Friends remember gentle warrior for the aina who died after fall from Oahu trail

Officials have identified the hiker as 61-year-old Nate Yuen.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 7:55 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:55 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Loved ones and friends are remembering a hiker who died after falling from a cliff on the Waimano Ridge Trail as a tireless, gentle warrior for the aina.

Officials have identified the hiker as 61-year-old Nate Yuen.

A search had been underway for Yuen, who was last seen on the trail Sunday morning. Yuen’s car was found near Pearl City High School on Waimano Home Road, which leads to the trailhead of a hike.

The Honolulu Fire Department said rescue personnel were notified of the location of Yuen by a volunteer search party and airlifted the body around 11 a.m. to a nearby landing zone.

According to EMS, the body was found on Tuesday morning roughly 100 feet below a cliff.

Wayne Tanaka, of the Sierra Club of Hawaii, was one of the dozens of people hiking for hours looking for Yuen. “So many people showed up,” said Tanaka.

“This was something that he would have done for any of us, at the drop of a dime.”

Tanaka said Yuen’s love for the islands poured through his work as a naturalist with the Sierra Club.

“He was so full of care for our islands, for the people here,” said Tanaka. “He had no fear, he didn’t hesitate to call out things like injustice, to call out threats to things that he loved.”

Family and friends described the 61-year-old as an experienced hiker who had a passion for nature and photography, going on a hike almost every week.

“Visitor or guest hikers that come on the trail, he’s always really willing to share his knowledge and his love of Hawaii,” said Grant Oka, who hiked with Yuen for decades as part of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club.

“I really admired him,” said Oka. “He was he was very artistic and so physically fit as well.”

Oka said Waimano Ridge Trail was one of Yuen’s favorite hikes.

“I often saw him hiking solo on that trail,’ said Oka. “Waimano Trail is a very well used trail, very well maintained up to a certain point, up to the Boy Scouts shelter.”

Meanwhile, Yuen’s family is still awaiting official confirmation.

Police said there are no signs of foul play and have opened an unattended death investigation.

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