This morning, Pat Rorie, Laredo Murray, Pete Caldwell, and I met at the summit of Konahuanui, the high point of the Koolau Range. We did this as a tribute for Don Fox, a friend and fellow hiker who recently lost his life in an auto accident on the mainland. We reached Konahuanui via three different routes: Pat and Laredo by way of Lulumahu Ridge, Pete via Tantalus/Kalawahine/Pauoa Flats, and me from Manoa via Aihualama/Pauoa Flats.
In the 2.5 hours spent at the summit, we each drank, courtesy of Pete, a couple of swallows of 151 proof Hana Bay rum, a favorite celebratory inbibement of Don's, and, courtesy of Laredo, set off a rackety pyrotechnics display (on occasion, Don enjoyed firing off a bottle rocket or two from high mountain ridges). All the while, we were in the clouds with no views, but the whiteout didn't phase us nor dampen our spirits. And we probably would have stayed an hour longer if it hadn't started raining. In clouds all the way, we all descended together from the summit and spent another half hour talking story at the Nu'uanu Lookout. I said so-long to my friends when I reached the junction with Aihualama on Pauoa Flats and thanked them for a good hike and good time. As I drove home afterward, I realized today's gathering was just as much for us four as well as Don. We talked about hikes we four did together (Poamoho to Laie was one of the first) as well as odds and ends we've been up to lately (Pat, for example, told us about his recent trek up Mauna Loa). This is not to say we thought or said nothing about Don today atop Konahuanui, a special place for him. To the contrary, he was certainly with us as we rehashed experiences we had with him, especially Pete, who, among other activities, worked, hiked, and kayaked with Don. I read once that memorial gatherings "teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). Good words with a good message to reflect on. Aloha and mahalo nui to our friend Don. We will miss you, Brother. --dkt