Ancient Kumaipo Trail

November 14th, 2007

There is a trail that connects upper Wai`anae Valley with upper Makaha Valley.  It is an ancient Hawaiian trail that crosses a "low back" on Kamaileunu Ridge to connect the two valleys. There area a number of references to the trail such as the one on page 124 of "Place Names of Hawai`i" by Pukui, Elbert & Mookini.   I first used this trail back in the 1960's when I was introduced to wild boar hunting in Wai`anae and Makaha by my "local" friends.  The portion in Wai`anae has continued to be used by hunters and hikers, but the Makaha section was abandoned by most hunters.  During 2007 Dan and I talked about locating the Makaha section and  clearing it.

Do do this I went to my mapping software and took latitude and longitude readings along the trail (it shows on USGS maps) at each contour line.  These readings were then transferred to my Garmin GPS.  Once on the crest of Kamaileunu Ridge we used the GPS to guide us down into Makaha.  There were old cut marks on scrub trees and an occasional ribbon tied to a branch.  Clearly someone or some group has been using the  "ancient" trail.  Dan and I hung more ribbons.

We plan to come back during 2008 and clear the scrub brush/trees that block the ancient trail.  We will also put up more permanent markers to make sure the trail does not get "lost" in the future.

Here is a map of both upper valleys and the Kumaipo Trail connecting them.  The trail is marked w/yellow and red dots as these colors were used by the ancient Hawaiians in feather cloak.  When we put up the permanent markers we will use the same color combination to mark the trail in both directions.