Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hiking Hawaii- Makena Black Sand Beach

If you ever are in Maui and in the Makena-area of the island, do yourself a favor and go on a mini-hike to the Black Sand beach of Makena.

The hike is along a rutted road

and while the hike isn't particularly challenging (I think there is a 5 foot elevation gain), it does take you through a jungle-setting of Maui

Winding your way through the forest, you eventually pop out on the beach and it is a great thing when you do because the views are spectacular.

You don't need to go on a long hike in Hawaii to find beauty and this short hike is well worth your time. 

I was particularly struck by the black/reddish sand and also how it was tucked in to the hills and rocks surrounding it, like a black pocket amongst green and brown splotches (a poet I am not).

Definitely check out this beach! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hiking Hawaii- Iao Valley

If you are in Hawaii (Maui specifically) then a hike you MUST do is to the Iao Needle. This hike might be short but it sure is sweet and one I would do over and over again. This is one of my favorite hikes of 2014 and hopefully you will see why!

First things first, this hike is short and "easy".

Yes there are stairs, yes there are handrails but you still have to be careful as you make your way up to the observation area for the needle.

(I don't think that stick figure is going to make it)

As you go up the trail, the mountains of the Iao Valley rise up all around you and also frame the land below.

As beautiful as that scene is, it is nothing compared to the cloud kissed mountains that await you as you reach the viewing hut:

(maybe there are some dinosaurs living in there)

(clouds making out with mountain tops)

Of course, what you are there to see is the Needle.

Being from Upstate New York, I have an in-built love of cold and grey and to my eye, the clouds make the mountains even better to look at.

The wind, the feeling of the clouds and the mountains, the uniqueness of this area, especially compared to the rest of Hawaii, makes this one of my favorite places and a MUST hike for you if you go to Hawaii.

Here is some info about the hike: http://www.hawaiistateparks.org/parks/maui/index.cfm?park_id=36

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Danner SoBo Boots Reviewed!

If you are learning about hiking or have been hiking for 20 years, the one constant about this passion of ours is boots. Boots, running shoes, footwear, socks, sock liners, laces, etc. These are the most important things of your journey because these ARE the things that will get you to your journey.

For years I had been hiking in lightweight La Sportiva Thunder Mountain II boots (that's a mouthful) until I hiked them into the ground. Because I am a lazy, lazy man I hiked the last year in my winter boots from Asolo TPS 520s which are tanks and fully broken in but heavy as all get out (technical term) and actually pretty slippery on stream crossings.

I needed to get back into the lightweight realm but as you saw above, I was really lazy. Thankfully Sierra Trading Post and Danner jump started me out of my laziness by sending me a pair of their lightweight SoBo boots through a contest.

SoBo sounds for "South Bound" a way of describing someone's trek on one of the great US trails (Appalachian Trail or the PCT). So far these boots feel up to that challenge.

The break in time, completely negligible. These boots felt smooth the minute I put them on. The tongue is thickly padded which is great for me and didn't cause rubbing at all. They run a bit small so I sized a half size up and that worked out although there was a bit of slamming of the toe on the toe box which I think can easily be solved by lacing them well.

The soles are not Vibram (the gold standard in grip and durability for soles) and seem to be Danner's own sole but they held up surprisingly well. Descending 900 feet in a mile, the grip was there on sandy and rocky soil

I became aware of Danner years ago when they won awards for their Crater Rim boots (boots till this day that I still covet mightily). So far with these SoBo boots, I am a fan of the Danner product and will be counting my pennies for the Crater Rims. Until them, I am lightweight hiking with the best of em!

Check out the SoBo here at STP! http://www.sierratradingpost.com/s~danner-sobo/?perPage=96

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