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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Kipapa Windward to Manana -- Pat Rorie

Hike date: Sunday, February 9, 2003Ed Gilman and I had planned to do this trek a while ago, but bad weather or schedule conflicts kept it from happening until Sunday.Rendezvoused with Ed Sunday morning at the top of Pacific Palisades in Pearl City. From Palisades, we car pooled to Waiahole Valley and once at the Spencer property, continued mauka on foot at 8:15 am.Ed and I reached the base of the steep windward ridge dubbed Kipapa Windward in about 45 minutes via the graded contour Waiahole Ditch Trail. Following a quick hydration/pee break, up, up we went all the way to the Ko'olau summit. At the stacked remains of an old Army cabin near a grove of tall sugi pines, we paused to hydrate, and I switched into long pants.Upon acquiring the Kipapa summit (elev. 2786') via the graded contour Ko'olau Summit and Kipapa Ridge trails, the two of us removed our water stash from under an ohi'a tree and then loaded the bottles into our packs. Unfortunately, my water had decomposed, for it tasted like sewer water (yuck!), but I drank it anyway hoping I wouldn't get sick. Turned out Ed had plenty to spare. Shame on me for not asking Mr. Gilman for his surplus.Leaving the Kipapa summit behind, Ed and I began tramping south along the Ko'olau spine at 10:45 am into truly wild and remote terrain. Not only did we experience breathtaking views along the summit, but we also spotted a wealth of native flora, including a few trematolobelias in bloom.In about half an hour, the two of us arrived at the small ravine where Dayle, Peter Caldwell, Gene Robinson, Laredo Murray and myself once slept in our respective tents in October of 1997. A night I will never forget. To read about that adventure, click onhttp://www2.hawaii.edu/~turner/ohe/Oct97/mother.htmThe spot now shows signs of pig rooting.Pressing on, Ed and I hiked over the apex of the ridge separating north Waiahole Valley from south Waiahole Valley, a locale not far from the ravine. A short distance ahead, the whole of south Waiahole Valley (including its massive hanging gulch/waterfall chute) came into view, and we marveled at the sight of the sheer walls (most over 2000' high) encompassing this amphitheater valley. Unfortunately, looking leeward, the two of us identified a sizeable manuka forest on the slopes of Kipapa Ridge.Farther ahead, we discovered a broad region to leeward of the Ko'olau summit containing a stream bed (headwaters of north Waiawa Stream?) filled only with a couple pools of water (definately not flowing). Beyond this broad region, we traveled above a tributary of north Waiawa Stream as it bends around the base of a conical pu'u.Descending gradually, Ed and I passed through the former home of na pua'a. I remember seeing pigs (one the size of a large dog) moving frantically to and fro below us as Gene Robinson and I approached the "nest" in late May of 1998. Now all that's left is a tangle of alien weeds and a tall guava tree.Eventually, Ed and I arrived at the Waiawa Dip/Gap (approx. elev. 2100'), the lowest point on the Ko'olau Mountain Range between Waimano and Laie, getting there at 12:45 pm. With a significant climb forthcoming, we spent half an hour consuming lunch, relaxing and taking in the vista at the spot.After the respite, I led our duo out of the Waiawa Dip. This part of the trek was certainly a grind due to thick uluhe along the Ko'olau crest together with the elevation gain necessary to reach the Corner, a unique feature of the Ko'olau Range where the summit ridge suddenly bends sharply south after having veered gradually to the east, forming a corner on the topo map.Ed and I methodically tramped toward the Corner, but as I felt fatique and dehydration setting in, Gilman spent most of the time in the ram-rod position, without complaint. Nonetheless, when we caught a glimpse of Manana Ridge across upper Manana Valley, it seemed to give us renewed vigor to complete the middle leg of our journey, Kipapa summit to the Manana summit. Furthermore, at 3:20 pm the two of us enjoyed passing through the broad, windy, grassy region that is the Corner, and I noticed a small pool of water in a drainage a short distance below.Finally, much to our delight, we acquired the top of the Manana Ridge Trail (elev. 2660') at 3:45 pm and took a much needed break. Unable to stomach any more of my "sewer" water, I gladly accepted Ed's offer to drink some of his reserve.Hydrated and rested, the two of us enjoyed the windward view from the Ko'olau summit one more time, then commenced the last leg of our odyssey, a 6 mile ramble along the Manana Ridge Trail. Gilman led the way and set a brisk pace. Despite its propensity for ups and downs, Manana's obvious footpath and relatively clear route brought mental relief on a day when route finding and watching (quite literally) every step along the Ko'olau spine depleated a big chunk of energy, both mental and physical.The cool afternoon temperatures and the manner in which the sun illuminated the Ko'olau summit behind us made the open ridge walk of upper Manana fairly pleasant. I even recognized a lone gaudichaudii near the trail.After enduring rollercoaster action, Ed and I reached the helipad and paused briefly to hydrate.In the lower portion of the trail, we cruised along the open ridge (it felt like coming down the home stretch), several iliahi trees among an abundance of koa, followed by introduced pines and paperbark trees.In the eucalyptus forest canopy, the two of us met a pig hunter searching for a lost dog. When the local gentleman asked if we had gone to the summit, I replied, "Uhhhh, not exactly. We started our hike in Waiahole Valley."The hunter's eyes shot wide open, his face filled with a look of astonishment. "That's crazy!" he exclaimed.Upon bidding farewell to the hunter and wishing him success in finding his lost canine, I asked Ed jokingly, "Haven't I heard that expression before?"Soon the two of us arrived at the top of the paved watertank road, and returned to civilization at the top of Komo Mai (lit. "welcome") Drive at 6:40 pm as darkness began setting in.Notes:While I'm proud of what Ed and I achieved on Sunday, it is better to split this trek into two days by camping at the summit. Because we had to keep moving, I snapped only two photos, and Ed didn't even bring his camera. What a pity since Sunday was such a beautiful day.Having hiked the Ko'olau crest between Kipapa and Manana on Sunday, Ed Gilman has now completed all of the sane sections along the Ko'olau Summit Ridge. Congratulations to Ed on a superb accomplishment.

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