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Thread: Hawaii Trails

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    Default Hawaii Trails

    Alright Dogwood, if you're hanging around, this is your day. (Or anybody else familiar with Hawaiian trails).

    If we took a 10-12 day trip to the Hawaiian Islands, what itinerary would you plan for us? Interested in backcountry, varied landscape, reasonable mileage for "average" hikers. Don't mind climbing, would love to safely see volcanoes, wouldn't mind some picturesque waterfalls. Cultural artifacts are interesting too.

    I guess we'd need to acclimate if we went to the higher elevations, and pack for chilly or frigid temperatures.

    Or maybe we should just sit on the beach, and go to Mt St Helens for the volcano tour?

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    No meaning to jump ahead of DW, but here are my favorite hiking/climbing memories of Hawaii:

    1) The Kalalau trail on Kaua'i; 23 miles r/t, I've done it a couple times as a long dayhike, also camped once near the end (11.5 miles). Gorgeous.

    2) Climbing both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa (both mid 13ers), both from the saddle; yes you can drive up MK, but we preferred to hike it from the Onizuka visitor center (named after the astronaut who died on challenger).

    3) Sleeping in the little cabin on the crater rim on Mauna Loa, you can book this through the Volcano NP rangers. Wow. "My God, it is full of stars". This might be the single most memorable thing in three visits to Hawaii.

    4) Hiking all over Haleakala. Literally it seemed like we hiked all of the trails. You can backpack here, but we just did a bunch of day hiking, all from the summit. We tried to see the sunrise from the summit, a very popular thing to do, but alas, it was completely socked in on our reservation day (yes, you have to reserve parking for this!).

    Unfortunately, Vol. N.P was essentially closed when we were there, due to high sulphur dioxide air levels, I guess this is not uncommon.

    One bit of advice we were given from those who had been many times, max out at 2 islands for a 10-12 day trip; trying to do 3 or more will require rushing and missing out on the best experience.

    Overall, I think we liked the Big Island the best over Kauai and Maui, the three I've been to. So many things to do, so many waterfall hikes, etc all over the place. I'll shutup now and let DW do his thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    1) The Kalalau Trail on Kaua'i; 23 miles r/t, I've done it a couple times as a long dayhike, also camped once near the end (11.5 miles). Gorgeous.
    N.b. overnight camping permits for the Kalalau Trail are highly coveted and absolutely required. Plan accordingly.

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    The view from crater rim on the Halemau'u trail on Haleakala is amazing. We just did a day hike to the rim, but the trail continues into the crater from there. Overnight stays are possible with permits. We saw many booming Silverswords and squawking Nene - both very rare flora and fauna. I posted about it here.

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    Note the covid travel restrictions, my sister flew all the way out and got turned around because her testing center was not accredited by them. Long flight for nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rdljr View Post
    Note the covid travel restrictions, my sister flew all the way out and got turned around because her testing center was not accredited by them. Long flight for nothing.
    Good point. I've pretty much already accepted that we won't be going anywhere in 2021 that involves air travel. We flew for 2 trips in 2020, but we had some strong reasons to proceed. 2021 will be different for sure.

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    I can see that I really must invest time in studying a map of the area. All these exotic place names are intriguing, but I have no context for absorbing the suggestions being made. As noted above, this trip isn't likely in the coming year, perhaps in 2022. So I have time to research and plan and dream - which is half the fun!

    Looks like I need to learn about reservations and restrictions and permits and island-to-island travel. All the logistical stuff.

    Thank you for the recommendations and reports!

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    I can see that I really must invest time in studying a map of the area. All these exotic place names are intriguing, but I have no context for absorbing the suggestions being made. As noted above, this trip isn't likely in the coming year, perhaps in 2022. So I have time to research and plan and dream - which is half the fun!

    Looks like I need to learn about reservations and restrictions and permits and island-to-island travel. All the logistical stuff.

