing acts on razor thin ridges. At times, we contoured to the left or right of the ridge crest to avoid cliffy sections or steep drops. At times, we slid down chutes in the rocks. At times we climbed up and over cracks and rocky ledges. It was challenging but we all made it across okay.
When we reached the ironwood grove on the ridge, I announced that the worst was behind us. "The rest of the way to No-Name Peak will be like a sidewalk," I said. Well, it wasn't quite sidewalk-like and we still had to do some hand-over-hand climbing, prompting Roger at several points to ask, "So where's the sidewalk?"
We completed the climb to No-Name Peak at 11:40 and decided to eat lunch and rest there instead of at Three Poles, our previously-stated goal for our noon meal. It was at No-Name Peak that we all decided to pass on a climb to Kaala today since doing so would involve a steep, slick ascent to a summit with no views (and views are something we look forward to).
I should also mention that the hike was advertised in the club schedule as including a descent to somewhere on Oahu's North Shore, but I decided to nix that option to simplify pre-hike transportation logistics.
We had an enjoyable lunch and afterward descended the brushy trail along the ridge to the junction with the Waianae Kai Trail. On the way, I briefly investigated the trail that descends into Makaha Valley (this trail is on the topo map). I hope to head down this at some future date to explore upper Makaha, a goldmine of native Hawaiian plants, according to Ken Suzuki, a man who knows his plants.
It was at the junction that we decided to forgo continuing to Three Poles and instead head down the makai-ward Waianae Kai Trail. By this time, a gentle drizzle had commenced. The descent went well, however, despite the wet conditions.
Once we reached the bottom of our descent ridge, we opted to follow a rough trail in a narrow ravine until we reached a junction marked by a jack fruit tree. I had never taken this route before and enjoyed hiking along new territory. Initially, there were no ribbons in the ravine, but the further down we went, ribbons began appearing in greater frequency.
Arriving at the jack fruit tree, we paused to examine it and to take a rest. Justin told us the fruits on the tree were still immature (the fruits at this stage resemble breadfruit), and that fully grown jack fruit are much larger than the ones we saw today.
For more about jack fruit, see
From the jack fruit tree, we were just a five-minute hike from the end of the Board of Water Supply Road. When we arrived at the road, we met a (bird) hunter there. He asked if we'd seen any game birds. Nope, but we heard chukars in the forest below while up on the ridge, we said. Where had we come from? he inquired. He looked slightly stunned when we pointed out our route. Plenty of goats up there, we said. Listening to our remark, he didn't seem vaguely interested in ungulates.
Saying farewell to the hunter, we six headed down the road and in about twenty minutes we were back at our cars by the hunter check-in. Justin, as he regularly does, offered up posthike refreshments, which we enjoyed and thanked him for. After not too long, we boarded our vehicles and headed homeward.
Other kine stuff:
--Richard snapped many photos with his digital camera. I hope he will post these on the web for us to see. He has a nice website with pics posted at
--Some of the cheapest gas on Oahu can be had at a couple of gas stations in Nanakuli ($1.76 per gallon for reg unleaded). Not one to pass up a good deal, I topped off my tank on the way home.
--Roger reported that he did a backpack trip on the KST a few weeks ago. He covered the section from Pupukea to Poamoho in a day! Because of bad weather, he aborted his plan to continue to Kipapa and points beyond and instead came out via Poamoho.