Welcome to the Jungle!

This past February Kelly and I absconded to the Islands of Hawaii in search of some unseasonable adventures.  Some hiking, biking, kayaking, diving and camping in the warmth of the mid-winter North Pacific, we thought, would add some refreshing variety to the our difficult winter.

We skulked out of Arlington in the wee hours of the morning, took a shuttle to Logan, and began our lengthy transit to paradise: Boston to Phoenix, Phoenix to Kona, Kona to Honolulu, and finally Honolulu to Lihue.  After hours of fidgeting in our seats, we dragged ourselves from the airport to our first respite of the trip: Kauai Beach House Hostel.  The Hostel was certainly an adequate place to rest our travel-weary bones, but in all honestly the place was essentially a shambles.  The original building was hardly discernable beneath the array of DIY addons and makeshift weather-proofing and it was hard to say at times whether you were inside or simply under some hastily erected awning.  The clientele were a diverse collection of hippies, stoners, drifters, surf bums and people like us – thrifty travelers.  Not that we minded too much – all we were really after were hot showers and firm mattresses, both of which were found to be available as advertised.  We eagerly hit the sack so as not to waste a second of the upcoming days!

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As luck would have it, the endemic rooster population was even more determined than we were that we not waste a second more than necessary in bed.  They wake up bright and early, and apparently do not see fit to stop crowing until the late afternoon.  We were good and awake each day.

For our first two days in Kauai, we planned to see the sites – mountains, jungles, and the coast – by way of mountain bike.  We had reserved two full suspension bikes from the local shop, so as soon as we had gobbled up a hearty pre-MTB breakfast, we ran straight to the shop to pick our new rides and query the employees regarding the best riding.

We consulted the locals on a few routes Kelly had pulled down from Garmin Connect prior to leaving after which we realized we may have to alter out plans.  They informed us that the recent wet weather had probably nixed our top choice but that our back up plan was in fact their top choice for rainy days.  The guy even noted that the route we pulled down from the internet seemed to start at his friends house – small world!  Thusly encouraged, we got after it, but not before laughing off their brief warnings regarding ‘Hawaiian Ice’ – we just emerged from a frozen tundra replete with studded snow tires, carbide tipped trekking poles, steel edges and 12 point crampons.  These guys clearly had no idea what they were talking about…

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We parked at a nearby ball field, and warmed up with a steady paved climb into the mountains and toward the trailhead.  At the trailhead we continued our climb, which was steep at times.  It was among these steeps that we encountered the ‘Hawaiian Ice.’  In low gear and with steady cadence, we lost traction with our knobby tires caked with a clay-like mud and the trail reduced by rain to a slick hard-pack leaving us clinging to rocks and roots at every opportunity. DCIM105GOPRO

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After what seemed like an eternity of climbing, we emerged at the top of a spectacular ridge-line, marred only by the haze that had beset the islands.  We cruised along the ridge peering over deep canyons hoping to catch glimpses of the magnificent jungle we were surrounded by.

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The ridgeline trail twisted and slunk through the lush mountains, notched into the sides of slopes which fell precipitously into the mists and foliage.

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Zooooom!!!

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As the ridge-line gave way to gentler terrain, the trail opened up into a fast if not bumpy double track – we raced out of the mountains on a long and easy descent, back into civilization and toward the second leg of our route.

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We exited the mountainous jungle, cruised through some nearby neighborhoods and found our way to the short return leg, a rolly and twisting trail which traversed the lower elevations of a small ridge.  The forest was of a distinctly different character than the mountains we had just emerged from.  While the elevation change was dramatically less than what we’d just come from, the trail was considerably more challenging with plenty of short, steep and rough climbs.

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With our first day of Hawaiian adventure under our belts, we retreated to our camp at Anini Beach for some R&R.  For a mere $3/night we had this to watch as we rested and prepared for day two:

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For day two we opted for a cruise through the multi-use trails winding along the coast, in and out of the woods and along the beach departing from Anahola Beach.  The trails are used primarily by mountain bikers and dirt bikers, but seemingly see some 4×4 action and are used by fishermen on their way to the numerous secret coves along the shore and by hippies making camp amid the tangled mess of trails.  Unfortunately the GoPros, having seen plenty of action on day one, were spent.  We bore witness to some truly spectacular sights including some supreme ocean views and a hippie camp ornately adorned with drift wood, fishing buoys and sea shells, but were unable to capture any of this on camera.  Luckily we had the self control to slow down and bag one nice still with the point and shoot.

