Wouldn’t it be great to get away from the freezing cold in February and escape to a tropical island in the South Pacific? Well, you can! This year, BLAZE>> will be jet-setting from NYC to the Polynesian islands of Hawai’i to bath in the sun, frolic on the beach, and backpack its magnificent landscape. So dig your summer attire out of the closet and get ready to escape the bitter cold into the Polynesian sun.
For the second part of the trip, we will be flying to the island Hawai’i (a.k.a. the Big Island)and hike the world’s largest volcano – Mauna Loa. The trip will climb to its summit of 13,679 feet and will take 3-4 nights / 4-5 days. Along the way we will pass pit craters, colorful spatter cones, and acres and acres of barren lava. We will be staying in cabins along the way and the summit lodge overlooks Moku’aweoweo, a huge desolate crater with steaming vent fissures (http://www.summitpost.org/mauna-loa-trial/235751)
THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT HIKE. You must be physically fit and have extensive backpacking experience. We will be climbing a total of 6,600ft and will likely feel the effects of altitude sickness. Temperatures go down into the 20s at night but we will be staying in cabins rather than tents. Expect snow as we reach the summit. There will be no vegetation at higher elevations so we need to take precaution to protect ourselves from the elements. You need to be prepared for winter backpacking and if some of us have issues with altitude sickness, we may need to either head back down or spend an extra day at the cabin to acclimate. Make sure you have all the proper equipment to be self sufficient. This includes food, water, and clothes – all of which must be carried in your backpack. We will practice leave-no-trace-principles to preserve the environment (http://lnt.org/learn/7-principles).
You must fly into Honolulu no later than April 4th and then take an internal flight to Hilo on April 5th. We will spend a day in Hilo and start the backpacking trip the following day. The backpacking trip will end on April 10th or 11th and you can fly back to NYC as early as April 12. The estimated cost of the trip is about $2,000. This includes flying to Hawai’i ($700), an internal flight ($150), hotels ($300), car rentals ($200), park permits and miscellaneous costs. We will try to further reduce costs but yes, this is an expensive trip so start saving your pennies.
If you are interested, please RSVP and you will automatically be placed on the waiting list. Space is limited and once you are moved off the waiting list, you must submit a non-refundable deposit of $300 to contribute towards group booking costs. Preference will be given to more active BLAZE members and their level of backpacking experience.