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There are many not-in-the-brochure s attractions available to an intrepid Oahu visitor, remote locations that range from verdant, misted mountains to sun baked sea cliffs plunging into crystalline blue depths. Such destinations are certainly worth the effort to find, but they are also worthy of the preparation and vigilant safety awareness that is necessary for any kind of wilderness expedition. For the unprepared, a wander into Oahu’s hinterlands can be as dangerous as it is rewarding. It’s best to be prepared, whether or not you were a Scout.
There are many dozens of places on Oahu to get to that are maintained by, but not patrolled by, the City or State agencies that look after them. These places are generally in the mountains or by the sea. There are no rangers or lifeguards, but all are welcome to enjoy the beauty of the locale. Whether in the ocean or in the mountains, a few simple tips can make the experience of an exotic trek easier and safer.
Gear up. Wear your shoes and bring a towel, sunscreen, plenty of water (drinking stream water might seem like a good idea, but it isn’t), lunch and your cell phone. Leave everything else at the hotel. Use your cell phone only in the case of an emergency. Because, You must pay attention to your surroundings. From the deepest valley, highest peak and hidden shore, conditions can and will change quickly. A hike in the sun may become a muddy trudge in the waning twilight and a clear, shimmering tide may quickly turn into a gray, churning threat. It is important to watch your step and not forget that rocks are slippery. And never turn your back on the ocean.
Malama. This one’s simple. The more remote a location is, the more susceptible it is to degradation from alien species, trail entropy and just plain litter. If you’re visiting from abroad, it’s important to clean your hiking shoes before embarking on the trail to ensure that any hitch-hiking seeds from your last hike don’t make their way into the ecosystem you’re entering.
And, of course, it’s important to take out what you take in. That is to say that there won’t be any place to put empty water bottles or food wrappers, so put them back in your pack for disposal at the end of the hike. Most maintained trails have trash cans at their start/finish.
Getting off of the beaten path on Oahu can make a wonderful Hawaiian vacation even more rewarding. Research your destinations and take the necessary safety precautions.