    Thank you for the recommendations and reports!
    It IS indeed overwhelming, I remember my first visit to Hawaii... One little tip is to look at the "Hawaiian Alphabet" and it's use, basically 12 of the "usual letters" arranges into 2-letter syllables, basically all of the vowels (except Y) and 7 consonants (h,k,l,m,n,p,w). I found once we learned this, reading the names of things became easier plus easier to remember and they made some sense.

    One other aspect is the seasonal weather variations; on Kauai, for example, the south end is better in the winter while the north end is better in the summer. Maybe this is a good starting point, when to go; I've only gone in the winter, basically escaping from our cold. Hopefully Dogwood will chime in on the best time to go.

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    Eye will be watching and taking notes on this thread as I have the same interests and 2022 might be my year as well. ( need to celebrate a hurdle I'll be up and over).

    Colorado_ rob , could you elaborate a little more on number 3 please?

    Where's that doggone Dogwood when ya need em?

    Oh yeah ,HAPPY NEW !!

    Good by 2020 !!

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    I sent Dogwood a PM couple o' days ago. Several months ago, he had said he was done with WB, but I still see him posting now and then. Maybe he's on a hike somewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    Alright Dogwood, if you're hanging around, this is your day. (Or anybody else familiar with Hawaiian trails).

    If we took a 10-12 day trip to the Hawaiian Islands, what itinerary would you plan for us? Interested in backcountry, varied landscape, reasonable mileage for "average" hikers. Don't mind climbing, would love to safely see volcanoes, wouldn't mind some picturesque waterfalls. Cultural artifacts are interesting too.

    I guess we'd need to acclimate if we went to the higher elevations, and pack for chilly or frigid temperatures.

    Or maybe we should just sit on the beach, and go to Mt St Helens for the volcano tour?
    What I'd rec depends on the islands you'll be visiting, how'd you want to break up the 10-12 days, and HI COVID restrictions. Visiting HI so many different awesome activities exist. I suspect it will not be a hiking only 12 days? I know the least about trails on Oahu although when it was legal Stairway to Heaven was awesome for me. I suggest putting day hikes and possibly an overnight hike on the agenda while doing other things. You should get out on and possibly under the water too!

    Active volcanoes equals only the Big I. And, there are not always convenient places to see flowing lava when it is flowing.

    If it's your first time to HI don't bite off too many hikes. I suggest mixed activities like day hiking to sit on a green, red or black sand beach with rented snorkeling equipment or bicycling(actually you coast almost the entire way) from the Haleakala NP summit(10K +) starting after experiencing sunrise there in what might be near freezing gusty weather going to sea level.


    "One bit of advice we were given from those who had been many times, max out at 2 islands for a 10-12 day trip; trying to do 3 or more will require rushing and missing out on the best experience.

    Overall, I think we liked the Big Island the best over Kauai and Maui, the three I've been to. So many things to do, so many waterfall hikes, etc all over the place. I'll shutup now and let DW do his thing."

    Actually don't shut up. This is all solid advice~!
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-01-2021 at 13:35.

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    I read this every week Rob. Ellison grew up in the same town I live.

    “Your vision is not limited by what your eyes can see, but by what your mind can imagine. Many things that you take for granted were considered unrealistic dreams by previous generations. If you accept these past accomplishments as commonplace then think of the new horizons that you can explore. From your vantage point, your education and imagination will carry you to places which we won’t believe possible. Make your life count – and the world will be a better place because you tried.”
    —Ellison S. Onizuka, June 24, 1946 – January 28, 1986

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I read this every week Rob. Ellison grew up in the same town I live.

    “Your vision is not limited by what your eyes can see, but by what your mind can imagine. Many things that you take for granted were considered unrealistic dreams by previous generations. If you accept these past accomplishments as commonplace then think of the new horizons that you can explore. From your vantage point, your education and imagination will carry you to places which we won’t believe possible. Make your life count – and the world will be a better place because you tried.”
    —Ellison S. Onizuka, June 24, 1946 – January 28, 1986
    Yikes, I just got verclempt..... literally tears welled up.

    I would definitely visit the Onizuka visitors center on Mauna Kea, not to be missed.

