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Thread: Hawaii Trails

  1. #21
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    I prefer descending on unknown routes or the Ainapo Trail. There's a cabin on this trail again with a rain catchment system.

    For those having the time or desire to experience HI Volcanoes NP more extensively or simply want to know what I like to do: I do a big HIVNP Loop starting from the Namakanipao CG (public bus will drop ya off, can be buggy with skeeters) hiking on a trail that parallels ML Rd or running the Rd to the ML Lookout, summit ML and descending on the Ainapo Tr. I connect with the Ka'u
    Desert Tr at Maunaiki. Stay at the Pepeiao Cabin(never met anyone there, kind cobwebby, it's built like the ML cabin) connecting to the Ka'aha Tr to Hilina Pali Tr to Puna Coast Tr to Chain Of Craters Rd. These trails along the coast are my fav in all of HIV NP with a stay at Halape mandatory(my favorite place to camp in the NP). Stop by the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs. Connect with the Naulu Tr. Hike the one way back and out on the Kalapana Tr if the lava viewing is good at the end of this trail. This is the East Rift Zone. It is not an area to take lightly! Connect with the Napau Tr with a night at the Napau Crater CS. This place is so sparsely utilized! The CS's are in 10 ft tall fern forests. Pu'u O'o is sometimes active and lava can erupt in a curtain here. Awesome to behold! Come out by Pauahi Crater near the Escape RD passing mostly ignored Makapuhi Crater. Hit up a walk through Turston Lava Tube and catch a public bus back at the Kiluaea vistors Center back to Kona/Kealakekua or Hilo.

    This takes me 5 days 4 nights. https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/maps.htm
    I could do it faster but like the Sierras there's so much unique wonderful eye candy to behold.
    For someone like CR he might like dedicating himself to a hike that starts in Hilo. Summits ML. Then, comes down by the saddle and then summits Mauna Kea and comes out through Forests Rds. No water is found on this hike. It's um rough.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-04-2021 at 14:55.

  2. #22
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    What maps and or books could y'all recommend?

  3. #23
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    Thanks for clarifying my poor choice of words on the cabins... yes, you get a permit for a bunk in the cabins... NOt the entire cabin!

    The reason I promoted the Observatory trail from the saddle is because of the limited time the OP has (10-12 days), and in fact that's precisely why we did Mauna Loa that way.

    I personally would LOVE to do a longer route, spending a couple nights.

    BTW, once away from the rather ugly trailhead, the observatory route was gorgeous in its own way, walking on that a'a lava, with Mauna Kea in your face (well, behind you) and that colorful vegetation poking its way through the lava and the multiple bright colors imbedded in the lava.

    If I remember correctly, doing the hike up to the cabin, then going around the rim to the true summit and back down to the trailhead was about 16 miles total. We did carry all the water we needed for the hike up, the night and the morning after at the cabin, the summit then the hike down. Probably 5 liters or so.

    But of course, given more time, a longer route would be the better choice.
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  4. #24
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    The reason I promoted the Observatory trail from the saddle is because of the limited time the OP has (10-12 days), and in fact that's precisely why we did Mauna Loa that way.

    Exactly. I get that. It's our cultural habits. I'm offering the potential cons without just the pros. In our haste to do things fast or perhaps in an inappropriate manner there may be problematic things we're overlooking. For example, I've experienced zero visibility not being able to view my hand in front of my face on ML including in white outs on the Observatory Rd Tr. If you're not going to prepare for a 13er overnighter do a different hike. It's HI with MANY great hikes.

    There's another con too! Day hikes require less gear especially in/on the mountains doing a 13K + overnighter. Who wants to ship a winter bag to HI on a HI vacation? For a shorter overnight perhaps one can buy the gear they need in Hilo or Kona at Academy Sports but good hiking outfitters offering cottage UL gear is not the HI norm. One might avoid extensive gear needs if they arrange a hike with
    Hawaii Forest & Trail at their Kona Headquarters. There're advantages to guided hikes like possible access to land and water only the guides have, culture, geological, flora and fauna knowledge as well as so many other oft forgotten assets a visitor likely does not possess.
    Last edited by Dogwood; 01-03-2021 at 14:07.

  5. #25
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    Something else to note when planning hikes in Hawaii is that the conditions are way different than the mainland. Expect many trails to be much narrower, steeper, and more slippery. You can hike on red, sandy clay, and with a bit of rain or mist, you'll feel like it's a slip n' slide, or, just as bad, your shoes will pick up the red slime and it'll feel like you're trying to walk with bricks strapped to your shoes. Some of those narrow trails are very knife-like and exposed if you have any issues with heights.

    The other consideration is the amount of crime and break-ins at trailheads. Absolutely don't leave any valuables in your vehicles. I'd say Hawaii TH crime is ten times worse than the lower 48. No showstoppers, but we learned the hard way that it's...different! It's been 10 years since I lived there, though.

