Tu Bu Pa'ina is making the move to join Oahu's oldest and most established hiking club, the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club, better known as HTMC. Their membership include the most knowledgeable people you'll find in regards to those secret, unheard of trails that exist on Oahu, as well as the Neighbor Islands. It really becomes a no-brainer to join their organization if you are enthusiastic about hiking as we are here at Tu Bu.
In order to join their club, you need to do three (3) hikes as a guest with them during a twelve (12) month span before you can apply for membership. So, I made the call to Mr. Wil Kawano, the hike coordinator for Kulana'ahane, a ten (10) mile hike in Moanalua Valley to a nice overlook of Haiku. Titled Kamana Nui on the HTMC website, Wil gave us the lowdown on the hike and what we needed to do, and looked forward to meeting us.
The first thing I noticed was the amount of people coming on this hike: LOTS of them. And the amazing thing about this was the majority of the hikers were members of the club. In fact, I noticed only two other names next to mine and Chinese Bu's name on the Guest List. What a positive sign about the club: active membership! The other thing I immediately liked was the amount of names I recognized at the briefing before the hike. There were many names mentioned that I had read about online from various sites, as well HTMC hike coordinators besides Wil.
Now, I'm the first to admit that I'm still trying to get myself back into reasonable shape so I can attack many of these trails. I must share with all of you, HTMC members consider hiking their religion. They are some of the best in-shape people I've met, they know historical facts about the hike, and they're extremely helpful. They are also alot older than me and Chinese BU, and I was quickly corrected when I kept using last names to address them. Always first names I was told with a laugh!
The hike itself starts out on a dirt road through the old Damon Estate in the back of Moanalua Valley. The best thing about this is the various historical sites you encounter along the road. I think the HTMC gang realized pretty quick that I was into that type of stuff and engaged me in conversation about stories of the valley and Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe. And one of the gentlemen (I forgot his name) was well versed in Sites of Oahu, and I had a great long talk with him about the valley.
After a two (2) mile walk along the road, you come upon a Na Ala Hele sign that marks the beginning of Kulana'ahane. You start crossing the left fork of Kamana Nui Stream multiple times, walking through an excessive amount of Hau tangle along the way. Of course we noticed the stream and got excited to find a good water hole to dip in. There were no good jumping spots, but there were decent dunking spots along the way. After all the stream crossings, the final challenge awaits.
It's not really that far in terms of distance, and I've done steeper hikes, but the final push up the mountain was tough. The main reason for that was because it was a muddy mess with not many solid footholds in several sections. I realized that I should've been ahead of everyone else, because you could tell that everyone had slipped as well and trampled the trail into mush. It just took a little longer than I thought, but it was still great to get to the top and enjoy the view. Everyone on top was happily enjoying their lunch, and gave me some smiles and thumbs up. Yes, I felt very special.
The return trip was honestly kinda boring. I did the whole butt slide thing down the muddy ridge. We took a dip at a nice little swimming hole at one of the stream crossings, cleaning all the excessive mud off the legs and body. We trudged back slowly, taking pictures of the various cool things we encountered, and talking story with more of the members. We ran into a pig hunter in a Nissan truck trying to find his hunting dogs. We got some great pics of the Petroglyph rock. And then we finally arrived back at the park, ready to wash off and head home.
Well, one hike down, with two more to go. We haven't decided yet which one to do next with HTMC. We'll look at their schedule and find another suitable one to jump on with them. Both of us appreciate the help we got from HTMC, and we can't wait to gain membership into this venerable club. See ya later and catch you on the next hike.
A Great View Of Pu'u Keahi a Kahoe
Hawaiian BU all tuckered out at the top with Haiku in the backPetroglyphs on the rock.