Big Island – Napau Trail

For my second major hike on the Big Island, I loop hiked two outstanding trails in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park — the Napau Trail and the Naulu Trail.  Doing these two trails as a loop hike requires a car shuttle.  In addition, I also hiked out the spur trail to the viewpoint of Napau Crater.  The hike took me 7 1/2 hours and covered about 12.2 trail miles plus 3 road miles.  There were so many outstanding aspects to this hike which I will be discussing in detail in an upcoming report.  The hike essentially passes through a variety of lava flow areas from recent times and occasionally enters rainforest which was untouched by lava.  This hike was way different from anything I had ever done before.  I originally intended to hike to the summit of Mauna Loa.  But that has been closed all week due to hurricane-force winds.  Maybe it was for the best, because this hike turned out to be so good.

Passing through an area of volcanic steam vents

Passing through an area of volcanic steam vents

There is a surprising about of beauty, color, and variety with lava flow

There is a surprising amount of beauty, color, and variety with lava flow

Beautiful Hawaiian rainforest untouched by the destructive power of lava

Beautiful Hawaiian rainforest untouched by the destructive power of lava

Lava tunnels appear in the middle of nowhere

Lava tube tunnels appear in the middle of endless lava fields

Big Island – Waimanu Valley

Recently, we headed to the Big Island of Hawaii in order to enjoy some rest and relaxation.  At the same time, I wanted to take one or two major hikes to see some beautiful scenery.  We have a tentative four year plan to visit all of the Hawaiian Islands at a rate of one per year.  Last year, we did Kauai and this year we are doing the Big Island.  To start off my hiking on the Big Island, I did a major hike on the Muliwai Trail from Waipio Valley to Waimanu Valley.  It was an extremely challenging day hike which took 13 hours 10 minutes, covered about 19 miles, and gained over 5,000 feet of cumulative elevation.  I’m going to save most of the details of this extraordinary hike for the report to come, but here are a few teaser images (out of the 365 photos taken).

Overview of Waipio Valley from the Z-Trail portion of the Muliwai Trail

Overview of Waipio Valley’s waterfalls, lake, beach, and lush greenery from the Z-Trail portion of the Muliwai Trail

In front of the Queen's Bath, a place where I would swim on the hike back

In front of the Queen’s Bath, a place where I would swim on the hike back

I had the beautiful Waimanu black sand beach all to myself for a full hour

I had the beautiful Waimanu black sand beach all to myself for a full hour

The gorgeous hard-to-reach Waimanu Valley

The gorgeous hard-to-reach Waimanu Valley is a true island paradise

New Eureka Sand Dunes report released

Tonight we have released our long-awaited brand new report on the Eureka Sand Dunes.  The previous report only contained 15 photos which were taken with film camera back in the early 2000s.  The new report contains a brand new introduction section and map of our hiking route.  It also contains 120 brand new photos taken in January of 2015.  Only 3 of the previous photos were kept and added at the very end.  A special aspect of this report is the inclusion of 8 exclusive panoramics of the Eureka Sand Dunes.  One of my favorites is the panoramic which shows the dunes during sunrise.  It is only fitting that the majestic Eureka Sand Dunes now have the largest overall report of all of the sand dunes in the park.  To view the new report, visit trip report #157 on the Main Page or click here.