Posted on: January 10, 2012

FREE Whalewatch and Natural History Hikes Offered

As part of the Maui Whale Festival, the public is invited to sign up for a free Whalewatch and Natural History Hike led by education staff from Pacific Whale Foundation. The hikes are offered on Wednesday mornings, on January 25, February 22,  March 28 and April 25, 2012. They are free, but each hike is limited to just 13 participants. 

Participants will meet at 7:00 am at Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Store at the Ma'alaea Harbor Shops. Pacific Whale Foundation will provide transportation to the trailhead for the Lahaina Pali Trail. The hiking will begin at approximately 7:30 am.
 
The group will travel 5.5 miles on foot, stopping to enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and any whales in the area. The natural and cultural history of the area will be presented by the Pacific Whale Foundation guide at points along the trail. It's a one-way hike -- Pacific Whale Foundation's van will meet the group at the end of the trail, to transport everyone back to Ma'alaea.
 
"This is a rigorous hike with a 1500 ft. elevation change, so we are limiting this adventure to adults over age 15 who are fit, experienced hikers," says Merrill Kaufman, Education Program Manager at Pacific Whale Foundation. "Please plan to bring at least 2 liters of water with you, plus a snack or light lunch."
 
Pacific Whale Foundation is offering the option of pre-ordering a sack lunch including fresh fruit, granola bar and sandwich (either turkey or veggie on foccacia bread) for $8. Pre-orders will be accepted until 5 pm the day before, so the lunch will be ready when the hike begins. 
 
Participants are advised to wear cool clothing and sturdy hiking shoes, and to bring hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. There are no bathrooms on the trail. 
 
To make a reservation, please call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811 ext. 1. 
 
These hikes are made possible with the cooperation of Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources and Hawaii's Na Ala Hele Trail and Access System
 
The Whalewatch and Natural History Hikes are part of the Maui Whale Festival, which is also hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation and takes place from late November through mid-May. The Maui Whale Festival celebrates and honors the thousands of humpback whales that migrate to Maui each winter. Maui is the principal mating and calving area of North Pacific humpback whales in the United States. It is the place of new beginnings for the next generation of whales. Through fun and educational events, the Maui Whale Festival raises awareness about these cherished marine mammals and inspires the public to care for the vital and unique whale habitat encompassed by the four islands of Maui County. To learn more, visit www.mauiwhalefestival.org.