There were a bunch of trails discovered, and lots cleared. And there was certainly a big and obvious surge of new people around the island setting aside their "rubbah slippahs" for some good 'ole hiking shoes. Not that it's a bad thing. Getting sweaty and dirty in the mountains is a hell of a good time when you're with your buddies. But with more people on the trails, mountain rescues were noticeably frequent and all over the news. At one point I remember there being over forty rescues in one month, all hiking related: poor HFD.
With all drama aside, 2011 was definitely the year of exploration for us. From our backpack trek on an outer island, to a gluch with not a single human footprint, to a ridge that only goats trample on, to a spot on a local TV show, and to some pictures featured in Hawaii Magazine, I'd say we covered a lot ground, literally and figuratively speaking.
Despite the exposure, 2011 was the year with the lowest page views. Don't get me wrong, though. The site was booming with the highest visitor traffic on record for Island Trails in the first seven months or so this year. But recently, the page views have taken a dramatic nosedive. Why? Part of the reason is that I'm too lazy nowadays to scrounge up pics, edit video, force a write-up through the keyboard, and immediately post what recent hikes we've done, leaving those who visit Island Trails regularly to give up on future updates. (Sorry, guys. I'll try my best to speed up the updates.) But the main reason for the site's low visitor traffic is the influx of new hiking blogs. Research an Oahu trail on Google, and you'll have more then enough options to browse through. Island Trails is almost four years old. Who wants to read a hiking post about Kuli'ou'ou Ridge that's almost four years old? I wouldn't. We all want fresh info. Fresh pics. Fresh video. "What is there now?" "What wasn't there before?" "Is the trail even open?" Probably not.
With that said, look for Island Trails to post hikes we haven't done yet and maybe even redo those trails we've done and posted before. We haven't completed every trail yet; we still have a lot more to go. Shit, I haven't even stepped foot on Bowman or Aiea Ridge yet! So with the new year upon us -- and the new GoPro2 HD Hero in my pack -- it looks like we got some work to do. We met and hiked with a lot of great people in 2011, all of whom we will have long-standing friendships with for as long as we have our two legs. Hopefully 2012 will be the same, if not better. Looking forward to it. Aloha!