The High School Hikers Program
of the Sierra Club, Hawaii Chapter

October 1997 Newsletter

VOLUME 13 NO. 1, Editor: Adaline Kam


by Tammy Ing , Castle High School Hiking Club

During the past summer, Castle High School Hiking Club members took part in the Ka'u Desert Service Project on the Big Island. It was sponsored by the Hawaii'i Service Trip Program an activity section of the Sierra Club. The trip was from Saturday, July 5 to Sunday, July 13. The main purpose of the service project was to help the Volcanoes National Park rebuild fences that protect precious native vegetation from goats.

We stayed at the Ainahou Ranch House for the two weekends. It was a beautiful, isolated cabin, with no running water and no electricity. For most of us, it was the first time we ever had to use an outhouse; not a happy experience. It was kind of smelly and scary to use at night. Our portable showers were freezing, but any shower was good.

Dr. Scott Rowland, our trip coordinator and guide, took us to various significant, scenic spots on the island. He's a volcanologist so he knew all the right places to take us. On the first weekend, we visited places like the Jaggar Museum, sulfur banks, the Kilauea Visitor Center, Pu'ukeahi, a lava flow that covered the town of Kapoho, a geothermal well, and the new flow over Kalapana. We even went hiking on Sunday night to see the glow over Pu'u O'o. Scott was a great tour guide because he was able to teach us the history and gave us interesting information about the spots that we went to.

Monday through Friday was spent working on the fence in the hot Ka'u Desert. We camped in army tents and slept on cots. Night time was a bit chilly, but we liked clipping the wire to the fence posts, scrubbing rust off of old poles, and setting posts into the ground. The work was hard, but we enjoyed it. The people were really friendly and helpful. We also had our share of kitchen duty. Most of our meals were meatless and fat-free, because our cook is a vegetarian. It was an unforgettable experience. Sometimes, the park workers would share their food with us too. Yummy!

On Friday, after we finished work, broke down camp, and said our good-byes to the park workers, we went to Punalu'u Beach, located on the southern part of the Big Island. We went swimming, played in the soft, black sand, and even saw Hawaiian sea turtles. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

The last Saturday and Sunday of our trip, we spent hiking both days. On Saturday, we hiked for about 10.2 miles on the Naulu Trail and the Napau Trail. In the beginning part of the hike, we walked through large lava fields where there wasn't much of a trail. We followed stacks of rocks, that acted as markers, called ahus. Our hike ended on a ledge overlooking the Napau Crater. In the distance we could see steaming vents from Pu'u O'o, a beautiful sight.

On Sunday, the last day of our trip, we hiked out to see the lava flowing from Pu'u O'o. We poked the lava with sticks and got to watch Scott collect samples. The lava was really hot, but that didn't bother us.

All in all, it was a very fun and educational service project. We also did our share to help protect endangered native plants, which made us feel good. I think the trip was worthwhile and many of us would like to go again next year.


Hey students! Are you interested in the environment and want to meet others with the same passion? Here's a fun way to learn about the Hawaii Service Trip Program. Hikes led by HSTP members are offered every Second Saturday of the month. Meet 8am at Church of the Crossroads back parking lot. Call the leader or see Jim Yuen for more information.



The State Environmental Council is soliciting essays from Hawaii's high school students for publication in their 1997 annual report. Essays are to address the question: What is the most significant environmental issue facing Hawai'i today, and what should be done about it? Essays must be typed, double-spaced, up to 500 words long, and must be received by Dec. 1, 1997. Send to Hawai'I Nature Center; 2131 Makiki Heights Drive; Honolulu, Hawaii 96822.



The biggest High School Hikers event of the year is in the works. Scheduled for President's Day weekend we will be camping at Pupukea on the North Shore. If you'd like to help, come to our next meeting. Please see your advisor for more information

HSH Newsletter Info

HSH News is a publication of High School Hikers, an activity section of Sierra Club, Hawai'i Chapter. Published once each fall, winter and spring.

Submit articles typed and double spaced with a headline, writer's name, grade, school and title.

Photos should be clear with the photographer's name, grade, school and location of photo(s) on the back or on a sheet of paper. They will be returned.

Send to:
HSH News Editor
P.O. BOX 11492 Honolulu, Hawaii 96828

Aloha, you are Hiker nu

: For Info or Comments, email HSH (at) aditl (dot) com

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