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Big Island Hiking Adventures

Location: Kona Hawaii

Being active everyday is so easy here in Hawaii.  It’s hot, but it’s also windy so there is that built-in air conditioner.  We get up early everyday and run.  We have ridden the bikes a couple of times, and of course we are in and out of the water (both pool and ocean) all day long.

Hiking however takes a bit more effort, but we are using this time here in the islands to begin training heavily for what we hope will be an amazing activity in 2017.  Our goal is to hike the 500 mile Camino de Santiago in Spain in September 2017.  We have 14 months to train.  Plenty of time to be hike-fit.

So where better to start than the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii?

What we thought was going to be a simple excursion out to Green Sand Beach actually ended up being pretty tough going over some pretty rough terrain.  We saw young women trying to do

Black Sand Beach South Big Island

Black Sand Beach South Big Island

this hike in flip-flops.  I said to my husband “yeah they are gonna regret that when they are in their Fabulous Fifties”.  We on the other hand had hiking boots, lots of sunscreen, sun hats and our walking sticks.  We come prepared!

And still it was hard.  Very hot and humid and hard.  But we are glad we did it.  About six miles round-trip.

That same day we hiked out to Black Sand beach, a much shorter hike (2 miles round trip) but also pretty rough with a trail that seemingly disappears into the mangroves.  “Just keep going” a local said to us as we were headed to the trail head.  “Oh and you’ll have to wade through water at one point so I hope you have your slippers.”  We did have our “slippers” (flip-flops) and we made it to the deserted Black Sand Beach where we enjoyed a swim and some quiet time with

Lava trail to Keawaki Bay

Lava trail to Keawaiki Bay

the entire beach all to ourselves.

Our next hike was on my husband Arne’s 58th birthday.  He wanted to spend the day hiking.  He has found a great local website Hikes on the Big Island which has provided us some unique out-of-the-way ideas, including the hike we did to Keawaiki Bay.  The first mile of this hike was clambering over sharp lava beds and past the ancient Hawaiian “Kings Highway” to a secluded beach with a lone palm tree.  We then followed the beach over pumice stone as big as my head

Keawaki Bay

Keawaiki Bay

and eventually onto a white coral field beach where you could see nothing but giant white coral for miles.  We took a detour to view the Golden Pools of Keawaiki, where a unique and endangered algae grows that give the pools a golden color.

A few days later we drove to the farthest Northern part of the Big Island past the towns of Hawa and Kapa’pa to the Pololu Overlook at the end of the road. The few people who make it out here to this remote part of the island usually just look over and take a photo, but the hike was what we came for and it was so great.  Recent rain made the clayish trail pretty slick, but once you got the hang of it the half mile down to the beach was fun and scenic.  At every corner I had to stop and take another picture, convinced it was the

Polulo Valley

Polulu Valley

best view of the day.  The beach is awesome and great destination in itself, but we decided to continue on up into the lush green valley that was more reminiscent of Kauai than anything I have ever seen on the normally black and tan Big Island.  Our goal was the overlook of the Honokane Nui Valley but we didn’t quit get there.  The trail was very

Pololo Valley

Pololu Valley

steep with mud up to the tops of our shoes in many places and we had to give up.  But it was so beautiful and jungle like,  I felt at any moment I would encounter a gorilla in the mist.  I would certainly do this hike again.

IMG_0420

Warning sign at the trailhead for Captain Cook

Today we did our final hike on The Big Island as we fly to Maui on Saturday.  We got up very early today and drove up into the hills above Kono to the town of Captain Cook where we had a fabulous breakfast with a spectacular view at The Coffee Shack.  We then went to the trail head for the hike down to the Captain Cook Memorial 1500 feet below.  This trail is not maintained by the government, but locals try to keep it clear.  The sign at the top was a bit ominous and we had read on the website that it is very exposed so bring lots of water.  We came prepared with hats, sunscreen, water, Gatorade, hiking boots and in our packs our snorkel gear.

Going down was not as difficult as we had imagined – a bit rocky and you have to literally “wade” through grass much taller than I am.  But when you finally break out into the open it is really stunning the view of the ocean below.  The trail gets much steeper here and winds South to the monument for Captain Cook who was killed on this spot.  I won’t say much about him except the monument reads something like “in honor of Captain Cook who discovered Australia IMG_0411and these islands”.  I’m sure a lot of locals would argue different.

Anyway we made it and found a lovely spot full of tour boats who had come in from Kona the “easy” way full of tourists wanting to snorkel in this little bay.  We jumped in and snorkeled for a while, but really felt the snorkeling was better back at our condo.  After a rest we got back in our hiking boots for the trek back up to the car.

This was a tough climb.  Now nearly noon the sun was hot

First rule of hiking - proper footwear

First rule of hiking – proper footwear

and high in the sky and craved every bit of shade and drank every drop of water and Gatorade as we trudged back up 1500 feet in a mile and half.  I was soaked clear through by the time we reached our car.

Our time here on The Big Island has been very memorable due to these great hikes we have done.  I recommend them all – if you are in shape and if you have the proper gear, particularly the correct footwear and water.

Hiking is an awesome activity no matter where you are traveling.  Just always be safe first – the fun will come naturally.

Go. Be. Fabulous!!!

 

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