Halape - June, 2005 - by Drew Erickson
I am a volunteer for the National Park Service working in the Division of Interpretation at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The majority of my time is spent working at the visitor center and guiding short walks. My real passion is backpacking so my supervisors and I thought that I should keep a journal of the hikes that I’ve done so that when you visit you will have a better idea of what to expect. I’ve been backpacking in several places throughout the United States and guided week long trips in the Sierra Nevada’s. This weekend I had my first experience backpacking in Hawaii. Keiko, Keolahou, Vance and I went down to a beach called Halape.
We got a late start, getting on the trail at 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon. The hike started out at the Mau Loa o Mauna Ulu trailhead. It was cool and misting at 2,680 feet where we started and to make matters worse we were hiking through the VOG from Pu’u O’o vent . We crossed the dark pahoehoe lava flows, following the ahu (stone cairns) for a mile. We then entered a sparse `ohia forest and left the VOG and rain behind. A short time later we hit our first junction that confirmed we had completed two miles and were making good time.