    Quick story: So, we wound up climbing Mauna Kea (on new year's day!) starting at like 1pm from the visitor's center, summitting at sundown (keep in mind, the sun sets early this time of year, maybe 5:30 or so), then hiked back down. IIRC, it's about a 3000' vertical climb.

    Anyway, when we got back to the Onizuka center, they were dragging a bunch of telescopes out for a star party, which was super cool. They had a 24" scope, pretty good sized! We even got to see Neptune's disk, plus lots of gorgeous stuff.

    So, by then we were exhausted and asked the ranger if we could just sleep in the parking lot, he said sure, just park your car in the very back. We did, stretched out our pads and sleeping bags and went to sleep.... About 3am we heard a MAJOR ruckus... sounded like 100+ people milling about the parking lot. We were behind the vehicle and couldn't see them, tried to get back to sleep, couldn't because of the noise. We finally got up and peered over the car; it was a couple tour busses of Japanese setting up telescopes in the parking lot! Another pre-dawn star party!

    Apparently, the Onizuka center is a pilgrimage for Japanese visiting Hawaii, honoring Ellison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    I can see that I really must invest time in studying a map of the area. All these exotic place names are intriguing, but I have no context for absorbing the suggestions being made. As noted above, this trip isn't likely in the coming year, perhaps in 2022. So I have time to research and plan and dream - which is half the fun!

    Looks like I need to learn about reservations and restrictions and permits and island-to-island travel. All the logistical stuff.

    Thank you for the recommendations and reports!
    I'd research books that focus on hikes specific to each island you'll be visiting rather than all of the HI islands. Choose some that appeal. Then ask here. ie; chunk it down. OR, start here. https://hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov/trails/#/

    I know Maui, Kauai, the Big I, Lanai and Molokai the most. Maybe if your nice I'll give ya a tour(if I'm on HI at the time of your visit), of the Kona area mac, Avo, and coffee farm I manage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    I'd research books that focus on hikes specific to each island you'll be visiting rather than all of the HI islands. Choose some that appeal. Then ask here. ie; chunk it down. OR, start here. https://hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov/trails/#/

    I know Maui, Kauai, the Big I, Lanai and Molokai the most. Maybe if your nice I'll give ya a tour(if I'm on HI at the time of your visit), of the Kona area mac, Avo, and coffee farm I manage.
    So much to think about Dogwood! And yes, I have to do a lot of research before I can even ask intelligent questions.
    Thank you for chiming in. I'll ask more questions as time goes on...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    ...

    Colorado_ rob , could you elaborate a little more on number 3 please?
    Sure... basically you can reserve the "summit" cabin through the volcano National Park (because the cabin is in the park). At the time (8 years ago), it didn't cost anything (I think!), but you do have to reserve a spot. I cannot remember how many people the place holds, 12 or 15 maybe? We owned it when we were there in January 8 years ago. Nothing in the cabin except bunks and a table to cook/eat (bring your own stove!).

    I put "summit cabin" in quotes because the true summit is all the way around the crater rim, something like 5 miles away, if making the true summit is important to you.

    There are two main routes on Mauna Loa, one from the main volcano NP area, but that route is very long, something like 21-22 miles each way.

    The "observatory" route is from the saddle of Mauna Loa/Mauna Kea, and is much shorter, 6-7 miles each way to the cabin. You will hear that rental car companies do not want you to drive the saddle road, not sure why, it is paved and just fine. we drove it anyway. This "rule" means the observatory trail is much less crowded than the long route. We saw precisely two people who shared the cabin with us in two days.

    "Cimbing" Mauna Loa is kind of unique because it is so gradual it barely seems like you're going uphill.

    Pic of cabin interior:
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    Thanks for all that rob i do appreciate it.
    Funny my minds eye pictured my own cabin with everything and a big deck with my own hot tub and drinking big colorful drinks with cool umbrella. Watching the stars. Or perhaps sipping some of Dogwoods coffee, which I love his descriptions of the beaches and snorkeling, biking and such. That is a trip for me .

    Illabelle sorry for hijacking or side tracking. I was actually going to start a thread on this soon myself.

