Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snike Hawaii

Another beautiful day in Hawaii and another big decision: Snorkel or take a hike? At last the right answer: Take a snike.

Much if not most of the coast in Hawaii is accessible on foot, whether paved resort paths or coastal trails, both of which are connected by runs of sand. Adventurers can walk for miles and pause to take a dip in any number of inviting ocean pools.

The flip flop (called slippers in Hawaii) is the shoe to wear, easy-on for paths, rocks, and trails, and then easy-off to walk sandy stretches barefooted. Look for the heavy duty flip flop with agressive sole and arch (Teva, Reef, and others. Stay away from walking in strap-on sandals in the surf, since sand gets caught in there and causes abrasions.)

Carrying the fins will be a hassle, so most sniking is done with just a mask. Not having fins greatly reduces swimming power and therefore safety, so keep your sniking dips closer to shore and in calmer waters. At some wild beaches, a hiking pole helps in steep sections that can be slick after rains.

Of course, wear your board shorts or swimsuit. Women can wear a version of the board short as well, or use some lightweight shorts to cover up (if desired) in the hike sections of the snike.

Bring a regular daypack with all the usuals, especially sunblock, water, and hat. You'll want a place to clip on the flip flops (called slippers in Hawaii) during the sandy stretches. (If you are caught on hot sand barefooted, use a foot to scoop away six or eight inches of sand to the cool sand below.)

If you get a cut or abrasion on the tootsie, use a bandage or tape right away so it doesn't get worse. Cuts are slow to heal in the tropics.

Look for tips on the best places to snike Hawaii in future blogs!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hanalei Pier: Kauai's walk down Hollywood Boulevard

This view of the Hanalei Pier is taken from the far end of the beach from the St. Regis Hotel in Princeville—which is across a river mouth from the beach of Hanalei Bay. The river didn't stop godlike George Clooney and his movie family in The Descendants, who apparantly walked on water to confront the real estate agent at his beach cottage. The vantage point for this picture is the garden terraces above the river, where some of the Academy Award winning moive South Pacific was lensed (an easy, but hard to find stroll from the St. Regis). The terraces are home to a dozen concrete ruins being swallowed up by greenery after Hurricane Iwa in 1982 blew the development away. 

These kayakers are headed from the ocean up the Hanalei River. The pier, which was given a new roof and truss beams in 2013, has also starred in several movies, including comedy clunkers McHale's Navy and the Wackiest Ship in the Army, as well as the fine adaptation on W. Sommerset Maughm's short short Rain, which was called Miss Sadie Thompson in the film version. As Valentine's Day approaches, we are taking this opportunity to experiment with our iphonography techniques here in magical Hanalei. For more romantic escapes, you'll find a wide range of special places in the Kauai Trailblazer guide.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Maui High on Haleakala

The daily pilgrimage to the House of the Sun (Haleakala) begins creepy early, people leave Lahaina and Kihei at the crack of 3 a.m. in order to drive to the pavilion at Red Hill Summit to catch the sunrise. You freeze your butt off. Often enough, cloud cover or storms cancel the show.

Try leaving a little later when you can see the summit. And bring your big-boy hiking gear for a trek down Sliding Sands Trail into the vast crater (which technically is a eroded valley). It's easy to be sucked in by the beauty and hike father than you want into the hinterlands of Haleakala.  The homeward leg can be a ball-buster. The trailhead is at 10,000 feet. 

To really enjoy the moods of the volcano, and see a night sky that's a jewel box on black velvet, try renting one of three rustic cabins availalble from the National Park Service. People plan way in advance for these cabins, but you can often snag one at the last minute. We've hiked in with just daypacks with bedding in garbage bags. 

Another way to take full measure of this otherworldly land on pink cinder cones is to ride a horse. Several stables offer day trips. You'll see all you would on a two or three day pack trip.  Maui Trailblazer has details on visiting Haleakala, including a couple of trails that are off the tourist track and totally awesome (like the Skyline Trail).