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Hike with the experts
into the magic of nature...
OUR GUIDES | RAVE REVIEWS
It is our guides who make Hike Maui the best.
Always the top guides in the business, they are renowned for their knowledge of Hawaiian botany, geology, culture and history. Their mission is to teach people about Hawai`i, and to do so while having a fun adventure. Anyone can walk you through the woods–when you have a great guide, it is a day to remember.
Often described in the press as “walking encyclopedias”, Hike Maui guides receive extensive training, both book learning and on the trails. They also are trained in Wilderness First Responder and CPR.
Let them take you on a safe and amazing adventure.
She came to Hike Maui seeking an office job, but, we realized immediately that Akiko would be a great guide. She’s athletic, adventuresome, engaging, articulate and fun. She readily jumps off rope swings and plunges into waterfalls - an outdoorsy local girl who grew up on the Big Island dancing hula and paddling a canoe.
Akiko tried out the Mainland for a few years, going to school in Austin, Texas, to get an associate degree in aviation science. There she became a flight attendant and a pilot. And, she introduced her culture to Austin by starting an outrigger canoe club. But, finally she returned to her roots, bringing husband Harry and daughter Maile with her. With Maile in school, mom could start work again, though she insists, “I don’t feel like hiking is work at all. I love meeting visitors and sharing my aloha.”
His first name is Dan, but his friends call him Bocher (sounds like soccer). Since he’ll be your new best friend during your adventure, you should call him Bocher too!
Bocher’s friendliness with people and the outdoors is a family affair. He spent his upbringing outdoors, at the family cabin in the woods of Wisconsin, hiking, hunting and enjoying all kinds of shenanigans in wide-open spaces. Since then he has worked with kids, studied psychology and followed his sister to Maui, where he discovered the jungles of Hana and the heights of Haleakala. His background makes him a great all-ages guide; his commitment to safety, comfort and having fun make him the perfect best friend. What are his favorite trips? Those with people who are ready to experience something special, and maybe get a little dirty on the way. And then there are the free hugs he passes out at the end of every trip.
CHRIS (‘Ula ‘Ula)
His Hawaiian friends call him ‘Ula ‘Ula, which means“red” (Chris’ golden red hair is your clue). He hikes with an infectious spirit, all the while educating you about his duo loves (ocean and land).
He’s a long way from New York, but, he says: "I’m an island guy -- from Manhattan to Maui." What brought him to Maui? "Common sense," he insists. "I wanted mountains and oceans. I have everything I need here."
Chris has been vice principal of a Jesuit high school, a ski instructor in Vail, the activity director of a luxury hotel in Lana’i, and a Hawaiian canoe guide.
His biggest adventure was surviving six days lost in five-foot deep snow and blizzard conditions at 10,000 feet near Yosemite in 2002. His rescue made the news, and made him happy to head back to Hawai’i – "where I’m home to stay."
“Is she always this enthusiastic?” one client asked. Yes, she is. Dawn loves to talk, loves to laugh, loves to share, loves to teach. And she wants you to have fun. “It’s exciting teaching people surrounded by nature–which I love. It’s fun to see them jumping from waterfalls– they’re so excited and scared to do it.
“Honestly, this is the best job I’ve ever had. We’re constantly learning as guides, and the outdoors is where I’m happiest.” Before guiding, Dawn was a professional hula dancer, a part-time teacher and she coached cross country running, basketball and soccer.
“I coached because of my son Brannon and because I love seeing kids improve. Brannon’s my passion. He’s a smart kid and a really good boy, and he’s interested in the same outdoor activities as I am.”
Dawn was raised in the country on Maui in an old plantation style home. “We farmed the land: sweet potatoes, kalo, bananas. And we were always down at the ocean. We were taught to fish and throw nets. We grew up Hawaiian style.”
When we contacted Dylan's previous employer for a reference, she said: "He's your man. He's awesome." Yes he is.
Dylan is an athlete. He attended college on a swimming scholarship. He competed as an elite amateur triathlete for years; he runs several marathons a year; and he paddles canoe with a local club.
Dylan grew up in Ontario, Canada, and Raleigh, North Carolina, and he lived in Paris, France, and worked in Atlanta, Georgia. But he's "home" in Maui because, he loves: "The life style, the people, the culture -- I relate best here."
He lives on a small farm, upstairs in a barn with goats, dogs, pigs, cats and horses as his downstairs' neighbors.
By hiking every day, Dylan says he gets more in tune with the land and its cycles. "You see how things are different week to week. I really enjoy that and I love sharing it with visitors."
Eddie has worked since he was 17 -- setting tile and wood floors. He has managed flooring companies, owned his own business and reorganized many companies. “I had a reputation as a trouble shooter who could come in and fix a company,” he says. “I got really good at organizing stores and bidding jobs. For nine years i never missed on my estimate numbers.”
That was in Florida. On Maui, however, he wanted to get off the floor and onto the land. As a surfer, he considered Hawai’i to be surfing’s mecca. “Hawaiian waves have more power and more consistency and they’re larger. Surfing is like my church. It helps my mind, body and spirit.”