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Gear List

The North Face Chugach 12 Backpack - 753cu in The North Face Chugach 12 Backpack – 753cu inThe North Face designed the Chugach 12 Backpack for the minimalist backcountry skier or snowboarder who wants just enough space for critical avy gear and tools. Your shovel and tools slide nicely into the surprisingly large tool pockets, and you can stash your skins or crampons in the bottom pouch to keep them conveniently organized. With The North Face’s integrated Hinch tuck-away system, you can strap your skis or snowboard to your pack and hike up without suffering from any bouncing. The Bombastic auto-airbag fabric will take quite the beating, so don’t hold back when you shred up that fresh pow.






Oakley Hijinx Polarized Sunglasses Matte Black/Gray, One Size Oakley Hijinx Polarized Sunglasses Matte Black/Gray, One SizeThe Oakley Polarized Hijinx sunglasses’ wrap-around frames and polarized High Definition Optics offer advanced protection from high glare conditions like boating, driving, or snow sports. Oakley’s unique polarizing process maintains visual clarity by biding the polarizing layer at the molecular level–you basically get the best optics technology offers. These impact resistant O matter frames fit medium to large face sizes. Oakley’s tapered XYZ lens technology gives you distortion-free vision at all angles of vision–even at the periphery of the lens. In addition to polarized lenses, these Oakley shades feature darker lens tints give you a neutral contrast that excel in high glare conditions like water sports or skiing. Sqaure O metal icons embedded in the Polarized Hijinx’s temples add a distinctly Oakley touch of style.






GoPro HERO3 Black Edition - Adventure GoPro HERO3 Black Edition – AdventureYou’ve already sold your Hero2 in preparation; you’ve read all of the literature that you could get your hands on; you’ve waited patiently with bated breath, and now the next generation of GoPro is finally here. The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition – Adventure has arrived, and we assure you that it’s worth the wait. Just looking at the external appearance of the GoPro Hero3 Black Edition, the difference in iterations couldn’t be more night and day. The camera has been reduced in size by 30%, and the camera weight was reduced by 25%. In fact, the Hero3 tips the scales at an alarmingly low 2.6 ounces. The camera body has received a black backing treatment, and the front now boasts a more accessible and progressive user interface. And GoPro didn’t simply stop redesigning at the camera body, the new external housing not only bolsters the durability of the body, but it’s also fully-waterproof at depths up to 197′ (60m). Now, let’s get into the guts of the Hero3. The lens makes use of a new flat design with a waterproof housing. It’s what GoPro calls a six-element aspherical lens. What does this mean? Simply put, the lens has been designed to operate evenly across more light conditions than ever before. For the camera nerds; it’s an f/2.8 -6.0 lens. So, you’ll experience sharper image quality whether it’s blisteringly bright or the sun has nearly disappeared. And in low-light conditions, specifically, you can expect twice the light performance in comparison to the Hero2. The new lens also allows Ultra-wide, Medium, and Narrow field of view modes, and you can operate the White Balance in either auto or manual modes (3000k, 5500k, 6500k, Cam Raw). Now, you can expect crystal clear resolution from sunrise to sunset. Possibly more important for your mounted shots, the lens has made huge gains in decreasing distortion, so you can say goodbye to frame-warble when the Earth is berating your rig.






REI Flash 18 Pack REI Flash 18 Pack

Ultralight and ultra-versatile, the updated REI Flash 18 Pack cleverly converts into a stuff sack simply by turning it inside out. All-purpose daypack is handy in town, on trails and for short hikes away from basecamp; turn it inside out to create a stuff sack that helps organize gear inside a big pack. Lightly padded stretch-mesh shoulder straps move freely. Removable back panel pad doubles as a sit pad; hipbelt and sternum strap can also be detached. Sternum-strap buckle doubles as a safety whistle. Interior zippered pocket secures keys and other small items. Hydration-compatible design has a hose exit port and an internal sleeve to hold a hydration reservoir (sold separately). Updated drawcord closure is designed to fully cover the top opening when cinched tight. The REI Flash 18 Pack also has 2 daisy chains that let you attach items on the front.









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