When we decide to go for a hike, we should always follow some basic safety guidelines. This article is a great reminder for us to think before we hike and also includes descriptions of great hikes on the islands.
MAKING THE MOST OF HIKING IN HAWAII
Contributed by Angie Britten, Development Director, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
As a self-described outdoor enthusiast one of my favorite activities is to hit the trails. I have experienced a variety of challenging and beautiful trails while hiking and backpacking all over Hawaii and met a number of interesting people along the way. I have come to know that there are a few different types of hikers you’ll meet. Some prefer interesting geological, or botanical characteristics, scenic vistas, or cooling waterfalls; others prefer challenging hikes with long mileage, difficult, vertical terrain, or narrow ridgelines. And then, there are those who prefer “famous” hikes with characteristics or reputations that make for good social media posts. Often these adventure-seekers aren’t always properly prepared for the challenges of the trail and find themselves in precarious, illegal, damaging, and sometimes deadly, situations. The State has seen an increase in the latter type of hiker in recent years. Department of Health records find that there were 28 hiking related deaths* from (2012-2016). 10 of those deaths occurred on the island of Oahu and about 1/3 statewide were visitors. In the same period, there were 257 emergency room visits and hospitalizations, including 38 in 2016 alone**. While these statistics are sobering, we can confidently continue to hike, knowing that many of these incidents may have been preventable.