  6. #26
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    "Something else to note when planning hikes in Hawaii is that the conditions are way different than the mainland. Expect many trails to be much narrower, steeper, and more slippery. You can hike on red, sandy clay, and with a bit of rain or mist, you'll feel like it's a slip n' slide, or, just as bad, your shoes will pick up the red slime and it'll feel like you're trying to walk with bricks strapped to your shoes. Some of those narrow trails are very knife-like and exposed if you have any issues with heights."

    True. For example, those described conditions exist in Kauai on the Kalalau Tr from the Ke'e TH to about the junction with the unmaintained spur to Hanakapi'ai Falls at Hanakapi'ai Beach(do NOT swim or wade here) can be wet super slick deeply rutted red clay that holds mud and water made worse with all the use as people attempt to pass on the sometimes narrow uneven ground. I've seen it in Wiamea Canyon SP/Ko'kee. When these conditions exist and as I've been starting at the Ke'e TH there are always Tourons returning to the TH to their rental cars covered in what resembles wet slick staining GA red clay from falling in the mud. Many of the waterfall hikes also have such trail conditions, including exposed slippery rocks and roots, and it correlates with people, largely tourists, who have their hurried unfocused minds not so much on safely hiking being injured around HI waterfalls each yr. It's similar to ignoring warnings about not hiking the Vermont Tr during mud season. I've been on unmaintained trails that are nothing more than game trails made by feral pigs that abruptly end at a thickly overgrown precipice. Most of the rock is not good for foot and hand holds in HI either. And, again, if not focused on expecting the unexpected or at least made aware of these possible conditions existing while also having our minds on our next activity...???

    However, other very dry conditions exist on HI trails as well that may resemble AZ low desert hiking including cacti, thorny plants, lack of water, cinder subalpine desert, etc. Not only does elevation play a role in conditions. Hiking in the rain shadow dry side of each island or the wet side or someplace in between affects conditions much like east WA state or OR high desert or the west wetter sides of these same states. Dont ignore this as it plays into different weather that not only affects hikes but other activities ie; Hilo Beaches on the Big I are being swept by rain yet Kona area beaches are sunny and dry...and its' a planned beach day. For example Halekala NP contains rain forested as well as DRY SIDE areas past Kipahulu onto Kaupo and Ulupalakua on Hwy 31/Pilani Hwy. Hiking down into Haleakala "crater" from the summit building down the "Sliding Sands Tr", and across it, past Paliku Cabin out Kaupo Gap and down to Pilani Hwy the consequences of variable weather and rain patterns becomes obvious. Expect some thorny plants and plants with needles that stick on shoes and socks much like in Volcanoes NP on the Hilina Pali Tr.

    "The other consideration is the amount of crime and break-ins at trailheads. Absolutely don't leave any valuables in your vehicles. I'd say Hawaii TH crime is ten times worse than the lower 48. No showstoppers, but we learned the hard way that it's...different! It's been 10 years since I lived there, though."

    IMHO also as Kamaʻāina, True again! It's worse at some TH's like remote one's or in noted unknown haoles or tourons not readily embraced areas. Car rental company's vehicles are obvious to locals and that's what local criminals focus. That's why car rental companies advise leaving cars and glove compartments unlocked and not be left with valuables. Travel companies and the state of HI do a dam good marketing job protecting HI's tourism industry reputation as paradise. This makes economical sense since, last time I checked, 85% of HI's GDP comes from the tourism industry.

    One more word about HI vehicle rentals since Colorado Rob mentioned earlier car rental companies don't want their vehicles on the Saddle Rd on the Big I or the dry side of east Maui. They dont want the long ride out there to service break downs OR they attempt to rent a 4WD vehicle that rents for much higher prices saying 4WD vehicles are necessary on roads like Hwy31/Pilani Hwy which unless a storm, tsunami or earthqauke has changed road conditions, isn't needed. IMHO doing a circumference Fig 8 of Maui or circumnavigating the BIG I or doing the "C" sahped road on Kauai on a road trip is a good way to note the differences between dry/leeward vs wet windswept sides that has an affect on pop centers, flora, current weather, wind speed, surface fresh water, wave quality, etc.

  7. #27
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    DW and CR,
    This stuff you're telling us about the trail conditions and crime and weather ... is valuable information. I appreciate you taking the time to explain things!

    I'm really surprised about the rental car break-in problem. You're right that Hawaii has a reputation as a tourism paradise, a reputation which I'm sure they work hard to maintain. You'd think that the local criminal element would understand that their economy would be terribly crippled without tourism. "Don't bite the hand that feeds you!"

    Something that hasn't come up yet that I remember is how the time of year factors into our decisions.
    Does the tourist crowd get extra thick during certain months?
    Does Hawaii have a real summer and winter, or a dry and rainy season, and does the season affect trail conditions in a significant way?

