Friday, January 4, 2013

Hiking Hawaii

With all the rock climbing cliffs on the island of Oahu currently closed due to liability concerns, we were forced to look elsewhere for outdoor activities during our Christmas visit. Watersports are the obvious choice in Hawaii, but what many don’t realize is the islands are lush with amazing hiking options. Jungle walks, coastal strolls, knife-edge ridge climbs and dormant volcano explorations make for a varied and engaging collection of adventurous outings.

At first blush, the hiking objectives may seem relatively non-threatening, but the climate is hot and potentially wet so packing properly is key. Sturdy shoes that can handle mud come in handy, lots of water is a must, bug spray for the forest can be a lifesaver, and lightweight, breathable clothing is necessary to keep you comfortable. Some locals wear pants for wading through thick brush, but my legs survived in shorts. I was glad to have my Aegility Shirts to keep me cool and protected from the sun, and all my gear fit neatly in the Neon Light pack - the perfect lightweight choice for hot-weather hiking.

Hikes that we did that I’d recommend were Ka’ena Point, a five-mile deserted beach walk from Kahuku to the Turtle Bay Hilton, the Kuli’ou’ou Ridge trail and the Moanalua Valley to the top of the so-steep Haiku Stairs. All were unique and we saw great terrain in varied parts of the island, including an endangered Hawaiian monk seal.

If you find yourself in Hawaii and enjoy getting sweaty in wild outdoor environments, be sure to throw in your hiking kit. And if the crags remain closed, don’t despair as there’s always the basalt bouldering at the back of Waimea Bay to keep your fingers in tune.

Marc Bourdon – Squamish, BC

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