In honor of Thanksgiving Day 2010, here is the story of an extreme hike completed on Thanksgiving Day, 2001 by R.B. aka Man Friday. Awesome accomplishment.
There was talk within the HTMC member ranks about doing a day hike the length of the Pali. So on this beautiful Thanksgiving Day, man-Friday decided to take the leisure stroll on his own. It should be known he attempted to solicit other HTMC members to participate, but alas there were no takers.Arriving at the hunter sign in on Pali highway man-Friday made the final preparations for the hike. At 6:05 am he did not expect to see anyone else there but to his surprise two hunters where signing in at the check in. Five minutes to gear up, lock the doors and say aloha to the hunters and MF was ready to head down the pitch-dark old Pali road towards the Nuuanu Judd trail. On the way MF felt ice cold water dripping down his back on into his board shorts, but shrugged it off figuring it was just condensation on the outside of his camel pack bladder. Reaching the ironwood grove he stopped and checked his camel pack and sure enough the bloody thing had been leaking. Inspecting it in the blind revealed a loose cap, but since it was still dark MF had no way of knowing how much precious sky juice was lost. With that little irritant taken care of MF moved on but wondered just how much water was lost!
MF crossed the brook by the bamboo area of the Judd trail and proceeded up the winding contour. The trail was not difficult to make in out in the dark but care had to be taken least he trip over the many exposed roots. The connector was located to Nuuanu and the steady uphill grind began. After passing the rock face section, with the safety rope, MF noticed the trail had recently received a thorough work over by pigs. He could not believe that there was pig damage to the trail all the way to the switch back overlooking Pauoa valley. After that nothing interesting was observed on the way to Pauoa flats.A quick H2O break at the flats and MF was on his way to Puu Konahuanui (K2). It was still early with little or no wind and K2 was socked in. MF decided not to carry his usual daypack but opted for a camel pack on this outing. This decision would allow MF to hike continuously without stopping to unscrew a water bottle cap every time he needed a drink. Also by taking sips every now and then it was hoped he would avoid hamstring and quad cramps during the long day.
Climb to K2 -- Photo by Waianae Steve
The only eventful detail concerning the ascent to K2 was the beautiful symphony being sung by four or five bird species. The music they played was quite lovely, so much so MF sailed up the trail to the tune of the birds and was at K2 summit at 8:10 am. Upon reaching the summit man-Friday was rewarded with a spectacular view of the Pali just as the sun was breaking through the morning clouds. The spectacle is difficult to articulate in writing or speech you really have to experience it and in so doing must admit, "There is a God"!
Konahuanui to Olympus section
The sun began to bake away the clouds as MF descended K2 towards Manoa middle. MF had done the crossover two years ago but forgot just how steep and slippery the initial descent was. No sense in trying to find a purchase on the way down, more like butt slide and hope you can hang on to something before crashing through the uluhe on the way down to who knows where. There are two difficult descents and MFs behind was getting sore quickly, plus his left arm was getting tired from hanging onto any vegetation he could clutch to slow his descent. Alas with the worst behind him he proceeded on only to encounter a new challenge. A portion of the cross over takes the hiker off the windward side and down a little to leeward where there is very little footing, or room for error. Well MF brought a ski pole with him that day and sure enough when he went to plant it nothing was there and off the side he went. Fortunately a stout clidemia plant was at hand which MF clutched for dear life. It was very steep and footing was nil so MF hoisted himself back up onto the so-called path with one arm, only to drop himself off the side again to retrieve his ski pole. With pole in hand MF proceeded onto Manoa middle without incident. It should be noted that the cross over was difficult for three reasons; very poor footing, sun directly in eyes, and absolutely zero wind. Anyhow MF made it to the middle ridge from K2 in 58 minutes. He had no idea if that was good or bad, but he figured the most difficult part of the hike was over.