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    DW and CR,
    ..... Hawaii has a reputation as a tourism paradise, a reputation which I'm sure they work hard to maintain. ...
    So far my information (other than online) has been our Randy McNally 2020 Road Atlas and National Park Guide. It was a little bit funny this morning to read the following on the Haleakala description (emphasis all mine):

    "...That all these views can be experienced in the same spot is just one of this park's SPECTACULAR flights of FANCY. Haleakala is a volcanic WONDER of the world that emerged front and center on Maui, one of America's most VERDANT PARADISES. And ascending or descending Haleakala can be just as EXCITING as the view from the summit itself.

    "That's not all you can experience here. In another park section, just steps from the ocean at sea level but FAR FROM THE TRAPPINGS OF THE MODERN WORLD, a different NATURAL aesthetic is on view: a TROPICAL PARADISE of LUSH VEGETATION - including BAMBOO FORESTS, BANYAN TREES, and PALM FRONDS - all leading up to MAGNIFICENT WATERFALLS PLUNGING into DAZZLING POOLS."

  9. #29
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    "Does the tourist crowd get extra thick during certain months?"

    Winter time/cold conditions in the Lower 48 brings the tourists to HI just as it may to FL or Bahamas. At this time flights, HI accommodations, car rentals, sometimes food, etc go up. I never book flights at the last minute for winter arrival. Christmas in HI ona palm lined beach is surreal for a mainlander accustomed to cold weather east coast Christmas'.
    "Does Hawaii have a real summer and winter, or a dry and rainy season, and does the season affect trail conditions in a significant way?"

    YES! but not what you may be accustomed on the east coast. Winter months tend to be rainier but again elev and what side(leeward, windward, or someplace in between) affects these conditions. Big waves tend to hit north shores in winter. Sea kayaking to Kalalau Beach can be on calm like ponds in summer and a washing machine of swift currents, higher surf, etc in winter. Summers at lower elev can be HOT. Remember the HI Islands are remotely located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. When I'm in Kauai I'm closer to Japan than Cali.

    "Haleakala is a volcanic WONDER of the world that emerged front and center on Maui, one of America's most VERDANT PARADISES. And ascending or descending Haleakala can be just as EXCITING as the view from the summit itself."

    Yes. For someone on a more broader HI vacation than hiking if Maui is a destination descending the Sliding Sands Tr to Kapaloa or Paliku Cabin and out to the Hosmer Grove or Halemau'U(?) TH makes for a short mileage over nighter. Utilizing cabins or shelters in both Haleakala and Volcanoes NP's equals less gear to fly to HI. Astronomical clarity is usually awesome at these cabins or from the summit building which is why the summit of Halekala also has observatories much like Mauna Kea on teh Big I.

    "That's not all you can experience here. In another park section, just steps from the ocean at sea level but FAR FROM THE TRAPPINGS OF THE MODERN WORLD, a different NATURAL aesthetic is on view: a TROPICAL PARADISE of LUSH VEGETATION - including BAMBOO FORESTS, BANYAN TREES, and PALM FRONDS - all leading up to MAGNIFICENT WATERFALLS PLUNGING into DAZZLING POOLS."

    This is referring to areas like Oheo Gulch, the tourist labeled 7 sacred pools, and hiking to Waimoku Falls via the gorgeous but well traveled Pipiwai Tr(great bamboo forest rivaling that in Cherokee NC at
    Oconaluftee Island Park)
    with the TH accessed by paved road usually from Hana within a short walk from a NP CG that are quite a driving distance away from the summit area yet still in H NP. You used to be able to hike to the crest of 200' Makahiku Falls on a .5 mile spur but death after death of tourists being swept over the falls this spur is closed. I almost drowned here at the base of a different waterfall north of Makahiku Falls on Oheo Gulch Stream. BTW driving the Road to Hana from Kipahulu there's an abundance of day hikes. Might even glance a celebrity or two or 20.

    https://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

    https://santorinidave.com/best-time-to-visit-hawaii


  10. #30

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    Please remember to check on current Covid restrictions as you get closer to your trip. Currently, campgrounds and overnight Wilderness permits are closed at both Haleakala National Park and the Hawaii State Parks.
    Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt, and the forest and field in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.--Fred Bear

    www.misadventuregear.com

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maui Rhino View Post
    Please remember to check on current Covid restrictions as you get closer to your trip. Currently, campgrounds and overnight Wilderness permits are closed at both Haleakala National Park and the Hawaii State Parks.
    Indeed. This trip is not likely until 2022 or later. Just researching and dreaming at this stage.

