In Hawaii, America’s 50th state, the only state composed entirely of islands and the state with the longest coastline, 750 miles, it is possible to visit a rainforest and go skiing/snowboarding in the same state.
Situated on The Big Island, Shipman Beach is only accessible via a 4.5-mile hike necessitating an estimated three to four-hour trek to experience privacy and breathtaking beauty. The trail winds through the old Hawaiian village of Ha’ena. The beach has been described as an unbelievable sandy spot in the midst of a rainforest. Many visitors enjoy hiking around to find the only Shipman Beach building, a cement WW II bunker. Along the trail leading down to the beach is an abandoned automobile. The mystery surrounding this site is how this vehicle managed to arrive in the location since there are no roadways. From late winter to early spring, Shipman Beach is a great location for whale watching.
Many people have visited Maui, but not many have visited Kaupo Gap. The trail way through this area was actually formed as the result of volcanic spillage. Beginning at Paliku, the trail winds through a picturesque growth area for guava, Christmas berries and several varieties of plums nourished by an estimated 100 inches of rain yearly. Hikers are urged to stop at the Kaupo Store to purchase sodas, water, snacks and a limited supply of camping staples in route to a campsite on the grounds of circa 1859 Huraloha Church. Rare Koa trees, some of which are five feet in diameter, provide a refuge for nene geese and short-eared owls.
Ski and snowboarding aficionados find slopes with an elevation of 14,000 feet above sea level at Mauna Kea to be an unforgettable experience. Since Mauna Kea, whose name means White Mountain, has no lift-chair system, it is advisable to have a skiing partner positioned in a 4×4 vehicle at the bottom of the run to facilitate returning to the top of the run. While the normal snowfall season is between January and March, the best skiing conditions occur during La Nina weather patterns.
On Kaho’olawe, the smallest island in Hawaii, participating in a four-day volunteer adventure, food and lodging included, affords the opportunity to inhabit a World War II, United States, bombing target practice site while assisting with efforts to replant and rejuvenate the area. In the evening, volunteers are exposed to some of the traditions of Hawaii and will be educated on the effect of military operations on area vegetation.
The fifth largest island, Molokai, is believed to be the result of 1.5 million-year-old volcanic activity. This 35-mile long island was first settled in 650 AD. To avoid infringement on private property, the engagement of a private guide is required to view remnants of ancient temple walls and other archeology sites. In addition to experiencing the majesty of two, 250-foot waterfalls, visitors can listen to the native Hawaiian language spoken and learn how locals continue to hunt, fish and farm to support their way of life.