Sunday, March 20, 2011
Manana to Waimano
June 20, 1998 -- Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club
Leaders: Rorie and Turner
Club members : ten
The Manana and Waimano Trails get a good deal of hiker traffic in a typical year. The summit section between these two trails, however, is not often traversed. Back in 1998, Patrick Rorie and Dayle Turner began leading advanced-level hikes for HTMC. Manana to Waimano was chosen as the first of what would be twenty "super hikes" in a five-year span.
For this first outing, four members wanted to begin a little earlier than the rest so they met Turner at the Waimano trailhead at 6:30 a.m. and were transported to the head of the Manana trail where they began hiking at 6:45. It was raining in the mountains when they departed, but skies were blue over Pearl City and further makai so the group had hopes the weather bureau's prediction of brief morning showers followed by mostly sunny conditions would be correct. After seeing them off, Turner headed down Palisades and back to the end of Waimano Home Road where he waited for the arrival of Rorie and the others. By 7:50, all had assembled, signed in, listened to a prehike briefing by Rorie, and jumped in the hike leaders' vehicles for the ride up to Manana. The hike commenced at 8:10 a.m. under continuing gray skies.
The ascent of Manana went without a problem, with the cool, drizzly weather minimizing the need for water consumption. Two hikers (Geer and Ng) said they didn't drink at all until reaching the summit. As had been agreed beforehand, Rorie stayed with the front group of hikers while Turner manned the sweep. The leaders also maintained periodic contact via 7-channel, 2-way radios--great communication tools. Rorie and two others blitzed up the trail and by 11 all three had summited Manana, turned right on the crest, and advanced past Eleao and the junction where hikers often proceed down the wrong ridge.
At just past 11, Turner and Ng I were the last to complete the Manana ascent and waiting there were the rest of the group to begin the crest crossover section. The summit winds were blowing with moderate force but not as strongly as last week's 35-50 mph blasts during trail clearing/marking. As the group approached Eleao around 11:45, the cloud cover lifted for 15 minutes, allowing clear views of Waihee Valley below and Kaneohe Bay beyond it. Unlike the previous week (pre-hike trail clearing), today there was no going off on the wrong ridge because the leaders had heavily marked the go-astray junction at last Sunday's trail clearing. At least half a dozen pink ribbons presently mark this spot (courtesy of Ken Suzuki) and today Turner even planted a metal stake (actually a piece of a bicycle frame pump) as a more permanent marker so future hikers hopefully won't go the wrong way.
Past Eleao, clear skies gave way to socked-in conditions. And then came the rain accompanied by increased wind gusts. Wind-whipped rain in one's eyes while carefully negotiating the precipitous summit crest makes for interesting hiking conditions, to say the least. But all completed the crossover without a problem, Turner and Ng being the final ones to reach the Waimano terminus, arriving there at just past 1. Everyone else was waiting for them there, save for Sakae and Crimbring, who had reached the Waimano summit at 11:45 or so and continued on to the Waimano trailhead together.
After a lunch/rest break at the Waimano summit, the last of the group was Waimano trailhead bound at 1:30. Although long (7.5 miles), Waimano is gentle. Ng was in especially fine stead, hiking with great energy despite having pants that were ripped from crotch to ankle, a result of a gymnastics balancing maneuver on the summit crossover.
A few minutes before 5 p.m., Super Hike 1 of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club was history, with all participants completing the outing without injury or incident. Super Hike 2 will be Konahuanui to Olympus. Rorie and Turner look forward to leading another successful adventure for the club.
Other accounts of the Manana to Waimano hike: