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First Day Hike at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline set for Jan. 1 : Maui Now

First Day Hike 2023-Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (Jan. 1, 2023) PC: DLNR

As one of the largest-attended and unique First Day Hike events in the country, the trek to the summit of Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on Oʻahu on Jan. 1 for the first sunrise of the year is a go. 

The DLNR Division of State Parks participation in, and celebration of the hike began in 2012 when the First Day Hike became a nationwide event. What initially started as an idea for a local event in Norfolk County, Massachusetts by Patrick Flynn in 1992, has grown to include more than 1,000 hikes in state parks throughout the county in 2024.

This year marks the 12th anniversary of the shoreline hike in Hawai‘i, and the second First Day event since COVID caused its cancellation in 2021 and 2022.

First Day Hike 2023-Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (Jan. 1, 2023) PC: DLNR
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The Hawai‘i First Day Hike is a walk along the paved roadway to the summit of Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline that provides stunning views from mauka to makai and has attracted as many as 700 people on previous New Year’s Days.

“I feel the sunrise hike at Kaiwi is a unique and spiritually moving experience. People line up along the summit and roadway with friends and ʻohana and gaze out into the dark ocean to wait for the first sunrise of the year to ignite over the Kaiwi Channel and Molokaʻi,” said Curt Cottrell, DSP Administrator. “ 

First Day Hike 2023-Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (Jan. 1, 2023) PC: DLNR

The sunrise celebration includes the blowing of a pū (conch shell) in the four cardinal directions, an oli (chant), and a rousing taiko (Japanese drumming) performance by students from the Taiko Center of the Pacific.

First Day Hike 2023-Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (Jan. 1, 2023) PC: DLNR
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The summit viewing platform will be closed before and during sunrise to provide space for the pū, oli, and taiko drummers. It reopens after the performance.

In the event of a storm and heavy rain, the gates will be open, but the event at the summit will be canceled.

First Day Hike at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline

  • Gates to the park open at 5:30 a.m. to give provide ample time to get to the top and in position along the route for the 7:10 a.m. sunrise.
  • Staff will arrive in advance to drive to the summit with drums and performers before hikers start to ascend.
  • The paved footpath is one mile each way.
  • Flashlights, blankets, and warm clothes are strongly encouraged. In addition to darkness, Kaiwi can be windy, from top to bottom.
  • Parking is limited at the trailhead, so overflow vehicles must park along the highway. Carpooling is strongly encouraged.
  • Exercise extreme caution when crossing the highway.
  • There are no restroom facilities at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, but for this event, DSP will provide portable toilets at the trailhead.
  • Please carry out all rubbish. Dog owners are asked to bring bags to clean up dog droppings and are required to leash their dogs.
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“Hawaiʻi’s First Day Hike ‘Ohana and State Parks are excited to continue this stirring event at Kaiwi. With the pū heralding the sunrise, an oli to honor the rising sun, and thundering taiko to stir the heart and galvanize our resolutions and intent for the upcoming year, it’s a stimulating and memorable start of a new year, and a chicken skin experience,” Cottrell added.

First Day Hike 2023-Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline (Jan. 1, 2023) PC: DLNR

Source: Maui News

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