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Have camera, will hike

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    An endangered Hawaiian kahuli (tree snail), whose shells were once used to make lei.
    Backpackers hike along the rugged Na Pali coastline to Kalalau on Kauai.
    Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club officers (1926) posed on the side of Koko Crater Arch.
    Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club officers posed this year on the other side of the Koko Crater arch, mimicking an image taken in 1926 from the other side of the arch (see next photo).
    Hikers shrouded in mist make their way to Konahuanui, the highest peak on the Koolaus.
    Close-up of a red ohia lehua in full bloom.

From the peaks of the Koolaus on Oahu to the depths of Kalalau Valley on Kauai, members of the Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club have hiked them all.

The historical images of their journeys into nature — from yesterday and today — have been captured in "100 Years of Hiking," a newly opened photo exhibit at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Hamilton Library.

The photo exhibit, celebrating the group’s centennial, features 112 images taken decades ago by past club president Ray Jerome Baker and more recently by John Hoover, Metod Lebar and others.

"It celebrates hiking in Hawaii and the history of the club," said curator and nature photographer Nathan Yuen, whose photos are also on display.

Particularly striking is a black-and-white photo of the Koko Crater arch taken in 1926 and shown side by side with a matching photo taken this year. Geologically speaking, the arch hasn’t changed much, and neither has the spirit of adventure and camaraderie demonstrated by hiking club members in both images.


Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club photo exhibit
» When: Now through Aug. 30; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, noon to 6 p.m. Sundays
» Where: University of Hawaii-Manoa Hamilton Library Bridge Gallery
» Cost: Free
» Information:

It’s a New Year’s Day tradition for members to invite the public to join them in scaling the side of Koko Crater from Kalanianaole Highway, with a stunning view of the East Oahu coastline serving as reward for the effort.

Other photos in the exhibit show Konahuanui shrouded by mist and a panoramic vista from the top of the Koolaus overlooking Kahana Bay in Kaneohe, framed by red ohia lehua blooms.

To get there, Yuen climbed 2,800 feet from the back of Moanalua Valley.

Another photo captures the Kalalau mountains as seen during an 11-mile hike along Kauai’s rugged Na Pali coastline.

Yuen fell in love with hiking and then was inspired to record the images of nature around him. He shoots with a Canon, sometimes climbing steep cliffs to get the perfect angle.

"We live in Hawaii, which is one of the most spectacular places in the world," he said. "This is home to native plants and animals found only in Hawaii, and the only way to find them is to go out to the forest. The amazing thing is that it’s all right here, in our back yard."

Yuen’s passion is to capture images of the endangered Hawaiian kahul (tree snail) and native plants, particularly the ohia lehua.

Also on display at Hamilton Library are a vintage first-aid kit, compasses and pocket watches, courtesy of the Booth family, which has been active in the club since the 1930s.

The Hawaiian Trail and Mountain Club was founded in 1910 by Alexander Hume Ford, also a founding member of the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1908. Ford sought to preserve old Hawaii trails at a time when many were being lost.

Lorrin A. Thurston, the late publisher of the Commercial Pacific Advertiser, was an avid hiker who served on the hiking club’s first board of directors.

Besides forging a number of trails over the years, including the Godek-Jaskulski Trail and Puu Manamana, volunteers from the club regularly clear existing trails of overgrown weeds so that others may continue to enjoy hiking them.

Because of their extensive knowledge of island trails, club members are sometimes called upon to rescue wayward hikers. At least 16 people have been rescued with the group’s help, the most well-publicized case being the rescue of two Danish women stranded for eight days at Kahana Valley in August 1999.

The women had climbed to the summit of Ohulehule above the valley but were unable to find their way back down. Searches by civilian, police and fire crews proved fruitless, but on a hunch, hiking club members Ken Suzuki, Jim Pushaw, Thomas Yoza and Naomi Nasu climbed the peak and found the women.


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