Mount Alava Trail (American Samoa) report released

I have two final hiking reports to share with you from our time in American Samoa last September.  This first one served as our introduction to American Samoa and the main island of Tutuila.  It was a hike to the summit of Mount Alava, which overlooks Pago Pago Harbor and many villages located around it.  Definitely a great start to that trip and a must-do hike for anyone visiting American Samoa.  The report can be found on the Introduction Page under the South Pacific section or by clicking on the link below.

Mount Alava Trail (American Samoa) new report

Four New Hikes on Easter Island

As noted in the previous post, we also traveled to Easter Island and spent one week there from December 26, 2017 to January 2, 2018.  Here are a few brief details and a 3 teaser images for each of the 4 hikes we did on Easter Island

EASTER ISLAND hikes Dec 2017 and Jan 2018

Rano Kau Trail – Our trip started out with a family hike from Hanga Roa to Orongo, which is 4.6 miles round-trip.  The trail is known as Te Ara O Te Ao, which translates to The Road of Command.  It has been in use for some 150 years now.  The hike climbs the slopes of Rano Kau crater, circles around the crater to the right, and ends at the ancient site of Orongo.

Great views on the way up of Hanga Roa and Maunga Terevaka

Reaching the spectacular rim of Rano Kau crater

Great views of Motu Kao Kao (foreground) along with Motu Iti and Motu Nui (background) from Orongo

Maunga Terevaka – We next hiked to the highest point on Easter Island, which is the summit of Maunga Terevaka (1,677 feet in elevation according to my official National Park map).  There are two trails to the summit, with one starting to the west in Ahu Akivi and one to the south in Vaitea.  We arranged a drop-off so that we could hike both trails as a loop, which proved to be outstanding.  We could see around the entire island from the top.  A great hike.

Wild horses and wild cows could be seen regularly along the trail

Daria and I standing on the summit with the “official” summit sign

View looking to the southwest from the summit toward Rano Kau and Orongo

North Coast – The third hike that we did on Easter Island was the rugged hiking route from Ahu Tepeu to Anakena along the northern coast.  This is one of the most isolated areas on the island, with no roads and just an obscure trail to follow that comes and goes.  The views of the sea cliffs are fantastic and there were scattered spots of archaeological ruins that we enjoyed checking out.  The hike ends at Anakena Beach, which is a great spot to cool off after a long day hiking in the sun.

Chimango Caracara birds of prey can be see throughout the North Coast hike

The heads and remains of fallen moai can be seen along the way

Spectacular views of sea cliffs appear all along the roadless coastal route

Poike – Our final hike on Easter Island brought us to the Poike peninsula.  This is an area that few visitors or hikers venture into, but it has some of the most interesting and unique scenery on the island.  There are several minor peaks to climb as well as one major peak called Puakatiki (1,345 feet in elevation).  Also, we found several interesting historical sites including a fallen moai that was hidden away in a cave we stumbled across.  Finally, the eroded red sea cliffs area to the east was quite amazing.

The Poike hike first passes by the sea cliffs seen in the background

A fallen moai with the summit high point seen in the background

There is extensive eroded red soil along the eastern coastline

Four New Hikes in French Polynesia

We recently returned from a very enjoyable and successful three week trip to French Polynesia and Easter Island.  As part of this trip, we did 4 brand new hikes in French Polynesia and 4 hikes on Easter Island.  I am planning to publish reports on all 8 of these hikes in the near future to benefit future visitors to these areas.  This is the fourth straight year that we have visited the South Pacific.  As you can tell, we really love spending time there and enjoying the tranquil beauty of the islands and calm lagoon water.  Below, I will share a very brief description and 3 teaser images for each of the French Polynesia hikes.  In another post, I will do the same for each of the Easter Island hikes.

