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Usher in the new year with Oʻahu's annual 'First Day Hike'

Image captured from "First Day Hike" on Jan. 1, 2020.
Image captured from "First Day Hike" on Jan. 1, 2020.

A national program to get people to start the new year on a hiking trail returns to Hawaiʻi on Sunday after a two-year hiatus.

The "First Day Hike" is an annual event held by state parks nationwide. Hawaiʻi began participating in 2012 and will celebrate its 10-year anniversary on Sunday, taking into account the years it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Hawaiʻi’s event will take place at sunrise on the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, also known as the Makapuʻu Lighthouse Trail on Oʻahu.

"It is a unique and moving experience. It’s a spiritual way to usher in a new year," said Curt Cottrell, Administrator of the Division of State Parks.

Kaiwi Coast makapuu l
Hundreds of people woke up to hike up the Kaiwi Coast on Jan. 1, 2020.

The 1-mile hike takes visitors to the summit overlooking the Kaiwi Channel between Oʻahu and Molokaʻi.

The hike is on a paved road, suitable for all experience levels according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

As the sun rises, hikers can listen to pū blowing by Gabriel Spencer of Ke Leo O Laka I ka Hikina O Ka La, followed with an oli by Dr. Sam Gon of Halau Mele.

There will also be a taiko drum performance by the Taiko Center of Pacific at the summit following the sunrise.

Gates to the park open at 5:30 a.m. and sunrise is at 7:10 a.m. Flashlights and warm clothes are recommended, as the trail may be dark and windy.

Parking is limited at the trailhead, so carpooling is encouraged and overflow vehicles can park along the highway across from the entrance.

Dogs can join the hike as long as they are leashed.

For more information, click here.

Zoe Dym was a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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