Saturday, April 18, 2009
This is my first hike with Oahu Hikers and Adventurers from Meetup.com and my first time to organize an event. I learned that the moment you want things to be perfect is the moment when everything goes wrong. First of all, none of our military friends who said they were coming showed up, and we had no way to get in the base without them. We were beginning to search for alternative plans. Luckily, a late comer from the air force arrived 30 minutes after the scheduled meeting time and he was willing to take half of the group to the trailhead. Just when we were about to leave, the eldest member of the group forgot his ID in his car, so he had to run back to get it. He pulled his knee in the process. He made a last minute decision to back out.
When we got to Foote's gate in Schofield Barracks, everything went smoothly and each passenger didn't have to show their ID after all. As we arrived at our destination, Laarni's car overheated and it sounded like she busted her water pump. Her concern for the return trip was postponed as we started hiking through the woods. The trail started off with a steep climb on muddy terrain. I would see families along the way, with the father carrying their infant child on the shoulders which I think is really stupid. One slip, one fall can end it all! Several minutes into the trail, the group nearly passed the legendary stone unnoticed. I brought them to a halt and had them look at the sacrificial stone that bore unusual carved forms.
After reaching the second fork as mentioned in the Stuart Ball book, we bore right with some hesitation. The book said we should be going downhill, but it was an uphill trail that soon ended with a lookout to the correct trail in the distance. We retraced our steps back to the fork and decided to disregard the book's directions. We took the left trail which led us to a meadow that provided us with the first breathtaking views of the majestic Waianae Mountain Range and views of West and Central Oahu. The sheer face of Puu Hapapa reminded Will of Pali Lookout but it was much grander in size. We actually spotted a group of hikers traversing the ridge, and from that moment, I was convinced that I would pay another visit and take on that route myself.
After enjoying the views, we continued on and enjoyed the protection of the eucalyptus trees towering high above us. Everyone ripped through the shaded trail with ease but we did come across a few eroded sections with loose gravel. As we turned right towards the ridge, the group began to split up as the slower half began to trail further behind. I had a difficult time myself, but luckily, I wasn't the only one. I admit that I used the slowest person as an excuse to catch my breath. When we got to the ridge, the nature of the trail reminded me of Puu Kalena, but not as impressively dangerous. At the summit of Puu Hapapa, we could see Puu Kanehoa in the distance. We intended to continue on to the next peak, but were impeded by the newly installed fence and overgrown vegetation. We had to cut our trip short due to this unfortunate circumstance, and it left me with the same empty feeling I get whenever I don't complete a hike. On our return, as we reached the meadows, we realized that one person was missing. Laarni along with two other guys decided to go back and find him. Luckily, the missing person was found, and we all went home safely.
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