Eddie says Hike Maui is “a dream job -- every day is different. I get to hike and swim and learn about history and plants and geology. We’re taught so much at HIke Maui. Knowing the plants makes hiking so personal. It brings you a lot closer to nature when you understand what’s in it. I really enjoy sharing that.”
You wouldn't expect your hiking guide to speak Laotian, Vietnamese, Thai and some Chinese. Nor would you expect him to be an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. But, that's Erik, a very unusual guy. He learned the languages for his Naval Intelligence job--tracking down the bones of Vietnam War POWs and MIAs.
"We'd jump out of helicopters and search for crashed planes and clues," he explains. "We fished through the soil bucket by bucket with villagers to find bones. Then we'd send them for DNA testing to give them back to their families. We lived in the jungle for three months at a time, so I learned a lot of survival techniques. And I brought dozens of bodies back."
He left to marry and raise a family in Australia for 15 years, but, "once you've lived in Hawai'i (Navy base), you can never really leave," he said. He loves hiking for: "The recharge you get from being in the rain forest and the ability to share Maui with people from around the world."
“Bubbly and charismatic.” That’s how some clients describe Glori. Seems she is aptly named. Not just her first name, she tells us she has now become her middle name: Ka‘iwiolelo which means bones that tell the stories. In Hawai‘i, bones retain a person’s mana (spiritual essence). This was Glori’s great-grandmother’s name, and she thinks guiding “allows me to do my namesake. I’m telling people stories of this ‘aina (land).”
Glori left Hawai‘i at age nine to live in Wisconsin and she was always “anxious to get home.” Her three children agreed, but husband Troy wasn’t quite sure. On his first visit, though, he stepped off the plane, “felt the breeze hit his face and said: ‘Why don’t we live here?’ He called the breeze ‘God’s breath.’”
Previously, Glori always had management and graphics jobs, but says: “I made a pact with myself that I’d never have a desk job again. I wanted to be outside. I read Hike Maui’s website and knew this was my job. I love it. I love this island. I love teaching people about it.”
Jake learned a respect for the land in his native Molokai, where he learned to fish, hunt and craft traditional cordage from natural, sustainable materials. Ask him about Maui’s plants and trees—he’s Hike Maui’s resident arborist and can tell you all kinds of fun facts about how things are grown and used in the islands. Jake’s had plenty of practice passing on his knowledge about Hawaii and its wild side. He’s been a museum docent charged with bringing Hawaiian history to life and is a dedicated dad. "I love teaching my son about how the land provides for us as long as we serve it," he says.
Jake is no stranger to guiding all kinds of explorers to island wonders. He’s spent 12 years mountaineering and rock climbing, and long ago began sharing his personal knowledge of the wilderness with friends and visitors of all ages and abilities. Now a professional guide, Jake is excited to introduce you, too, to the magic of Maui.
There is nothing quite like Jeremy's smile -- it tells you all about his style: exuberant, boyish, caring, fun loving. He's always eager to show you one more waterfall, do one more cliff jump, detail the wonders of yet one more plant. His enthusiasm is nonstop fun and aloha. He is an "island guy" -- a mix of Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese, European.
He took a break from home to live in Minnesota and Arizona for four years. He loved it--loved the snow and snowboarding--and he found out what it's like to be a visitor. "I love visitors," he says. "Living in Hawai'i, I love sharing, passing on all the knowledge I've learned about my home."
Jeremy's son, Kanoa, born in 2000, inspires Jeremy to be so giving. "I'm raising Kanoa to be interested in nature and be in touch with his culture. As a father, I know that knowledge is worth nothing unless you share it with people."
Kate says she's a "nerd" -- one of the most academic students we've had in our guide class. Somehow she melds this studiousness with a great sense of humor and outdoorsy adventurousness. And she has a genuine sense of the ridiculous. On the trail she's knowledgeable and goofy at the same time. "You're in the jungle," she says. "You've got to have fun with it --getting goofy and having fun. Get muddy, jump off the waterfalls, take crazy photos."
Her life has always expressed these two themes: adventure and nature. Both her parents taught environmental economy and education, so she grew up with those values, studying environmental ethics and philosophy in college, but adventure also called, taking her from Upstate New York to Texas, Colorado, India and a "Semester at Sea" - around the world in 100 days. She ended up on Maui to work on an organic farm, then decided she'd like to get paid to hike. "Guiding is perfect for me. I call it my 'crazy Hawaiian adventure days.' "
He calls himself "Marko Polo." Marko is an adventurer and a scientist, and has lived in Hawai`i since 1979. He does service work for the Nature Conservancy and was on the executive board of the local Sierra Club. With a degree in marine biology from UC Berkeley, Marko spent seven years teaching high school biology and environmental science. But the adventurer kept resurfacing to take him across the globe: crewing for a year around Africa on an oil supply vessel, exploring Asia, researching plants in the Amazon. He also worked for seven years as a fire fighter, doing land and sea rescues.
