Monday, September 26, 2011

Maui Trailblazer "E"

Maui Trailblazer has joined the new e-book generation.  Print format, on your Kindle, Nook or e-reader device, it's a force to be discovered and enjoyed if you're planning a sun, sand and surf adventure to the famous as well as hidden attractions on Maui.

A guide for families and outdoor adventurers alike, Maui Trailblazer 2011 covers all of the island, and includes day trips to the neighboring islands of Molokai, Lanai, and Molokini.
Clear directions and concise descriptions lead to all of Maui's well-known attractions, as well as to hidden discoveries that Trailblazer readers have come to expect.

137 different hikes and strolls to tropical rain forests and remote valleys, coastal bluffs and lava caves, Haleakala crater and the Hana Highway, cascading waterfalls, beaches, ridgetops, towns, whale-watching perches, historic sites, and archeological ruins.

Among the 44 snorkeling spots are hike-to coves and the secret places that tour boats go.

Kayakers can pick from about 20 put-ins.

Surfers can select from 38 beaches and decide whether to boogie, board, or body surf. Onlookers will find the best places to watch the surfers, windsurfers and kite-boarders ride the big ones.

The text is complimented by 10 maps and 240 photographs. Driving tours-nine of them-take readers to all the attractions, natural wonders, and historic sites.

A Resource Links section provides numbers for free visitor information and recreational outfitters, as well as hand-picked accommodations and local restaurants to suit every budget and taste bud.

A Best Of section lets you pick the right activity to suit your mood and the day. Appendices include free hula shows, farmer's markets, what to pack, climate, history, fauna, and a Hawaiian glossary.

This new and completely revised third edition for 2011 includes a Trailblazer Kids section for adventuring families.

Buy from here and here for instant download and a fun packed vacation.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kauai's North Shore

Kauai's north shore is where the 1950s classic "South Pacific" was filmed, and its yellow-sand beaches and aquamarine waters have been luring tourists ever since. In the summer, calm waters are filled with snorkelers, while winter months bring waves to some of Hawaii's most underrated surfing beaches.

Bottom left of upper photo is the Wahina River, which drains the valley where the last of Hawaii's ancient people, the Menehune where counted in a 20th-century census. From there, the highway twists through a tropical arboretum, passing Lumahai Beach (of South Pacific fame), and reaching Haena State Park—site of beach-side camping and near Tunnels snorkeling beach. The Kalalau Trail along the Napali Coast starts a couple miles past Haena, where the highway ends.

Helicoptering over Kauai will give you the best perspective of the island's dramatic beauty. Blue Hawaiian helicopters is a good choice. When it's time to test the trails, the Kauai Trailblazer should be in your daypack.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Ho Hum, Another Day at Duke's Lagoon

Many visitors who seek quietude at Waikiki Beach walk toward Diamond Head and Kapiolani Park. No complaints there. But try going the other direction, toward Ala Wai Harbor. After dodging the flesh on beach towels in front of the resorts, you will come to the end of the sand—just beyond the Rainbow Tower of the beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort—and then the very swimmable Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon.

The large saltwater oval offers the best swimming on this end of Waikiki. It's named for Olympic swim champion and all-time surfing great, Duke Kahanamoku, whose family once owned the property on which the Hilton Village now stands. On the side of the hotel opposite the lagoon, you will also find a sweet shaded park that is named for the Duke. The feats of the Duke are legendary and he was on a first-name basis with every celebrity who visited Waikiki for decades. He once paddled his great hardwood longboard, called Papa Nui, to greet epic surf that was thundering offshore. The guy had to do it. Onlookers with binoculars watched as Duke faced the killer waves—until he saw the greatest wave of all and rode it for a mile or more, right onto the sands ow Waikiki Beach.

To find other walks around Waikiki and Honolulu - all the glitz plus the cultural sites, get a copy of the Oahu Trailblazer guidebook that has maps and more photos.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Camping on Lanai: A Side Trip From Maui

The best things in life are indeed free—or cost a big pile of money. No better example is camping on the island of Lanai, where the beach-front lawn of Hulopoe Beach Park is a short walk from the uber-luxury grounds of the Four Seasons Manele Bay Resort. Lanai is a short ferry ride (about ten miles) from either Lahaina or Ma'alaea on Maui. The beach park, featuring some of the best coastal camping in Hawaii, is about a quarter-mile walk from the ferry landing.

For a small fee, all visitors can use the hotel shuttle buses to visit the Manele Bay Resort, and also to hitch a ride eight miles inland to the pineapple town of Lanai City and the island's second luxury resort, the Four Season's Lodge at Koele. This beauty sits like an colonial plantation amid the historic Lanai Ranch and a 40-acre tropical arboretum.

Campers can snorkel with a dolphin pod that hangs out at Hulopoe Bay, or take a short coastal trail to Shark Cove and Sweetheart Rock, site of a Hawaiian village that dates for 900 AD (although all that remains of the settlement are the tales). Mountain Bikers can take a pedal on the Munro Trail, or Lanai's quiet backroads. You won't find traffic. Check out Maui Trailblazer, beginning on page 181, to plan a worthwhile adventure to tag on to a visit to Maui.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hanging with the I'iwi at Maui's Hosmer Grove

On this day, cold rain and clouds buffeted the 10,000-foot summit of the Haleakala National Park, but it only drizzled down lower in Hosmer Grove—home to the darlings of the forest, the I'iwi. The hook-nosed flit-abouts, also known as the Scarlet Hawaiian Honeycreeper, live on all the Islands (except Lanai, where pineapple ruled), and are healthy in number (more than a quarter-million), but other species of this hummingbird family are endangered.

Ranger John Hosmer planted the grove a century ago, and its nature walk is on the A-list for birders, especially since the Waikomo Ridge Trail and Supply Trail are nearby, offering more birdlands of native and exotic forest. For other trails in the area (you have plenty of choices) see Maui Trailblazer pages 153 to 160.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Maui's Iao Valley State Park

Iao (rhymes with meow) Valley State Park gets hammered with tour buses and can be a turnoff to those seeking a jungle adventure. To enjoy the place, you need to cobble together a series of attractions, beginning outside the park--which is only two miles from Maui's county seat in Wailuku.

Maui Trailblazer has the details, beginning on page 91. The heftiest hike in the area is Kapilau Ridge (up to 5 miles round-trip, with 2,100 feet of elevation), which passes the Wailuku Cross on the way up a skinny ridge with sea views. Just before the park is a sure-thing for families: Kepaniwai Heritage Park. The county park has an arboretum of banyans, palms, and mangos that shade recreations of buildings from the cultures that formed Hawaii's sugar cane culture. Next door to this park is the privately run Hawaii Nature Center, with a gift shop, kid's museum, and nature walks (around $30) that visit the stream where the bloody battle of the Iao Valley took place in 1790. Finally, also outside the park is the Tropical Gardens of Maui, whose lush acres also span the stream. Garden admission is priced right, about five bucks.

Iao Valley State Park has several short hikes, including botanical gardens, streamside trails, and the steps that rise to a kiosk to view the park's namesake, a 2,250-foot green spire known as the Iao Needle. Most visitors stop here, not realizing you can step over a railing to a trail that leads up past the Needle to a narrow ridge that is one of Maui's (and Hawaii's) most scenic spots. Reaching this spectacular spot requires only a modest investment of energy: 1.5 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 250 feet. The trail continues beyond the vista, following the route the fleeing warriors took in 1790 to escape to Olowalu Valley on the other side of the island. But this trail is badly overgrown and not recommended, even if Kamehameha himself is chasing you with a club.