Under clear skies and a nearly full moon, an estimated 500 people participated in the annual First Day Hike up the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline. They watched the first, spectacular sunrise of 2018 at 7:09 a.m.
The hike, in its seventh year, is organized by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of State Parks, which takes place concurrently in state parks all across the nation.
State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell has organized Hawaii’s First Day Hike since its beginning, and the event has grown from rather modest beginnings to a repeat bucket list item for many local folks and visitors from all over the world.
As part of the event, participants also enjoyed a multicultural celebration of the new year — with Gabriel Spencer blowing a pu (conch shell) in all four cardinal directions at the very moment of sunrise, followed by a native Hawaiian chant from Halau Mele; a performance by a pair of bagpipers from Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaii, followed by another one by young drummers from the Taiko Center of the Pacific.
“The celebration of our local host culture, combined with Asian and European cultures in such an amazing setting really does give you chicken skin,” said Cottrell. “No one ever walks away from our First Day Hike disappointed.”