FRENCH POLYNESIA hikes Dec 2017 and Jan 2018

Mount Pohue Rahi (Huahine) – Our trip started with a hike to the summit of Mount Pohue Rahi at 1,516 feet in elevation on the island of Huahine.  The trail passes through a pine forest with several good viewpoints of the greenery covering the island.  Doing this first hike was quite a challenge due to the abrupt change in heat and humidity upon arrival a couple of days earlier.  The summit area had a spectacular bloom of Golden Trumpet wildflowers.

The trail passes through extensive greenery and a thick pine forest

The summit area is covered by Golden Trumpets

View of northern Huahine as seen from near the summit

Popotei Ridge (Bora Bora) – Bora Bora was the only island that I returned to on this trip which I had been to before (16 months earlier).  And there’s a reason for that.  Bora Bora is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  I found an obscure family hiking trail that I could do there and thus we all hiked the Popotei Ridge trail together, which had great views of the lagoon, village of Faanui, and Mount Otemanu, Mount Pahia, and Mount Ohue.

Looking back from the end of the trail, you can see most of the Popotei Ridge as it slopes down toward the lagoon at the back right

Stefan (5 years old) and I standing near the end of the trail

Incredible view of Faanui village (lower right) and Mount Otemanu (upper left) in the distance

Patio to Haamene Traverse (Tahaa) – The island of Tahaa was my favorite new island visited in French Polynesia during this trip.  It was quite challenging due to the lack of information, but I managed to find my way around and complete the 5 3/4 miles traverse hike from the village of Patio in the north to the village of Haamene in the center.  The trail has a fantastic display of wildflowers, plants, fruit trees, mountain scenery, and overlook points.  I’m really looking forward to providing valuable information for others about this little-known but outstanding hike.

Wildflowers lined the trail along the lower portion (Tahitian ginger pictured here)

The trail passes right beneath a major peak not far from Mount Ohiri (the highest peak on Tahaa)

There is an amazing viewpoint in a park-like setting to take in the views around Haamene Bay

Temehani Plateau (Raiatea) – The fourth and final hike I did in French Polynesia was one of the most spectacular lifetime hikes I have ever done.  This was a hike to the Temehani Plateau to see firsthand one of the world’s rarest flowers – the Tiare Apetahi.  Reaching the flower’s location requires a climb up into the mountains with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain.  Not an easy task but fortunately there were a couple of spots where we could swim in a small river along with some freshwater eels.  The views were some of the best ever.  We could see all the way around the island, Bora Bora’s silhouette, and the entire island of Tahaa.  And the rare flower was quite a sight to behold as well.

Cooling off was vital due to the high heat and humidity of summertime

During the upper portions of the hike, the entire island of Tahaa could be seen to the north

The Tiare Apetahi is one of the world’s rarest flowers with only about 5 plants left on the section of plateau we hiked (with another 70 plants on the next plateau over which is off-limits to the public)

Skookum and Peak 6980

We just returned from a very successful 2-day backpacking loop in the northern Last Chance Range.  On Day 1, we hiked up to Skookum mining camp and explored all of the interesting mining remnants leftover there.  We then backtracked slightly and circled up into a basin high up in the mountains where we found a camping spot.  On Day 2, we hiked to the summit of Peak 6980, which has some of the most incredible views in the park.  We had great views of the Eureka Sand Dunes, Eureka Valley, Marble BM, Dry Mountain, Tin Mountain, Ubehebe Crater, and the snow-capped Sierras.  We then returned to camp, packed up, and backpacked back down to our vehicle.  The route was so well put together that I may end up adding it to my Recommended Backpacking Trips portion of the site.  In the near future, I will share two brand new full hiking reports on Skookum and Peak 6980.  This will include some really special panoramics of the Eureka Sand Dunes as seen from the summit.  (I’m saving the best pictures for later.)  But until then, here are a few teaser images.  Joining me on this trip were my brother Jim, brother Lowell, and friend Josh.  Our friend Tom also joined us for the P6980 portion of the hike.

