I'm sitting here in San Jose, Calif, and I just emailed my biology instructor, who was also born and raised in Hawaii, but left while he was still young, and encouraged him to sign up on this mailing list. You guys include a lot of info on flora and fauna, and it's fun to read the occasional pidgin, too! You know, I tried to get info in hiking in Oahu about a decade ago when I was a hiking fiend here in the Sierras, but there was a dearth of information.
I remember with great fondness a time I went back home and dragged my brother, my sister and her husband, all of whom had never hiked before, (and I had never hiked a challenging trail on Oahu, only the tourist routes..) on this trail we thought we'd do called " The Dupont Trail". We were so naive; my sister kept saying "what's this about it being rated strenuous and difficult?" and I would scoff at it, and say "oh, they always exaggerate the difficulty...ha! hiking up it was far more dangerous than anything I had done in the Sierras as a hiker (lots of 14,000 ft peaks, but on nice solid granite rock).
Yes, we made it, near tears at some points. I fell trying to show off climbing the crumbling rock, and a tree caught me. My sister's husband, a Honolulu firefighter, nearly puked his guts out when he saw our first knife ridge--and made it across by sliding on his butt--we got back to our cars at 9pm, finally..I know we lucked out, but I gained a new respect for hawaiian hiking, and you know it was one of the nicest times we spent together as a family, we still laugh when we think about it.....
I really can't wait to return home now, largely due to your reports, so keep it up. Of course, I'm a lazy slug now and can tell I really need to get in shape to keep up with you guys. It's inspiring.
I have a couple of questions: What's a recommended book (I prefer guides with photographs) on hawaiian flora you'd typically encounter on these trails? My family still lives there and can get it for me. Is this Stuart Ball bible widely available in Hawaii? I can't find it here. Also, here's a stupid question: I'm usually not a superstitious person, not even a religious one, but the minute I am in the hawaiian forest or in remote areas visiting relatives, a heavy feeling, redolent of ancient spirits, hits me. Maybe it's all the stories my mom fed me and all the stories I read as a kid. I even got spirit willies on the dupont trail...anyone else with creepy stories? anything to that one about wrapping a stone in a ti leaf? Anyone in your group pay any attention to this? just curious! Thanks again,
Collette (Kukailucy, names of my two cats..)