Friday, May 29, 2015

Luxury sniking on Maui's Wailea Coast



'Sniking' is for adventure fiends who can't decide whether to spend the day hiking or snorkeling: You can do both at the same time! And you won't find a better spot to snike in style than Maui's Wailea coast, where a paved path meanders 2.5 miles past several high-end resorts  and a half-dozen sweet snorkeling beaches.


At the far (north) end of Wailea, the path (now the Eddie Pu Trail) continues past the little harbor at Kihei and through that town's trio of family beach parks—Kamaoles I, II & III. Kihei doesn't have the glam of Wailea, but's beaches are at least as good. 


A half-dozen Shoreline Public Access parking lots are squeezed in between the resorts (the Grand Wailea is top dog, but the Four Seasons patrons may argue that point). Ulua and Mokapu beaches are among the middle beaches. The easiest spot to park is on the south, at Polo Beach Park, which adjoins the Fairmont Kea Lani Resort. (Maui Trailblazer has details on where to park all along this coast.)


Gear for luxury sniking needn't be excessive. Flip flops are the shoe of choice, an alternative to barefooting the sand. A mask and snorkel are a must, and swim fins much preferred. The Wailea beaches are crescents separated by low-lying points, where most of the fishies hang out. And, a credit card is essential gear for adventuring inland for libation—one of the benefits for sniking on the unwild side of Maui.




Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Far Away on a 2-minute Photo Safari to Hawaii

This visual sampler is just an appetizer to the lifetime feast of aloha-style adventurtes that are presented  in the Trailblazer guides to the Islands. (Tip: view it full screen.)



 


To find an experience to call your own, buy one of our guides to the beaches, tropical forests, and cultural sites that make up Hawaii. Aloha awaits whenever you choose to come and find it.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Oahu's famous Diamond Head has an unrecognizable face



With a rippling green ridge that emerges from the skyscraper profile of Waikiki, Diamond Head is one of the world's iconic visions. Though it indeed sparkles, it was calcyte crystals and not diamonds that caused Bristish sailors to misname it in the early 1800s. The Hawaiian name is Leahi, because its shape is similar to the fin of a yellowfin tuna.


When making the one-mile, 550-foot pilgrimage to its summit, you won't know where you are until reaching the top to gaze down upon the Honolulu beachfront. What appears as a lush peak from Waikiki turns out to be the uppermost portion of an oval-shaped crater that is tilted at an angle. The crater floor is 350-acres of dryland scrub and parking lot, part of Hawaii's most poplular state park.


The oddball summit trail,  remnants of a former military installation, is a series of switchbacks, stairways, tunnels, and even a squiggle through concrete pillbox. The quirkly route is matched by the assemblage of daily visitors, ranging from fully equipped trekkers to the ill-prepared foreign tourist in platform sandals. The going is slow on narrow sections.



Oahu Trailblazer has tips on the best time to see Diamond Head, as well as lesser known hikes in the Honolulu region (like the kick-ass climb to Koko Crater).



Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Big Island National Historic Park that has it all---except lots of tourists


Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park covers several miles of coast just north of Kona, but most visitors don't find it.  A huge lava flow around 1800 covered what were King Kamehameha's agricultural gardens, but what remains offers a full day of fun for today's adventure seekers: good snorkeling, private beaches, shoreline trails, surfing, petroglyph fields, and a huge re-constructed fish pond. You'll also find (if you know where to look) a freshwater Queen's Pond in the middle of the lava flow, which is surrounded by rock mounds that are a mystery to anthropologists.


The southern entrance to the national historic park is at Honokohau Harbor, where you can also watch   deep sea fishing boats come and go in search of marlins.


A heiau (temple) and safe swimming cove, Aiopio Fishtrap, is very near the southern entrance.



So is a canoe hale, constructed using traditional materials and methods. The petroglyph field (which contains a rare etching of a rifle) is not far down the coast. The mysterious mounds and Queen's Pond are off the trail, about 1.5 miles up the coast. At the northern entrance to the park (drive or walk there) is Kaloko Pond, with a newly built lava-rock wall 20 feet wide and 750 feet long. Restoration of the huge fish pond began in 2006. Surfers love the break at this northern entrance.

The Kaloko-Honokohau Historic Park visitors center is reachable from the highway, midway between the north and south entry points. Check it out to pick up information, but you won't want to access the park from here: trails go across sun-scorched lava to places more easily reached from the other entrances.

Hawaii the Big Island Trailblazer has detailed driving and hiking descriptions. Be Aware: The park contains burial mounds and cultural sites, so take care not to disturb anything.








Friday, May 1, 2015

Trailblazer Travel Books: Medicine for the body & soul


A literal lifetime's worth of adventure awaits at some of the world's most beautiful and interesting places. Trailblazer guides are for the active and independent traveler, full of descriptions and directions to  outdoor wonders, along with historic and cultural sites. Have fun, and be fit and free!

Our guides can be purchased on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble or get an autographed copy at our website headquarters, trailblazertravelbooks.com