Wednesday, October 5, 2011

NPR Interview: Hiking and Ecotourism in Hawaii

As the hot, humid days of October bear down on many island hikers in Hawaii, we can all look forward to the cooling winds and short bursts of tropical rainstorms that will start to cool things off in November. More snowbirds from the US mainland will soon be arriving in the islands for the winter season, and many will be hitting Hawaii's trails, from waterfall hikes and cloud forest rambles and volcano treks. 

So now is a great time to remember all those Leave No Trace (LNT) principles for reducing our impact on Hawaii's fragile natural landscapes and rare wildlife while we're hiking. Earlier this year, I talked with Hawaii Public Radio (NPR) about hiking and ecotourism in the islands, and what visitors need to know before they go exploring on foot. 

You can take a listen to our conversation archived here. Just fast forward to minute 17:00, please.

Got your own eco-tips for hiking, camping and traveling light in the Hawaiian Islands? Let us know by leaving a comment below. Thanks!

Related posts:
Hawaii NPR: The Conversation, February 16, 2011
Na Ala Hele: Day Use Trail Safety (PDF)
Hidden Hiking Trails in West Maui
Welcome to Top Trails: Hiking on Maui

Photo: West Maui (Sara J. Benson)

Friday, September 30, 2011

West Maui's Waihee Valley Trail Closed Again

West Maui's Waihee Valley Trail, better known as the Swinging Bridges Trail, is once again closed to the public. We'll cross our fingers that this trail will reopen again in the future. For the full story about the controversy, read Maui Time.

Photo credit: Sara J. Benson

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hiking & Backpacking in Hawaii: Free Eco-Travel Slideshow Talks at REI Stores

Have you been dreaming of finally taking that Hawaii vacation, but are afraid it's too expensive? Or maybe you're concerned about your carbon footprint and the eco-impact of yet another tourist at Hawaii's crowded beach resorts? Then here's the ticket to planning a more sustainable and affordable Hawaii vacation: go camping.

The very first time I visited the Hawaiian Islands, I was a broke 20-year-old backpacker who could barely afford the plane ticket from California. With my travel buddy, I camped my way around Maui, spending my days hiking in cloud forests, atop volcanoes and along deserted beaches on ancient Hawaiian footpaths. We ate guava straight from the tree, and though we had ambitions to do our own spearfishing, we settled for plate lunches and poi from local markets.

Not only was this one of the best trips I ever took, it was also one of the cheapest and most eco-conscious. That's what keeps drawing me back to the islands time and again, to live, work, volunteer and most of all, trek.

If you want to learn more about hiking, backpacking and camping all across the Hawaiian Islands, join me as I take my eco-travel slideshow talk on the road to San Francisco Bay Area REI stores during June and July. All events are free, open to the public (advance sign-ups online recommended; just click the links below) and start at 7:00 p.m. Hope to see everyone there!

June 28: REI Berkeley
July 25: REI Saratoga
July 26: REI Marina

Photo: Haleakala National Park (Michael Connolly, Jr.)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Welcome to Top Trails: Hiking on Maui!

Hiking may not be what most people come to Hawaii to do. But don’t let that stop you. Amazing trails crisscross Maui, from meditative coastal beach walks to heady treks high atop a volcano. Hidden in cloud forest, more trails lead to tumbling waterfalls, hidden springs, and groves of bamboo that rustle musically in the Pacific trade winds.

Back down on the coast, you can watch water spout through natural lava-rock blowholes and sea arches, take a dip or snorkel in ocean pools, and encounter deserted beaches to be savored in solitude. You can also wander across lava flows that feel primeval, examine ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs up close, or follow the King’s Highway that Hawaiian royalty once trod.

All this and more awaits on Maui’s hiking trails, most of which are easily accessible day trips. No matter where you base yourself on the island, any of the dozens of trailheads pinpointed in my hiking guide, Top Trails Maui, is at most a couple of hours’ drive away, and often far closer than that. It’s a hikers’ paradise.

Related Posts:
Hidden Hiking Trails in West Maui
How Not to Be an Idiot While Hiking
Our National Parks: So Wild You Should Sue?
Free Online Vacation Planner for Hawaii

Photo: Haleakala National Park (Sara Benson)