Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hawaii Beach Hiking: Best of Both Worlds


Can't decide whether to take a tropical walk or spend the day watching the waves roll in? No problem. Do both, Brah! Some of the best walking in the Islands is along where the surf meets the land: sand beaches, tide pools, and ocean bluffs teem with nature, no to mention water sports that make for entertaining viewing. The trail is easy to find. Just face the water, and, unless your name is Jesus, go either left or right. But what's simple can turn difficult in a splash.

1. Stay well back of the surf line. Rogue waves take lives frequently in Hawaii. Keep your eye on the surf and stay above sloping, wet sand.

2. Since the entire shoreline of Hawaii is public land, a trail will always be along the shore, if at all possible. In remote areas, when rocks are encountered, look for sand patches left by the feet of people (often net fishermen) who have gone before you. They will lead the way.

3. On reefs, if wave action is present, stay back from wet areas. Waves snatch people from reefs more often than sandy beaches.

4. If you encounter cliffs or bluffs, look for a trail. If there isn't one, then the walk is probably not possible or hazardous. Remember: It's much harder to come back down a steep surface than it is to go up. And, cliffs in Hawaii are notoriously unstable.

5. At Waikiki, or other crowded beaches, be careful not to step on anyone. Chances are, they are covered in lotion and you will go down.

6. Barefoot is the preferred mode of travel. Watch out for Teva-like sandals that strap to your feet. Wet sand will chew feet to hamburger.

7. Carry flip flops for rough areas. If you find yourself shoeless in scorching sands, dig down just a few inches where the sand will be much cooler. You can then proceed some more steps without frying the feet.

All the Trailblazer guides list virtually all possible coastal walks, from beachcombing wild places to people-watching on paved resort strolls. You can review and purchasethe them at Trailblazertravelbooks.com