Sunday, June 30, 2013

The easy way to Big Island's blue lagoon

At the north end of 2-mile-wide Kihilo Bay, Blue Lagoon is a luminescent streak of turquoise that is difficult to resist. The best way to get there via the signed Kihilo-Huehue trail is on page 65 of the Kauai Trailblazer guidebook. Once reaching the water most people wade the channel to the spit on the other side. You'll pass sprawling dollops of lava and brilliant blue inlets, sunbathing salt-encrusted large turtles and others gliding through the water.

The lagoon was part of a massive fishpond built by Kamehameha the Great in 1810, which was considered an engineering marvel by early Western visitors. Walls 8-feet high and 20-feet wide formed a deep-sea fishpond that was nearly two miles around. An 1859 Mauna Loa eruption, which created Lae Hou Point that you can see to the north, destroyed much of the pond.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Pokai Beach Park: Hawaiian Homeland

Pokai Beach Park has the safest swimming on the West Side of Oahu. Weekends bring a flood of locals with lots of huli huli chicken on the grill. In the late afternoons on weekdays, the bay is the training ground for outrigger canoe teams. The park was named for Pokai, a navigator among the first Tahitian voyagers who arrived as early as 200 AD. Full directions to the neighboring Kuilioloa Heiau are in the new 2013 Oahu Trailblazer.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Green with envy: Kauai's Kuilau Ridge Trail

Locals in the know head for Kuilau Ridge above Kapa'a on Kauai's Coconut Coast. It's one of several choices in the Keahua Arboretum (in the shadow of Mt. Waialeale, the rainiest spot on earth), and the arboretum area is just one among many choices for hikers looking for green immersion on the Garden Isle.

The Kuilau Ridge—about 4.5 miles roundtrip, with some 500 feet in elevation—is enough of a hike to feel like you've been somewhere, without a huge investment in time, or having to rub elbows with the throngs at other trails like the Kalalau. The lush greenery is mind boggling. The views are suberb. In a couple of spots along the trail, drop-offs are a hazard, but the route is not dangerous for adventuring families. A picnic pavilion in a clearing is perfect for taking a break. Find directions to the trailhead in your Kauai Trailblazer guidebook.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

News Flash: The new 2013 Oahu Trailblazer has arrived!

An all-in-one adventure guide for independent travelers, this new third edition of Oahu Trailblazer covers all of the island’s top attractions, plus the hidden spots that most visitors miss. Explore nature’s wonders and wild places, along with Oahu’s wealth of museums, aquariums, historic sites, outdoor markets, and parks. Trailblazer is with you every step of the way.

114 hikes: waterfalls, botanical gardens, ancient sites, ridgetops, valleys, rain forests, and miles of beaches, plus city strolls in Honolulu, Chinatown, Waikiki, the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, and Haleiwa on the North Shore.

37 snorkeling and swimming beaches, coves, and tide pools, including hike-to specials.

More than 100 surfing spots, both longboard and shortboard, bodyboarding, bodysurfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. Find the best beginner’s waves at Waikiki,White Plains, and Haleiwa or the famous breaks sought by pro surfers at Sandy Beach, Makaha, Sunset, Waimea Bay, and Pipeline.

This 2013 third edition of Oahu Trailblazer also includes…
Seven maps and more than 200 photographs and four-page color insert.

A Trailblazer Kids section for family attractions, picnic spots, swimming beaches,and easy hikes.

A Best Of section that helps you pick the right activity for the right day.

Handpicked resorts and rustic accommodations, and selected restaurants.

A Resource Links section with visitor information, public agencies, campgrounds, recreational outfitters, Hawaiiana shops, and galleries.

Strategies for visiting: planning your trip, getting around, safety tips, what to pack, and where to stay.

Internet listings for current travel information and events

Available on or buy in bulk or get an autographed copy at

Sunday, June 2, 2013

By Land, Sea, and Sky: Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge & Lighthouse

Kauai has some world-class outdoor wonders, but none more striking than the Kilauea Point Wildlife Refuge that hangs 200-feet above crashing waves on the north shore. On a given day (and using binoculars that are provided for free) you may see the who's-who of Hawaiian wildlife. Soaring above are tropicbirds, Laysan albatrosses, and frigatebirds, while waddling in the grasses are nene, or Hawaiian goose, the state birds. In the seas are breaching whales (winter months) and spinner dolphin, and hauled out on reefs are Hawaiian monk seal, an endangered species that is the only mammal (besides a bat) to be native to Hawaii.

Shearwaters and red-footed boobies nest in the cliffs and flit about on updrafts. As a bonus, you can take a gander at the historic lighthouse, which has been restored in recent years. Admission is low cost, and the vistiors center has eye-catchng educational displays, as well as many items that will complete the gift list. This is one of the top attractions in the state, and it seldom feels crowded.

Put Secret Beach and Kilauea Bay on your to-do list the same day. Directions in your Kauai Traiblazer.