I never really thought very hard about the mechanics of why Hawaii is so green. It’s not that I didn’t know that it rained a lot, only that when you think of Hawaii, you think of sun, and warm water and beautiful fishes. Not torrential rain. Turns out those tree ferns don’t water themselves, that in fact it rains every day, keeping them a luscious, dripping, soggy shade of green. With all that said, I have never had such a unique trail building experience.
For one month, my team of SCA crew leaders worked on the rim of the Kilauea Iki volcano, on possibly one of the most hiked trails in the park. Not only were we building rock steps out of ridiculously unpredictable volcanic rock, we were restoring illegal switchback cuts on the trail. The trail was so steep in places we had to wear harnesses while planting native plants and building retaining walls on the switchback cuts. We had the most unique step building experience, as we were in fact working on a volcano, and volcanoes tend to be hollow. We sent a lot of time filling in holes with small rocks and crush, so we could then place a solid step.
I will forever remember the smell of tropical flowers on the trail in the morning, the taste of wonderful, fresh baked banana bread, (with LOCAL bananas!) and being greeted with Aloha every day. And my rain gear will never be the same…
-Jessica Gunsell, Crew Leader and SCA Staff