Day two of our Haleakala backpacking adventure started off very early for me. I had a hard time falling asleep between the symphony of snores and tossing and turning in my bunk. When I did fall asleep, it didn’t last for very long. I awoke just as the sun was rising, to the sound of John rearranging his backpack and Mike boiling water in the kitchen. For breakfast, I had one of Joel’s famous Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, hot chocolate, and some almonds. While preparing for the days hike, I made sure to apply some moleskin to some problem areas on my feet that I noticed the day before. By 9am, we were all packed and ready to leave Kapalaoa Cabin.
As would be the norm for the next couple of days, we left in separate groups. The first to go were Mike and John, then Bin and I Ting, with Ngoc right behind them. Allison, Joel, Janice, Ahnate and I were the last to leave Kapalaoa Cabin. After sweeping up the cabin, we set off for the short 3.3 mile trek to Paliku Cabin. The trail to Paliku from Kapalaoa is easy to navigate and flat for most of the way. However, I am so glad that we didn’t try to complete this portion of the trail the day before. One of the reasons being that before leaving Kapalaoa, I made some adjustment to my backpack, which made the hiking much more comfortable.
Again, I took my time with this portion of the trail, really trying to soak in the experience and take in the views. It took us a mere 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Paliku. The trail itself wasn’t very difficult since we continued to descend to Paliku cabin. As I got closer, and the cabins came into view, I could see Mike, Allison, Bin, I Ting, and Ngoc in the distance. John was wandering around the area and returned back with me and Joel. Janice and Ahnate were still on the trail. Evidently (fact: evidently is Janice’s favorite word), Janice was stalking some native birds for photos.
The previous cabin dwellers were still there, and so everyone in our crew relaxed at the picnic table outside of Paliku Cabin. While waiting, I set up my sleeping bag on the grassy area and relaxed under the sun. It was nice. There was a very friendly nene goose hanging out with us. He even waddled my way to say hello. Of course, the alcohol that we brought along kept everyone occupied. Little did we know, the previous nights occupants would leave us a little surprise to keep us occupied in the cabin as well. I’ll let it to your imaginative minds to figure out what the surprise was.
We didn’t get to enter the Paliku Cabin until about 12:30pm. By that time, we were all a bit hungry and eager to get some water filtered and drinkable. For lunch, I had dehydrated beef stroganoff. It actually wasn’t too bad, and was one of the dehydrated food packs that I honestly enjoyed. The rest of the daylight hours were spent drinking, talking story, laughing, and taking little naps. I also got into a “heated argument” with Janice in regards to which public high school on Oahu was better: Campbell High or Farrington High. Eventually, after minutes of senseless back-and-forth banter, I asked Janice to name one notable person from Campbell. She came up with a single football player. A single football player. I then asked her to name a governor that was a Campbell alum. Game over. Farrington won. John and I, both Farrington alumni, revelled in our supposed victory. And if you’re reading this, Janice, here’s a list of notable Farrington alumni on Wikipedia. Yes, we have a Wikipedia page for notable Farrington alumni.
After successfully debating the notability of Farrington High School, a few of us decided to venture off and explore a bit of the Kaupo Gap Trail. The Kaupo Gap Trail is a route that some people take, via Kipahulu, to access Haleakala crater. Many hikers will often hike Kaupo Gap and then hike out via the Halemauu trailhead. We covered a very short portion of Kaupo Gap, maybe about a mile or so. We hiked Kaupo with the intention of seeing the ocean, but it was a bit overcast and any attempt to do so would have been futile.
Upon our return from our short Kaupo Gap adventure, people decided that they wanted to take “showers.” In fact, Ngoc brilliantly packed along with her a portable shower system. Why didn’t I think of that? In retrospect, I could have just borrowed hers. While Ngoc chose to shower privately behind some trees, or something, Mike decided to get butt naked at the water station just outside of the cabin. He let it all hang out, so to speak, for all of us to see. I can now say that I have seen a naked German, in all his glory.
Another interesting aspect of this area is the nearby ranger cabin and horse stables, located just to the right of Paliku Cabin. There were no rangers present on this day, however, there was about 10 or so nene hanging around near the horse stables.Â I found the nene to be very friendly, however, Joel would probably argue otherwise. He claims that some nene attacked him as he was making his way out of the Paliku outhouse. They were probably offended by the human smells that he left in the air.
For me, Paliku Cabin was my favorite of the three accessible Haleakala cabins. The location of Paliku was indeed its greatest feature. It’s tucked beside the crater walls and is shrouded in rich, green scenery. It’s especially wet in this location, being relatively low in elevation. My recommendation is to wake up in the very early morning to catch the sunrise. I did this and I watched as the low hanging clouds moved brilliantly along the high cliffs behind Paliku and also toward Kauopo Gap. Paliku Cabin and the surrounding area is truly a magical place.
Day 2 By The Numbers:
Total Distance: 3.3 miles
Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Total Ascent: 126 feet
Total Descent: 990 feet
Day 2 Food Intake:
1 Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookie
1 hot chocolate
1 protein bar
1 beef stroganoff dehydrated pack
Almonds for snack