Generations Magazine - Hiking for Health or Just for Pure Joy - Image 01

Hiking is a great activity for seniors! I’m 72 and really enjoy it. Several of my fellow hikers are in their upper 70’s and are still going strong. One, at 83, still hikes five miles on the beach several times a week.

Some people hike mainly for exercise and walk vigorously hoping to work up a good sweat. Others prefer a more leisurely pace and stop often to take pictures, enjoying their commune with nature. While you can see much from your car as you drive along the highways, you can only see the finer details of nature while walking. And there are many sights not available from your car, such as hidden waterfalls, moss covered trees, and the colorful hills in the center of Haleakala Crater.

You can choose from a wide variety of hikes ranging from easy to difficult. On the easy end of the scale are simple beach walks or strolls along scenic country roads. My favorite Maui hike, moderately strenuous, is the Pipiwai Trail within Haleakala National Park. It has a wonderful stretch of bamboo forest with three-inch thick stalks, 50 feet high. The 11 mile Haleakala Crater hike may be difficult, but well worth the effort. Scenery within the crater is wonderful and truly otherworldly. While 20-somethings may do this hike in four hours, I myself plan on at least eight hours.

Generations Magazine - Hiking for Health or Just for Pure Joy - Image 02

Bob Chang, Bev Brill, Ginny Kiick and Diana Douglas of Mauna Ala Hiking Club take a welcome rest in Haleakala Crater.

There are several books that list hikes in Hawai‘i, but it is even better to find local groups to hike with that can provide guidance and companionship.

You can join meetup.com on the internet to find hiking groups in your area. Sierra Club, www.sierraclubhawaii.com/groups.php, leads hikes on all four main islands. Contact the hike leader to make sure the hike is right for you.

Never hike alone on isolated trails; if you slip and injure yourself, you could be in serious trouble. Wear proper shoes and clothing, hat and sunscreen. Bring a snack and lots of water. While cell phones won’t work in some areas, they can help you out of trouble in others.

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