Most of the time, I manage to exist entirely in a variety of vintage-inspired dresses: but when you’re wandering through the Hawaiian forest on a rainy day, sometimes full skirts and tulle and peter pan collars are best saved for tea parties and sunny strolls.
A vegetarian-friendly fake “leather” jacket and a mermaid shirt–paired with my hiking essential Kanken Mini–is about as intense as my fashion choices get. For a girl who spends most of her time using her outfit choices to best embody the spirit of a fairy queen or 50s starlet, this is pretty hardcore.
Appropriately, the landscapes of the area surrounding Kilauea’s caldera are rather on the hardcore side themselves. Much like a stray hobbit wandering through Mirkwood, all those who seek to traverse these trails must stay on the path: the forest hides steam vents and deep, hot volcanic holes that seem to appear out of nowhere!
The ‘Iliahi (or Sandalwood) trail leads from the Steaming Bluffs in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park through a winding forest path. As you travel, you’re surrounded by thickets of uluhe and hapu’u ferns–and occasionally, a small glimpse of the caldera will peek out through the mist and the trees.
To make it even more exciting, the trail even includes some lichen-covered, ancient-looking stairs: climbing these feels like passing through a small tunnel of leaves and green. As a child, I remember hiking the ‘Iliahi and wondering who had carved these stairs out of the living rock–to my young mind, it was obviously the work of some great civilization of forest spirits.
I may be fond of my more pastel-colored wardrobe options, but I’ll admit that I do occasionally enjoy wearing an outfit that’s ready for anything: from kneeling in Volcano mud to capture the best shot of a dew-covered fiddlehead to running down a trail to escape the next heavy shower. Happy trails, my friends!