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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Waialua to Kaala to Dodge Ridge to Kamaileunu to Waianae -- Pat Rorie


Hike date:  22 December 2002.
Pete Clines and I did a monster day hike yesterday. For those who don't like to read long write-ups, I offer a short version of our trek followed by a longer one, filled with pertinent information.Short version:Starting from Farrington Hwy in Waialua, Pete and I climbed to the summit of Mount Ka'ala via the Dupont Trail, traversed Ka'ala, tramped along the spine of Kamaile'unu Ridge, dropped down to the floor of Makaha Valley via the ancient Hawaiian Kumaipo Trail, regained the spine of Kamaile'unu via a spur ridge some of us have dubbed "Fred Dodge Ridge" and then cruised down Kamaile'unu Ridge to Maiuu Road in Wai'anae. Total elevation gain on the day - 6,400 feet. The outing provided numerous rewards/accomplishments: we reached the highest point on O'ahu, we traversed the island of O'ahu, we enjoyed outstanding views most of the day, we had a great workout, we were exposed to a wealth of native flora while passing through the Ka'ala bog, and we experienced an exhilarating climb out of Makaha Valley.Longer version:The two of us met at the Waikele McDonalds at 7:40 am. From Waikele, Pete and I carpooled to the intersection of plantation road and Farrington Hwy in Waialua, where we continued on foot at 8:22 am. Sunday was a beauty weatherwise, but the day began with hardly any breeze.When approaching the ranch located at the end of the long semipaved plantation road, I noticed a woman feeding her horses. Instead of sneaking into the ranch or rapidly climbing the gate to avoid confrontation, I walked over to the lady and humbly confessed to not having a permit."Go ahead", she said, and added "It's a beautiful day for a hike".The wahine also thanked us for not blatantly entering the ranch, saying, "I certainly wouldn't jump over your fence and walk around in your yard without asking."To obtain formal permission to access Dupont, call Randy Paty at 637-7618.Despite the steamy conditions, Pete and I hiked Dupont in 2 hours 45 minutes and found the trail to be in good shape beyond the forest reserve boundary. Upon acquiring the apex of Ka'ala, we decided to eat an early lunch at the grassy tract outside the fenced FAA complex at 11:08 am. With phase 1 (the Dupont Trail) of the event behind us, we kicked back on the grass, consuming the midday meal while enjoying the hazy but good vista of the Wahiawa plain, Pearl Harbor and much of the Ko'olau Range, Leahi also visible far in the distance. Moreover, we were never told to leave during our stay near the fence.At 11:48 am Pete and I commenced phase 2 of our journey - a traverse of the Ka'ala bog and the descent from Ka'ala to the floor of Makaha Valley (4,025 ft to 800 ft).As Pete and I passed through the Ka'ala bog, I pointed out a few of the native plants that I know the names of (lapalapa, pukiawe, hapu'u ferns, ohi'a lehua, lobelia).En route to Three Poles, we gained pleasure from wonderful sweeping views of the Leeward Coast from Ohikilolo Ridge (featuring that prominent triangular peak) to Pu'u Heleakala, and passed three people descending Kamaile'unu Ridge. As we neared Three Poles, Pete and I felt the return of high humidity but also noticed that the trade winds had finally kicked in.During the descent of Kumaipo to the floor of Makaha Valley, we lost the trail and mucked around briefly in search of the main Makaha Valley Trail, which we located at 1:22 pm. Following a brief rest, Pete and I began heading makai along the valley trail in a thick forested canopy at 1:30 pm. Much to my surprise and delight, we discovered Makaha Stream to be flowing; therefore, we stopped to hydrate and refill our water bottles (I'm not sure about Pete, but I only had about 1 liter of water remaining for the rest of the hike). Hydrated and packing at least two liters of stream water, the two of us continued makai until arriving at the base of a spur ridge in Makaha Valley that connects to the normal terminus of the HTM Kamaile'unu outing.At 2:15 pm Pete and I commenced phase 3 of our trek - a climb of "Fred Dodge  Ridge" (800 ft to 3,200 ft). After mucking around the slopes of the spur, we emerged from the woods onto its open rocky spine and pushed hard for the Kamaile'unu crest. During the ascent, we enjoyed cooling trade winds and noticed a thick cloud bank engulfing Mount Ka'ala, as well as mid to upper Ohikilolo Ridge; a pretty rainbow appearing briefly, mauka of the spur ridge. We carefully negotiated the only tight spot on the ridge and used a rope Ed Gilman had installed earlier in the year to continue the climb. On the day Ed installed the rope, I remember him saying, "I wonder if anyone will ever use this rope!"Well, Ed, at least two humans employed the climbing aid and were glad it wasthere.At 3:34 pm I reached the top of Kamaile'unu Ridge and Pete joined me at the spot a short time later. We rested for almost twenty minutes - snacking, hydrating and taking in the gorgeous vista of the Wai'anae Range from Kolekole Pass to Palikea, illuminated nicely by the afternoon sunshine. Pete commented that the climb of the spur reminded him in many ways of the ascent of "Bear Claw" Ridge.At 3:52 pm Pete and I began the 4th (and final) phase of our journey - a 3.5 mile gradual descent of Kamaile'unu Ridge. On the way down we spotted numerous goats, including some sizeable billies equipped with long horns. While negotiating a steep section, I heard Pete yell in frustration. I thought he had injured himself, so I paused, turned around and asked, "Are you OK?""Yes. I just put my hand in some goat shit!" Pete exclaimed.Farther down, Pete's cell phone rang. A female friend was calling to find out if he wanted to go to the beach (the dude is a chick magnet). A bit punchy, I suggested in my mind that they rendezvous at crescent shaped Pokai Bay, which we could clearly see to the south. :-)A short distance above the heiau, we witnessed the sunset, and, ultimately, the two of us reached the trailhead on Maiuu Road at 5:57 pm. Timing it perfectly, Keith Palmer pulled up in his white Volvo almost as soon as we finished the hike and whisked us away.From Maiuu, the three of us motored to Waikele McDonalds where the pat-mobile stay (a big MAHALO to Keith for providing transportation on his day off), and then I drove Pete and myself back to Waialua to retrieve Pete's Honda Civic, cloaked in total darkness (but unscathed!), thus completing a superb Sunday outing.== Paka

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