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Monday, March 28, 2011

Kahana Valley Super Loop -- Pete Clines

Hike date: September 2003
Here's a new super-loop!
Called Ed Gilman about the Kahana Valley adventure that I planned, and he ended up meeting me at the trailhead Friday morning.  As I posted this week, I originally planned to go up Pauao, along KST, down Waikane to saddle, and the return via the Waiahole ditch trail.  After looking at the topo maps, I got curious about following the Waikane saddle all the way to Puu Koele(sp?)- the peak behind Puu O'Kila on the same ridge.  From there we could work our way over to the club ridge that leads up Ohulehule.  Ed was up for it, and we set off at 8:50.
It took about 2hrs 40 min to summit on Pauao.  Trail was in good shape, and weather was agreeable.  As we worked along the KST, one of my boot soles detached,and the whole back half was flapping off.  Managed to tape it at the arch to prevent further slippage, but this slapping proved to be a hassle for the rest of the day.  No other problems along the KST, but plenty of photo ops due to the high cloud cover.  Even came across 4 campers with plans to stay at the Poamoho cabin.  When we passed them they were almost to the Schofield terminus.
Skipped the Kaaumakua summit due to time, and proceeded down the well cleared Waikane trail, stopping occasionally to enjoy the view and scan the upcoming ridges.  Followed it down past the switchback into Waikane Valley, and went a short distance down into the Waihole ditch trail.  When we realized that we were losing too much elevation, we changed into long pants to prepare for the bushwacking to begin. 
We began climbing, and I was soon happy to discover the remains of a trail along this narrow ridge.  Ed tied a ribbon at this spot.  We were able to make good progress all the way until the base of Puu Koele where the trail seemed to disappear.  I tried to climb up to the summit, but was stopped within ten feet of the top.  Very steep and exposed here, but worst of all, the soil was poor and handholds were ripping out left and right.  Ed backed down and was able to contour around this peak on the Waikane side.  I soon reached his position, and we did some steep climbing through dense uluhe to reach the ridgeline - just makai of Koele.  A narrow, up-and-down ridge proceeded to Ohulehule and so we followed it.  No trail at all, but we did come across 2 or 3 cables well buried in the vegetation.  No ribbons or other marks, though.  Must have been done long ago. 
I must thank Ed for doing the majority of the bushwacking along this ridge.  I was suffering from leg cramps from the previous high-stepping over thick uluhe, and in part due to my rapidly worsening boot.  This ridge was rough, especially the steep ascent at the end.  I was thrilled when Ed exclaimed that he hit the Ohulehule trail.  It took us over three hours to get here from the spot where we left the Waiahole ditch trail.  It was now 6:01, 1 minute past when I hoped to be back at the car(was supposed to drive my girlfriend to the airport - that never happened-oops).
Ed tied another ribbon here, and we had a quick rest before racing down the recently cleared trail.  Made good time coming down, getting well past the streamcrossing before the headlamps came out.  Crossed the remaining two streams and the dam in the dark.  Back at the cars by 7:30, 10.5 hours since we began.  Threw out my boots after many years of service.  Came home to eat big and sleep long, as I predict Ed did too.  
First time meeting Ed, and found him to be excellent company.  Also found out he is originally from Massachusetts like me.  Lots to talk about.

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