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Hiking in Hawaii...with a group and guide.

Hiking in Hawaii ... with a group and guide The tropical magic of the Hawaiian Islands--from the fertile greens of mountainous rain forests to the diverse contours of uninhabited coastline--is well within the grasp of visitors who are willing to park the car and hoof it. A safe and informative way to explore the state's most interesting trails is to take a guided hike with one of the outdoor groups that are listed here.

Trips range in length and difficulty from a few hours of easy walking to all-day, up-and-down treks through dense jungle. Groups climb active volcanoes, walk along lava coastline between striated cliffs and spouting blow holes, and even rope-climb Hawaiian peaks. Hikers may see rare plants or endangered birds, such as the crested honeycreeper or Molokai thrush, at home in the tropical wilderness. Groups often have access to trails across restricted lands, and experienced leaders know the regional wildlife, geology, and scenery. On several excursions, hikers are given time to wander on their own. Even with all thse trips offer, they cost little or nothing.

Organized nature hikes are available all year on five islands; by far the most are on Oahu, which has several each week. For outings with a limited group size, reservations are required; for most others, hikers can just sho up at the announced meeting place, pay any fee, and, if they are without a car, share car-pool csts to the trailhead.

In addition to the groups listed, two groups--Walk Hawaii (Box 860, Honolulu 96808) and 50th State Wanderers (Box 6403, Honolulu 96818)--organize recreational walks for large groups, often in the hundreds. The national parks somethimes offer nature walks or hikes led by a ranger or volunteer guide.

Most of the organizations print schedules with hike descriptions, leaders' names and telephone numbers, meeting places, and any special requirements. Because these groups spend so much time in the field, the best way to get information is by mail. It's also a good idea to call a day or two before hikes to double-check times and places. Plan to wear sturdy shoes and bring a day pack with lunch and water--and swimsuit or rain gear if it's suggested. All area codes are 808.

Multi-island groups

The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii, 1116 Smith St., Suite 201, Honolulu 96817; 537-4508. Once-a-month guided hikes through its bird and wildlife preserves on Maui and Molokia (see island listings on page 46) are available to those who join either the national or state organization (minimum donations $10).

Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter, Box 11070, Honolulu 96828; 946-8494. The chapter office at the Church of the Crossroads, 1212 University Avenue, is also headquarters for the club's Honolulu Group (see listing on page 46). A newsletter, published every two months, gives information and hike schedules for Sierra Club groups on four islands. The office is open 11 to 2 Mondays through Saturdays, 7:45 to 10:45 A.M. Sundays.

Oahu: Diamond Head, reefs,

rain forest, botanic garden

The Clean Air Team, Box 4349, Honolulu 96813. Free guided hike to the top of Diamond Head leaves the Honolulu Zoo's main entrance (151 Kapahulu Avenue) at 7:30 A.M. every Saturday, takes 2 hours. The 3-mile (one way) hike goes up Monsarrat Avenue to Diamond Head Road, along the crater's east side to a tunnel into the crater, then up the summit trail of zigzags, steps, and more tunnels to the 761-foot peak and views in all directions. Bring a flashflight for the tunnels. Free. The team also offers three guided city walks, each for a $1 donation.

Hawaii Audubon Society, Box 22832, Honolulu 96822. One or two hikes a month to places that offer bird sighting--reefs (some at night) and marshlands as well as coastal and mountain trails. A trip scheduled for the second Sunday of every month usually leaves from the Hawaii State Library, 478 S. King Street (at Punchbowl Street), between 7:30 and 9 A.M. Free, but share ride costs.

HAwaiia Nature Center, 2131 Makiki Heights Dr., Honolulu 96822; 942-0990. This environmental education center for youngsters offers a family hike through luxurian rain forest that stretches up Tantalus Mountain at 9 A.M. on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Reservations required. Free.

Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club, Box 2238, Honolulu 96804; 488-1161. This granddaddy of Hawaii's hiking clubs, founded in 1910, has helped build and maintain many of the Islands' trails. Hikes range from beginning to advanced, from easy cliff walks to rope climbs on Oahu's Olomana Peak. Offers hikes on Sundays and occasional Saturdays, usually at 8 A.M., as well as some camping trips to other islands. Nonmembers 16 and over pay $1; children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

Ho'omaluhia, Box 1116, Kaneohe 96744; 235-6636. Guided nature walks through this 425-acre municipal botanic garden at the foot of the Koolaus' windward cliffs are given Saturdays at 10, Sundays at 12:30. Ho'omaluhia has a 32-acre lake and five camping areas. The entrance is at the end of Luluku Road off Kamehameha Highway (State 83). Reservations required. Free.

Lyon Arboretum, 3860 Manoa Rd., Honolulu 96822; 988-7378. Several easy hikes are offered--including a four-times-a-year hike to the upper areas of this 124-acre tropical rain forest garden, part of the University of Hawaii. Most trips start at 9 or 9:30 A.M. at the arboretum, require reservations, costs $5 for nonmembers. Free guided walks of the garden's lower section take place on the first Friday and third Wednesday of the month at 1, and third Saturday at 10; reservations required.

Moanalua Gardens Foundation, 1352 Pineapple Place, Honolulu 96819; 839-5334. Guided 5-mile hikes into Moanalua Valley the second Saturday and fourth Sunday of each month. Hikes start at the gate at the end of Ala Aolani off Moanalua Freeway (State 78) just northwest of Tripler Army Medical Center. Reservations required; donation requested.

Sierra Club, Honolulu Group (for address and telephone number, see Hawaii Chapter on page 44). Hikes, scheduled most Sundays and many Saturdays, usually leave at 8 from the office. Fee is 50 cents; children under 14 are free but must be accompanied by an adult.

Hawaii: start from Kailua-Kona or Hilo

Kona Hiking Club, 73-4825 Anini St., Kailua-Kona 96740; 325-6638. This group sponsors twice-monthly hikes, usually on the first Saturday and third Thursday. They're mostly on the west side, often along the shore. Meet at Kailua village public parking lot (off Kuakini Highway) at 8 A.M. Free, but plan to share ride costs.

Sierra Club, Moku Loa Group, Box 1147, Hilo 96720. Shikego Chang (935-4616 evenings) sets up two day-hikes a month, usually on weekends, and occasional camping trips. Most trips start at 6:30 A.M. at the parking lot across from the Texaco station, corner of Pauahi Street and Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo. Hikers share car-pool costs.

Kauai: different destinations

Sierra Club, Kauai Group, Box 3412, Lihue 96766 (call chapter office in Honolulu for information). Hikes twice a month on Saturday or Sunday to Kokee State Park, Sleeping Giant country, or the island's north side. Starting points vary with hike destination. Nonmembers pay $2.

Maui: rain forests, Haleakala

Waikamoi Preserve (Nature Conservancy), Box 1716, Makawao 96768; 572-7849. Conservancy members hike throuth this 5,230-acre rain forest preserve on the slopes of Haleakala the second Sunday of each month, starting at 9 A.M. from Hosmer Grove in Haleakala NAtional Park. Each trip is limited to 10 hikers, and reservations a month ahead are requested.

Sierra Club, Maui Group, Box 2000, Kahului 96732; Mary Evans, 572-9724. At least every other weekend, a hike or service trip (including cleanup and trail work) explores trails all over the island, many on the slopes of Haleakala. Meeting place varies with the outing. Adult hikers are asked for a 50-cent donation.

Molokai: volcano overlook, ancient bog

Kamakou Preserve (Nature Conservancy), Box 40, Kualapuu 96757; 567-6680. On the second Saturday of each month, as many as 10 conservancy members can hike through this 2,774-acre forest preserve near the summit of the East Molokai Volcano. You can hike as far as the overlook into steep Pelekunu Valley on the north coast and stroll a broadwalk across a bog with stunted trees and giant violets. Reservations are required. Meet at 9 A.M. at airport in Hoolehua ($5 car-pool fee); you'll be back in time for a late-afternoon flight.
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Date:Nov 1, 1986
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