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Hikers invited to mark first sunrise of New Year at Makapuu Lighthouse lookout

  • COURTESY DLNR

    Taiko drummers at the First Day Hike 2017.

More than 700 early birds are expected to participate in the annual First Day Hike up to the Makapuu Lighthouse lookout above the Kaiwi shoreline at dawn Jan. 1 as part of a nationwide celebration of America’s state parks.

All 50 states will participate in the seventh annual national event that encourages everyone to celebrate the New Year with a guided outdoor exploration, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

“Our hike is perhaps the best attended in the country,” said DLNR Division of State Parks administrator Curt Cottrell. “Sunrise will be greeted and heralded in with a pu (blowing of a conch shell) in the four cardinal directions, followed by an oli and then taiko drummers. We are hoping to also have bagpipers to round off what has become a cross-cultural celebration of the New Year.”

He added that hikers might get a glimpse of humpback whales breaching and frolicking in the ocean below, and weather permitting, be the last to see the sunrise in America on New Year’s Day.

Hikers should dress in layers, bring rain gear, a hat, appropriate footwear, food and water, in addition to reef-safe sunscreen and sunglasses for the round-trip, two-mile hike up to the lighthouse lookout. In 2015, the trail was renovated and repaved, with new lookout points.

The gate at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline opens at 5:30 a.m., while sunrise is expected at 7:09 a.m.

During the event, park rangers, naturalists and volunteers will share their knowledge of each state’s unique natural and cultural features. Participants are encouraged to share their adventures on social media with #FirstDayHikes.

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