One of the coolest parts about hiking in Hawaii is the constant change of scenery. The trail may start through a winding forest before ending at a grove of wild bamboo that’s triple overhead in height! In fact, these different types of ecosystems are what greatly define Hawaii trails – making them unique to our islands.
I have always been very fond of bamboo, especially when standing in the middle of them. Most hikes near or in the Koolau mountain range yield groves upon groves of bamboo. You might actually see them from the highway, if you know what to look for.
There’s something so peaceful about being surrounded by bamboo. They block out ambient noises and protect those who pass through with their h3, woody stalks. Bamboo can grow up to a foot per day and typically reach heights of over 50 feet. The taller they are, the older, which explains why some bamboo may live for over 100 years.
In Hawaii, bamboo is referred to as a canoe plant because it was brought to the islands by early settlers. They used it in various ways, including food, storage, raw materials for housing and musical instruments. In fact, I still have the bamboo nose flute I made in the fourth grade, and I’m pretty sure my dad still has the bamboo fishing poles we used to use as kids.
I guess that would explain why I love bamboo so much. Oh, and how could I forget? I am from a town with a name that translates to “Bamboo Man.” Kaneohe is a beautiful windward Oahu city at the base of the Koolau, with stories of the Bamboo Man who used to frequent the area. I’m pretty sure he still does.