Akaka Falls: A 422 Foot Waterfall Along The Northeastern Hamakua Coast

Ah the Big Island, the home of Madame Pele, spewing volcanoes, and larger-than-life waterfalls. Michelle and I recently set off on an inter-island adventure, escaping the hustle and bustle of Oahu and flying the forty minutes to Hawaii’s Big Island. Upon landing at Kona Airport, our plan was to drive an hour to Kohala to see the birthplace of King Kamehameha The Great. Persistent thoughts of red velvet brownies, however, quickly changed our plans and as soon as our luggage had been thrown into the trunk of our newly rented Ford Mustang, we headed straight to the Big Island Candies factory in, errr, Hilo. This was spontaneity at its best.

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Kahtoola MICROspikes and a T-Shirt

Kahtoola, the brand behind the popular MICROspikes, sent me a tee and some stickers. Thanks guys! MICROspikes were designed by Kahtoola as portable ice traction gear. Think lightweight and easy to put-on crampons. Considering these were made for icy terrain, why would I even mention this product on Exploration: Hawaii. Hawaii isn’t really known for snow, sure, but local hikers have adopted the use of MICROspikes when hiking the muddy terrain of the Koolau Mountain Range and other trails throughout Hawaii.

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Christmas Tree Hunting in Hawaii at Helemano Farms

On the mainland, it’s not uncommon for families to go to a Christmas tree farm to choose a Christmas tree to bring home and then decorate. In Hawaii, not so much. Here, we are usually stuck with whatever local stores have sitting inside Matson shipping containers. These are Christmas trees that are shipped to us from the mainland. SPAM is not the only thing thats coming to us from Minnesotta, our Christmas trees do too. So I was taken by surprise and became very enthused when I learned of a local Christmas tree farm that was just a thirty minute drive away. A tropical island in the middle of the Pacific … with a Christmas tree farm? Yep.

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Making House on the Waianae Mountain Range (WST Thru Hike)

 

Oh, mountain of our eyes, we’re calling you
Will you hear our cries, what will the poor boy do?
What will the poor girl do?
We’re coming to you

~ Patti Smith

What follows is an account of a three-day backpacking trip of the Waianae Mountain Range, one of the two mountain ranges on Oahu spawned by volcanic activity that formed the island about 3.9 million years ago. The Waianae Summit Trail (WST) as I’ll call it here is not really a ‘trail’ in the typical sense, since it traverses over military and privately owned land, involves several dangerous climbs, and certain portions are not even maintained or generally hiked on at all. It’s possible that these factors together may account for the lack of documentation on the WST having previously been completed in a single trip.

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