Friday, July 18, 2014

All the small things

My reason to hike is far different than when I first started to hike in 2009.  My friend Keahi always used to ask if our group of coworkers would like to go hiking together.  Keahi knew of many places that I wish I knew of when I was a little kid.  I always used to ask, "Where are the waterfalls?  I want to see a waterfall."  Keahi would do the research and I would go along for the ride.  I was always fascinated with flowing water and never really got to see a nice one in Hawaii.  We used to explore different valleys and find nooks and crannies that people haven't written of yet.  Search for waterways and waterfalls, tunnels and just plain cool stuff. 

As we grew into hiking we started to network with people.  We were both a huge fan of Kaleo and were always watching for his new blog entries.  Keahi thought if Kaleo could write about his adventures so should we.  We started a blog and wrote in it for about 2 years.  After about 2 years the blog fell into an abandonment.  Unfortunately we parted ways in our hiking careers.  I started to hike regularly with Kaleo.  Even though Keahi and I didn't hike together he was always there listening to my crazy hiking stories. 

For roughly 2 years I hiked with Kaleo and his crew.  I made some strong ties with the hiking community through his group.  I learned how to hike responsibly and learned more and more about what Hawaii had to offer.  We went on a trip together to Big Island to do my first backpacking trip to Waimanu.  There I met Dave and the lost trailblazers group.  I also met Cory who introduced me to my girlfriend Katie.  Also through Kaleo's group I met other hikers such as Nate and Josh who were/are interested in the native flora and fauna of Hawaii. 

Now that Kaleo is a family man, he has been taking more responsibilities at home than coming out and hiking with us.  So I've been hiking a lot with new people and making new ties in the conservation world.  The people I hike with now have a different mind set when hiking.  Hiking isn't just about reaching a peak or seeing a waterfall.  It's more about looking at the small details around you, in the plants and animals.  Noticing that there is much more to Hawaii than just views.  Hawaii is the extinction capital of the world.  There are many endangered species here too.  When I hike now it's more like looking for needles in a hay stack.  Looking for endangered rare plants with Josh, looking for native land snails with Nate and Cory, or waiting and watching for the native honey creeper birds.  Like waterfalls when I first started to hike, finding endangered flora and fauna is such a treat to see.   These things were right under my nose my whole life living here in Hawaii.  I wish I had started sooner. 

Here are some of the things I've seen this past weekend hiking on Oahu. 

During the summer months ohia lehua are in full bloom. 
A juvenile 'apapane spreads it's wings and starts to take off. 

I don't know what I was looking for. 

This plant is the cyanea koolauensis

The flower is shaped like the native honey creeper birds. 

This spiky ball is also a rare native plant. 

When that spiky ball plant matures it flowers and dies.  The capsules below the flowers hold the seeds.  Lobelia koolauensis

Small native snails such as this one dot the leaves.  You just have to look carefully. 
'Apapane feeding on some ohia lehua.

Popolo 'Aiakeakua (Solanum sandwicense) is an endangered plant native to Oahu and Kauai.

With the help of conservation agencies the cyanea grimesiana have a chance to survive. 

Cyanea superba

Interesting native snails are found deep in the Waianae mountains. 

Although the happy face spider is not on the endangered list they are quite uncommon to see.  I remember seeing my first one on Maui. 


  1. "Small native snails such as this one dot the leaves. You just have to look carefully."

    I saw some of these along the trail in Mt. Kaala bog. Do you have an ID?

    1. There are many different scientific names for the native snails. The one pictured above, the genus is Philonesia. The bigger one is Achatinella.