The Unseen Beauties of Hawaii

Today’s post was written by Femke Gow.

Hawaii – first things that come to mind for me are honeymoons and weddings in fancy resorts being held under a cobalt sky. Despite the romantic scenery however, there is so much more to my destination, Hawaii, than legend would have me believe. Before I even considered going there, I was very stubborn in thinking that there was nothing daring enough, nothing hidden; like every crevice of the island had been explored, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I travel to experience the unseen trail; I explore to come back home with a bag full of stories and adventures, as opposed to trinkets from the mainstream shopping streets. With a very narrow minded, and in retrospect, uneducated view on the state, I refused to go to Hawaii until I heard about the mass amounts of trails, mountains, volcanoes, beaches and forests that there were left to explore. Eventually, I managed to swallow my pride and actually do some research on Hawaii itself to break my prejudices.

Hawaii is bursting with some of the most beautiful trails and mountainous areas that I’ve ever had the privilege to see. I find that this is the best way to properly see and feel a place; it’s free, you’re entirely exposed to and at one with the natural personality and vibes of the location and you have the choice of travelling alone or with others. I chose to travel with one other person, who was just as sceptical about going to Hawaii as I was, making the trip even more rewarding for both of us.

I ended up travelling to the small island of Maui, just off the north coast of Hawaii, as we believed it could take us far enough off the beaten track of mainland Hawaii to satisfy our adventurous cravings and still remain safe. It has an abundance of trails, all of which are free to trek along, ranging in length and levels of difficulty. It was hard to choose which trail we wanted to follow, as we wanted to see as much of the island as possible, both inland and coastal, which would mean a lot of walking.

As opposed to picking just one trail, we decided to improvise and make our own. We started heading north towards the coast from the inland trail, named Waiakoa Trail, which was by far the longest part of the trek, taking about five hours over lava field terrain in a hunting area. The latter was the aspect that most attracted me to this trail; the image of myself trekking through hunting ground on lava ground was too exhilarating an opportunity to pass up, despite it’s possibly hazardous nature. The views of this trail were entirely rewarding, as our surroundings evolved from barren, dryer looking landscapes, to phenomenal waterfalls, clothed in all shades of green, simply waiting to be discovered and appreciated.

After five treacherous hours, we reached the image that had managed to motivate us throughout the immense journey; the coastline. I had never seen water so clear and sparkly blue that it hardly seemed real. All I could do was sit and absorb, let my throbbing feet recover, my aching back mend, and sink into my surroundings. This is the way to be at one with any location; to simply exist in it. There was no need to do anything, no need to take photographs, or buy or a postcard. I wanted my perception of the image to stay a secret in my mind, as I felt that no concrete representation of it could do it any justice. We sat for hours, watched the sunset, and all that we could do was try to memorize exactly what we were seeing, for the fear that the memory would fade.

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