Our group preparing to start along Big Pine Road

Lowell (left) and Josh (right) at Skookum mining camp

Josh and I standing on the summit of P6980

Ubehebe Crater as seen from the summit of P6980

Marble BM as seen from the summit of P6980

Oge Beach Trail (American Samoa) report released

This evening, our third hiking report from American Samoa is being released.  This report showcases a hike along ocean cliffs to visit an isolated beach on the island of Olosega.  Despite being a short hike (2.7 miles round-trip), there was a lot of interesting wildlife and many great views.  The new report is currently listed as report #14 under the South Pacific section and you can also view it by clicking on the link below.

Oge Beach Trail (American Samoa) report

Tumu Mountain Trail (American Samoa) report released

Today I am releasing the second of my five American Samoa hiking reports.  This new report documents a hike on the island of Ofu to the summit of Tumu Mountain.  This summit has one of the best views in the South Pacific.  And this report is actually the first time that this particular hike has been fully documented in detailed format.  The report is listed as #13 under the South Pacific section on the Introduction Page.  You can also view the new report by clicking on the link below.

Tumu Mountain Trail (American Samoa) report

Valley Spring new DV report

This past Monday, my friend Jordan and I hiked Valley Spring located east of the Owlshead Mountains.  Valley Spring is a very special place which I had been planning to visit for the past 1 1/2 years.  We finally made it out there and I came up with a really nice route which allowed us to fully see all of the unique scenery in the area.  I was surprised at how much there was to see during our 6-mile loop hike.  Because no photographs were in existence anywhere of Valley Spring and information was so scarce, I really didn’t know what to expect.  But what an excellent hike it was.  I have already put together a brand new hiking report documenting Valley Spring.  To view it, click on link #164 on the Main Page, or just follow the link below.

Valley Spring new DV report

Panoramic of the first large pond at Valley Spring

Sunlight Canyon & Sunlight Bridge video

Last Sunday, I returned to Sunlight Canyon and Sunlight Bridge for the first time in 4 years in order to once again see the slot narrows and major natural bridge which is located there.  The morning light was amazing, as the walls were absolutely glowing with the bright yellow, orange, and red colors of sunlight.  Seeing how amazing the lighting was, I went ahead and filmed a short video while hiking back down through the canyon.  I was privileged to be joined by Death Valley superintendent Mike Reynolds as well as several Death Valley NPS staff members for this hike.  Afterwards, I enjoyed attending an evening gathering where I got the opportunity to meet and get to know additional park staff.  I just wanted to express my sincere thanks to all of you who joined me for the hike and to those who attended the evening gathering.  I appreciate the hard work all of you do in behalf of Death Valley National Park.  And while many of you felt it was an honor to meet me, I felt it was an honor to meet all of you who do so much to take care of the park we love.  Below, I am sharing my Sunlight Canyon and Sunlight Bridge video.  (Music written and performed by Wagon Band.)

Mummy Canyon (DV report) updated

A quick note that we recently updated our Mummy Canyon report.  Mummy Canyon is located in the Funeral Mountains and is currently listed as destination #136 on the Main Page.  The updates include 18 new photographs taken during an attempted hike into upper Mummy Canyon about one year ago.  I’m sure you will enjoy seeing the spectacular photos taken from the canyon rim high above the wash.

Ofu Beach & Lagoon (American Samoa) report released

This evening, we are releasing the 1st of 5 hiking reports from our trip to American Samoa.  This first report introduces everyone to the isolated and very beautiful island of Ofu.  It features a 2-mile beach walk with many outstanding views and an exclusive look underwater at the Ofu Lagoon with around 50 tropical fish and sea creatures identified and discussed.  I’m sure you will enjoy this report and the next two reports to come will share the two major hikes on Ofu-Olosega.  The new report can be found as report #12 under the South Pacific section of the Introduction Page.  Or you can just click on the link below.

Ofu Beach & Lagoon (American Samoa) report