When you think about Hawaii, mini umbrellas in frozen tropical drinks come to mind, right? Flips flops, snorkeling, maybe surfing…the beach in Hawaii is a luring idea. That is the idea of a “vacation,” getting away and doing nothing for a few weeks, soaking up some sun, maybe flirting with fellow beach goers. Really though, entertain me for a minute and let me tell you why I want to barf when I think about going to Hawaii and simply sitting out on the beach. The real beauty here is in hiking. Next time you hit up the islands, put down your daiquiri and lace up your boots. You’ll be glad you did.
- Beauty- Everything in Hawaii is beautiful. Everywhere you look, every highway you drive, every sunrise and sunset looks like something off the back of a postcard. But can you imagine gargantuan trees perfect for climbing with trunks thicker than an elephant is large? Wildflowers that sprout from every square inch of spongy ground? Traversing over a trail composed of thick tree roots? It is a paradise in the jungles of Hawaii, and incredibly accessible. Where else could you go from city to wilderness in a matter of minutes? Due to Hawaii’s compact landscape, once you summit mountains, you see a little—no, a lot—of everything. Green forest, city, ocean-it is seriously a trip. Talk about sight seeing.
- Exercise- Wouldn’t it be kick ass to come back from your vacation more in shape than when you left? The temperatures in Hawaii get warm, but never excruciatingly hot. Make sure that you pack lots of water because the variety of trails is definitely going to give you a full body workout.
- Deserving that beer- When you’re on vacation, it is definitely good to relax and enjoy yourself. It is even better after you’ve worked hard all day, seen some magnificent things, and have more to talk about than “how hot that guy at the beach was”—the hotties you meet on the trail are probably more interesting anyways.
- Plant life-The tropical climate of Hawaii makes for an incredible array of plant and animal life, more than you can imagine. And all of it happening all the time, the trail you hike may be completely different after a fresh bloom within even a few days. It is a botanists dream, and a dreamer’s fantasy. When you get out and hike in Hawaii, you are traversing the path of movies like Jurassic Park and Avatar, and shows like Lost. Just try not to imagine a T-Rex stomping around the corner when you’re creeping through the trees. Ok actually, try not to. I’d get a little freaked out, personally.
- Adventure-At least on the island of Oahu, trails are maintained largely by volunteers. The rules are, in a word, flexible. You are certainly going out on these trails at your own risk, sometimes having to climb using precarious-seeming ropes, or climbing over boulders at mountain summits with no guardrails in sight. It is highly advisable to bring a friend with you when you hit the trail, but definitely a sometimes spine tingling, always thrilling experience.
- Connecting more with the islands-How can you not feel like you know a place more than when you’ve actually taken to it by foot and explored it? By the same token, how can you feel like you know Hawaii if you haven’t ventured out of the resort? You’ll get the perk of feeling less touristy, and the bragging rights of knowing that you’ve adventured through some of the most famous and gorgeous jungles in the world.