Desk jockeys, put down that dry cleaning and get inspired by your friends and neighbors. They make the most of Hawaii's giant backyard—and they want to show us how.
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Camping in Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden, Kaneohe.
Photo by Olivier Koning
It’s easy for some of us to get complacent about the beauty that surrounds us. We spend our weekends picking up dry cleaning and going to Costco, instead of trekking past kiawe, communing with reef fish or happily inhaling dirt on a rugged bike trail. Well, desk jockeys, put down that dry cleaning and get inspired by your friends and neighbors. They make the most of Hawaii’s giant backyard—and they want to show you how. We’ve rated how rigorous each activity is, so you can find an adventure suited to your adrenaline-level needs.
Photo by Ron Dahlquist
Enter the House of the Sun
Want to really get away from it all? The 24,700-acre wilderness at Maui’s Haleakala National Park may be the farthest you can escape from civilization—your cell phone won’t work, and even aircraft are banned from flying overhead. Accessible only on foot or by horse, two trailheads descend from the rim to the crater floor, winding between cinder cones, across lava fields and through misty shrub lands. Pack your tent or reserve one of three cozy cabins for a night; plan for extremes in weather, some high-altitude breathlessness and a 4- to 10-mile trek. 808-572-4400, www.nps.gov/hale.
Carve a Trail
Photo by Olivier Koning
Mountain biking is great exercise and a wonderful way to soak in views of mountain ranges, valleys and other places where there are no buildings. You can hike there, too, but biking enthusiasts will tell you that getting there on a bike is more fun.
First, you’ll need a bike. Skip Wal-Mart and buy yours from a bike shop. They’re staffed with passionate cyclists eager to help you get started with a dirt-worthy bike to fit your budget. Bikes start at about $1,000 for what’s called a hardtail, with bump-absorbing springs on the front wheel only, or $2,000 for a full suspension bike. The entry price may seem steep, but it’s worth it. “You’ll have a better, safer time on the bike,” says Stu Drake, assistant manager at The Bike Shop’s Aiea store. Drake recommends the Kona Caldera ($989) hardtail, or Specialized Pitch All-Mountain full suspension bike ($1,989).
You’ll also need a helmet and gloves because the occasional spill is part of the sport. “And if you haven’t been on a bike in a while, consider shin guards and kneepads,” Drake says.
Put on your gear, pump up your tires and head for Kaena Point. Coming at it from the Mokuleia side is a great first ride—the trail presents its challenges in small doses, you can’t get lost and you’ll be treated with stunning views.
For more places to ride, check out www.hawaiitrails.org. Even better, get John Alford’s Mountain Biking the Hawaiian Islands. The book’s in need of an update, but it’s still the best resource for safe, respectful mountain biking in our beautiful Islands.