Man-Friday had decided earlier if he could make it to Olympus by 10 am then he would exit out at Makapuu. With that in mind he set off towards Olympus. Initial travel from middle towards Olympus was pleasant as MF felt no need to hurry and besides this particular part of the summit was virgin ground for him. MF was amazed at how steep the drop offs were to windward, 100 to 200 verticles are common along the Pali. When MF arrived at the saddle with the small ironwood stand he contemplated as how to cross the thin rocky section just beyond. In so doing he took his eyes off the path and tripped off leeward (thank God) and was able to stop his fall by crashing into a small ironwood. Gee, he thought to himself, this hike is getting tough. Once past the saddle he spotted what looked like a trail about 10 feet below him towards leeward. Indeed it was, perhaps this was that Manoa contour trail he had heard of from other HTMC members? Anyhow the trail was over grown with uluhe, but in some sections cleared, so MF decided to follow it as far as it would take him. At one point it appeared a better idea to gain the summit ridgeline again, which he did, and then just before the final push to the Wa ahila terminus he dropped back down on the contour. The contour intersected with the Wa ahila trail a hundred yards or so and within minutes MF reached the junction.
Looking back toward Konahuanui from Olympus
Photo by Kaleo Lancaster
A burst of energy propelled MF to the summit of Wa ahila at 9:45 am and a much needed10-minute break was enjoyed. He ate a Kudos bar, squeezed the water out of his socks and thrilled in the views of Olomana and the entire Pali. MF had participated in this past summers super hike from Olympus to Makapu u and during that hike the group left Olympus at 9:05 and exited at 4:30 pm. MF felt confident he could finish the hike around 5:00 pm.
Refreshed physically and mentally MF set off to finish the hike. The initial going was not difficult racing up to the real Mt. Olympus summit and then past the two sets of power poles. MF was cruising along and looking forwards to the hard uphill scramble to Palikea or is it Kainawaanui. If youve hiked the summit ridge youll know the pu u, it is the one that starts past a small eroded bowl and man it is a heart pumper. Anyhow MF had the hiking pole and there is good purchase the entire ascent, but the hill is a killer by any ones standard! MF would like to change the name of the Pu u to heart attack hill! Really, he made the ascent and did not stop to take a break but continued on to the next puu and then ascended past a row of wooden electrical poles. While passing the poles MF felt a wave of fatigue hit him, as no doubt the prior ascent sapped his reserves. The sun was still beating down, and still no wind! He decided to take a break, eat a nutrigrain bar and hydrate. He also began to feel some cramping coming on so a set of hamstring and groin stretches where in order. After a 6 or 7 minute rest he continued on towards Lanipo at a reduced pace. The vegetation was getting thicker but the trail was dry so focus was on maintaining footing and balance. It was a fight to get Lanipo and when MF finally made it he took a healthy sip from his camel pack only to find it empty!
He did not linger at Lanipo but crossed over to Wailupe and praise God again as cloud cover had now moved in. This section was a breeze as the HTMC trail crew had been through just a few months before. MF arrived at Wailupe about 11:50 and decided to have lunch. Thank goodness he packed plenty of celery sticks and carrots, he would chew these slowly to draw the much needed liquid out. After eating a salmon/cream cheese sandwich and munching on the celery and carrots at 12:10 MF packed up and headed towards Pu u O Kona.
MF was a little concerned about running out of water, as he feared he would cramp up before getting to Kuliouou. About a month ago he had stashed 3 liters of water and 2 quarts of Power Aid at Kuliouou and knew he could gut it out until there, but the cramping was certainly on his mind. From Wailupe to Hawaii Loa was not that difficult, overgrown yes, but a steady pace kept MF moving along. In between MF observed a landslide, which took out part of the prior summit path, no problem as that section was wide enough to just step leeward of the slide to continue. On the way also MF observed two para sailors soar by one within 30 yards of him and at eye level. MF waved a greeting and told the sailor, "thats the way to move up here". The high flyer waved back but his companion ignored the earth bound sole!After Kulepeamoa the summit path turned outright SAVAGE, the path was completely overgrown and difficult to negotiate. There is a long descent through thick vegetation and the hiker can not see his/her footing so it is all guesswork. As would have it MF fell a number of times. After surviving the brutal descent MF would have to deal with the wall of green mass ahead of him. Although only waste high the vegetation was thick and strong, either that or MFs legs where fatigued and giving out. Every step was a push and drag; you would push through some greenery and at the same time drag some with you. Thank the good Lord again as the hot sun was blotted out with high cloud cover. MF was getting demoralized and tired. While pushing through he heard a pig squealing over and over but could not determine its where about. He knew the pig was leeward as he could make out a ridgeline running parallel to the summit. That ridge was very steep so MF surmised the pua' a had fallen off the steep face and was calling for help! MF felt like squealing himself but KW was insight and getting closer. MF thought to himself, "just push to KW and after that it is a freeway to the water cache!Hurray KW was topped out about 1:15 pm or so and MF put it into overdrive to get to the water cache at Kuliou' ou. Twelve minutes later MF was glugging down one of Gods most precious gifts to man, water. While replenishing his camel pack 4 hikers arrived up Kuliou' ou, these were the only hikers MF saw the entire day. The hikers asked MF where he came from and where do the trails lead to up here? MF told them, but also advised them a different set of attire would be required and bring plenty of water!At 1:35 pm MF refreshed and hydrated set out for Makapuu. Good news the desert was still under cloud cover and a trace of wind was forming. MF has done the Kuliou' ou to Makapuu segment before and under less fatigued conditions could realistically expect to complete the leg in 3 hours. As he moved along he wondered if there was enough fuel left in his tank to get him there and back to the clubhouse?