  12. #32
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    I did the hike to the waterfall at the lower section of Haleakala NP as well as the 7 pools area. Very nice. Waianapanapa State park just before Hana is also nice. I did some rock scrambling on the coast there with inadequate foot protection and got a nasty sunburn on my ankles that almost ruined my trip. The whole trip to Hana and beyond is pretty spectacular. One interesting thing about HI is with the prevailing winds coming from the North, the north sides of the islands tend to have lots of rain and rough seas, which is not a good place for a 5 star resort since tourist want to relax in the sun on the beach and swim in calm seas. This you find on the rain shadow of the mountains which is why you find most of the big resorts on the south side. But the tourists also want the lush tropical atmosphere of the North. The solution is to build the big resorts on the south side, irrigate the landscaping all night, and build a big wall so you don't see the cactus covered lava outside the resort. It all seems very artificial, but that what big resorts are all about. The drive to Hana on the north side is a lot more genuine. If you do get to Hana, be sure to go to the Red Sand Beach. It is small, but still the most spectacular beach I've seen. Getting there is a bit dicey. Google it for current conditions.

    Also, this thread got me reading about other backpacking options. For more adventure, I read about a couple of unmaintained trails starting from the Paliku Cabin in the Haleakala crater. One is the Lau'ulu Trail to the Kalapawili Ridge (out and back day hike from the cabin/campground). The other is the Kaupo trail that goes from the crater rim to the ocean ( down only unless you want to hike back up a 10,000 foot valcano. I've not done either but they sound pretty epic from the trip reports I've read. Being unofficial unmaintained trails, you'd have to do your homework and go at your own risk.

  13. #33
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    The solution is to build the big resorts on the south side, irrigate the landscaping all night, and build a big wall so you don't see the cactus covered lava outside the resort. It all seems very artificial, but that what big resorts are all about.
    Remind me to stay away from the big resorts.


    Something I've neglected to mention is Pearl Harbor. I definitely want to visit. Much sacrifice, much respect.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    Remind me to stay away from the big resorts.


    Something I've neglected to mention is Pearl Harbor. I definitely want to visit. Much sacrifice, much respect.
    The resorts are fun for what they are. My wife and I went to a cocktail lounge in a resort lobby and ordered a rediculous drink overflowing with fruit and little umbrellas while watching the tiki torch lighting ceremony. It was fun.

    One other aspect of Hawaii travel I didn't anticipate is sunset. Due to its proximity to the equator, summer days aren't much longer than winter days an the sun drops straight down rather than lingering on the horizon. The result is it gets dark very early and very fast. One day we went into a convenience store to buy some sunscreen and when we came out it was dark. It was like someone just turned out the lights. I thought what good is all this beautiful weather when it's dark half the day.

  15. #35
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    "The solution is to build the big resorts on the south side, irrigate the landscaping all night, and build a big wall so you don't see the cactus covered lava outside the resort. It all seems very artificial, but that what big resorts are all about. The drive to Hana on the north side is a lot more genuine."

    LOL. I guess you've never been to the high end resorts on the west side of west Maui stretching between Lahaina and Kapalua. Kaanapali is world famous gorgeous. One of the most memorable sunsets I ever saw was looking west to Japan from a Kaanaapli beach at the time of the yr when the sun set between Lahaina and Molokai. Lahaina sunsets near the marina are fairly awesome as well made better with breaching whales and Spinner dolphins. There's a public accessed concrete and gravel path along the Kaanaapli beach that goes through the resorts sometimes referred to as the Kaanaapli Tr. Further on is the Kapalua Coastal Tr.

    https://www.westmauicondos.com/things-to-do/hiking-in-maui/kaanapali-beach-boardwalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    LOL. I guess you've never been to the high end resorts on the west side of west Maui stretching between Lahaina and Kapalua. Kaanapali is world famous gorgeous. One of the most memorable sunsets I ever saw was looking west to Japan from a Kaanaapli beach at the time of the yr when the sun set between Lahaina and Molokai. Lahaina sunsets near the marina are fairly awesome as well made better with breaching whales and Spinner dolphins. There's a public accessed concrete and gravel path along the Kaanaapli beach that goes through the resorts sometimes referred to as the Kaanaapli Tr. Further on is the Kapalua Coastal Tr. https://www.westmauicondos.com/things-to-do/hiking-in-maui/kaanapali-beach-boardwalk
    We were further south on the Maui coast, down by Wailea. Perhaps the difference there is more stark as Haleakala has a bigger rain shadow than the mountain on the north side. This Google Maps image shows pretty clearly the difference between what's irrigated and what isn't. We did enjoy a day at Lahina (I think we did the glass-bottom boat tour from there), but didn't stop at the Kaanaapali resort strip. One thing I observed is that while in the rainy areas it would rain almost every day, it was in brief scattered showers. I also noticed that the locals didn't seem to care about the rain. They would drive around in convertibles with the top down through the rain. We were there for two weeks and saw more rainbows than I would see in a year at home.
    hawaii.GIF

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