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    There used to be a time when we used a travel agency for all this, is this still a thing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Thanks for all that rob i do appreciate it.
    Funny my minds eye pictured my own cabin with everything and a big deck with my own hot tub and drinking big colorful drinks with cool umbrella. Watching the stars. Or perhaps sipping some of Dogwoods coffee, which I love his descriptions of the beaches and snorkeling, biking and such. That is a trip for me .

    Illabelle sorry for hijacking or side tracking. I was actually going to start a thread on this soon myself.
    No apology needed. I don't even know yet what questions to ask. I welcome your participation!

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    "Sure... basically you can reserve the "summit" cabin through the volcano National Park (because the cabin is in the park). At the time (8 years ago), it didn't cost anything (I think!), but you do have to reserve a spot. I cannot remember how many people the place holds, 12 or 15 maybe? We owned it when we were there in January 8 years ago. Nothing in the cabin except bunks and a table to cook/eat (bring your own stove!)."

    You need an overnight permit to hike from ML Lookout to the ML Cabin to stay overnight. It's the same if only hiking to Red Hill Cabin along the way to ML Cabin. You don't reserve either cabin. You reserve a spot at the cabin.
    "I put "summit cabin" in quotes because the true summit is all the way around the crater rim, something like 5 miles away, if making the true summit is important to you."

    Many dont realize this. The RT is time consuming on assorted lava between ML Cabin and the true summit if either coming in from the ML Lookout TH, Observatory Rd TH, or Ainapo TH. There are other ways to ascend ML too but that's much less known.

    "There are two main routes on Mauna Loa, one from the main volcano NP area, but that route is very long, something like 21-22 miles each way."

    I prefer ascending from the ML Tr from the ML Lookout because 1) There's a roofed gazebo at the ML TH and rain squalls can be common at the TH with ML weather unpredictable. I've been snowed on every summer month on summit bids. 2) This trail is well graded 3) It makes one knowledgeable of how the trail begins with heavy tree cover some with flowers and how all flora disappears as the hike continues to higher elev. 4) It also allows a gradual acclimitization to Red Hill Cabin which can be utilized to break up the hike. a. This is important as nowhere other than if snow is found is H2O found anywhere on the way to the true summit or possibly until either cabin. b. it breaks up the elev. Altitude sickness can certainly be a problem ascending within a few hrs up to a 13K + elev with coming directly from the saddle from a beach front/sea level sleep spot the previous night! FWIW, I've summited ML 9 times. Every time I come across day hikers starting at the Observatory Rd TH that either are short or empty on H2O and showing signs of AS. Three times I've had to assist hiking parties back to the Observatory TH because of AS. ie; not everyone is coming from a possibly higher altitude as one living in CO. 5) This route is the most interesting with deep pits, views, different lava types, paint pots, colors, etc

    I prefer descending on unknown routes or the Ainapo Trail. There's a cabin on this trail again with a rain catchment system.

    "The "observatory" route is from the saddle of Mauna Loa/Mauna Kea, and is much shorter, 6-7 miles each way to the cabin. You will hear that rental car companies do not want you to drive the saddle road, not sure why, it is paved and just fine. we drove it anyway. This "rule" means the observatory trail is much less crowded than the long route. We saw precisely two people who shared the cabin with us in two days."

    The Observatory Route is boring with the other issues discussed. Both the RH and ML Cabin have H2O catchment systems and large H20 receptacles. Recent cabin H2O reports should be ascertained as a pre hike requirement if staying at either cabin. It should also be noted the higher elev of the Ainapo Tr, ML TR and Observatory TR are all in open sun with no shade.
    With my 9 summits in 6 different months the ML Tr from the ML Lookout has never had a full cabin. Tenting is allowed outside the cabins.

    Last time I summited(2 yrs ago) 2-3 spare sleeping bags each were permanently stocked for emergency at both cabins.

    "Cimbing" Mauna Loa is kind of unique because it is so gradual it barely seems like you're going uphill.

    Well LOL the Observatory TR is well graded and shortish compared to CO 13ers and 14ers.

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