The first leg to Mariners went by in good form, 40 minutes, and on the way the wind picked up a little more. The sun peeped through the clouds for a few moments but after the cameo would not be seen the remainder of the day. MF recharged the camel pack at Mariners, as he had stashed another 1 liter bottle there just last weekend. Yes, MF drank the entire 1 liters he took from Kuliou' ou on the way to Mariners. Well he figured he may as well saturate with liquid before crossing the desert to Makapuu.
Shot from Mariner's Ridge summit
After the short break MF was off and hiking again and actually was feeling pretty good. The legs actually had some snap in them and MF was relieved he was no longer fighting the heavy vegetation subjected to earlier. MF topped out at the Tom-tom summit around 2:48 pm and never hesitated. Now the wind was picking up and MF was on home ground. The Makapuu Tom-tom trail is like MFs back yard, he hikes it regularly and some times jogs it! It felt good to be on home ground and MFs pace picked up. A decision was made on route to take a break at the usual HTMC ironwood lunch spot. MF arrived, drank plenty of water and consumed his last power bar. He lay back for a few moments but almost dozed off, cant be pulling a Wing here he thought, had to get out by 5 pm. With that thought in mind he picked himself up and set out for the Nike station.
The ascent to the Nike station is not really that difficult it was the next ascent to three poles that was on MFs mind. Up past the Nike station and past the para sail jump off mats and down the long descent on towards three poles. The climb up to three poles was ardouos and sapped whatever strenght was left in MFs legs. Just keep going MF thought, once you top out, it is all down hill to Makapuu. MF topped out about 4:15 or so and took a short water break. He couldnt sit on his favorite rock at that spot as two large wooden crates were plopped down in the middle of the trail. Appears the electric company will be doing work on the three poles, they must have been in a hurry to leave because whoever was there left a nice pair of leather gloves behind. Not being of thieving nature MF left all undisturbed.
Makapu'u Lookout: Hike's End
The final descent to Makapuu was without incident with MF reaching K highway at 4:44 pm. With no one to shake hands with or give a high five MF set out for the HTMC clubhouse 3.4 miles away. On route he ran into big John, who was riding back to town from the clubhouse. Big John was heading back from the traditional HTMC Thanksgiving Day dinner and expressed interest in MFs latest adventure. Big John told MF to get a move on if he wanted any leftover turkey. MF was more interested in getting a ride back to the Pali highway to retrieve his truck, but certainly was looking forward to both turkey and an ice-cold beer! MF continued the walk to the clubhouse and arrived about 5:45 pm and was immediately handed a beer by Larry. With beer in hand man-Friday called it a day.
HTMC clubhouse in Waimanalo
A word of thanks is given to all the fine HTMC members for clearing portions of the summit ridge to make the hike enjoyable and less taxing. Thanks to Kalalau Rich for giving MF a ride from the clubhouse to Pali highway to pick up his truck after the hike. Special thanks to Dayle Turner for sharing his knowledge of the trails and wisdom on hiking them. Mahalo to Grant and Joyce for saving MF a turkey plate from the thanksgiving dinner gathering. And of course thanks be to God the Almighty Father for allowing MF to share in his wondrous creation and granting him the physic to experience it.