He was with us full time for years, then needed to go back to his first love -- teaching science to kids. Often accused of being a big kid himself, Marko will leap off any and all rocks and waterfalls. He'll let you come out and play with him on weekends and summers when he returns to us from his school job.
"I like a good story," Nicholas says. That's why he's studying to be a history teacher --history is stories of interesting people. And, he loves Hawaiian stories. "The culture is so different --their connection to the land, the sea, their gods, their food. The gleam in their eyes, the passion they have for their land, their family, their culture –it's quite beautiful."
Nicholas is our entertainer. He produces and acts in local theater. "This goes back to story telling," he explains. "It's where story telling and art meet. A good story should change you, should move you. I love to entertain."
And so he entertains on his hikes. "I love it out there -- I'm very happy out on the trail, guiding people. Something as simple as a coconut tree, you can get someone so excited.
"I think of our valleys as museums. There's so much to see, so much to talk about. Every plant, every tree, every bird has a story." Story telling again.
Pali is our jungle girl. She grew up in a remote rainforest area of Maui, where, she says. “We live off the grid, and we kids were barefoot all the time, exploring everywhere. I felt wild and free growing up.”
But, by age 18, “I wanted to see the world.” So she spent two college years in Vancouver, then bought a round-the-world ticket and took off, returning homesick a year later. During her travels she worked in New Zealand, Australia and Spain on a sheep farm, an apple orchard and a cattle ranch.
Within no time the travel bug hit again and she spent the next two years working as a bartender in Edinburgh, Scotland. “It seemed so magical and different--it’s so old, and I love the history, myths and legends of the UK.” Until the gray skies, the cold and rain sent her back to Maui and to Hike Maui. “I was a tourist for a long time myself, so I like showing tourists my island.”
Pasco always has a quick, understated quip. He's clever and funny, but he's also serious, especially about Hawaiian and other Polynesian cultures. It's his family's tradition -- they have taught various Polynesian dances, drumming and martial arts for generations.
What he loves best about Hawai'i is the people: "The people here make you feel welcome--like my family reunions. Warmth (to explain it) seems grossly inadequate."
He likes to share that warmth by guiding: "Expect to have fun, to laugh; expect to learn. I enjoy seeing the forest for the first time in visitors' eyes. People who feel they don't have a relationship with the forest end up feeling a special connection. They're beaming smiles when we leave. It radiates from them."
Before guiding hikes on Maui, Pasco did his own hiking in California, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Oregon and Massachusetts.
At seventeen, Randy joined the Air Force to see the world. Eventually he was stationed in Hawai'i, and fell in love with the Islands. When the Air Force began downsizing, Randy opted for early retirement.
By the time Randy came to us, he was already a professional guide. He had worked as a downhill bike guide and driven luxury tour vans on the Hana Highway. He sought out Hike Maui, he says, because of its reputation. "It's the oldest hiking company in the state with the most knowledgeable guides, and it's like a family. I was always hiking on my days off, so I figured, why not get paid to do what I really like to do?"
Randy is always upbeat, always quick, generally has a corny joke to tell, and loves to inspire visitors. "Every day I am reminded of the reasons I live here," he says, "and I enjoy sharing that."
Ray has always loved adventure. In his "small kid days" (island lingo), growing up on O`ahu, he led his buddies into the ridges and valleys of Ko`olau Mountain, bushwhacking, climbing, exploring and camping. This wild man stuff continued when he grew up and joined the Army's 82nd Airborne as a reconnaissance paratrooper (spending three years jumping out of planes and helicopters).
Then he really grew up: got sensible, got married, had two kids and began working in hotel management. He kept being promoted until he "burned out," he says, "managing too many people, spending too much time at the hotel and too little time where it really counts--at home."
He found the balance he was looking for by guiding visitors for Hike Maui--adventure and service in one job. "I can be outdoors and still deal with customers. I like educating people about our culture and about nature. I like to say I'm saving the world one van-load at a time."
Sonya is a doula (a labor assistant for mothers). She studied New Zealand's successful birthing centers for six months; she wrote her master's thesis on the idea of a birthing center on Maui; and she hopes one day to spearhead such a center on Maui because: "Birth is one of the most intense experiences of someone's life. It's part of the creation process, and helping someone achieve that is inspiring."
Meanwhile, though she appears feminine and dainty, she rappels and climbs, hikes and swims, and loves the great outdoors of Maui where she was born and raised.
"When you grow up here, you have an understanding of the culture and the land. It's great to lead tours in the rain forest because the plants are your friends. I see them every day.
"We have the most incredible natural beauty here. It's awe inspiring, and, culturally, the ethnic diversity makes this a very dynamic place. I love it. It's home."
On his resume, Tony describes himself as a "good-natured outdoor type". Amen to that. No one is as easy going, as gracious and as gentlemanly as Tony. Living on Maui since 1981 has infused him with the aloha spirit. His studies of The Islands have given him a profound sense of Hawaii's history, culture and natural world. He hikes, bikes, snorkels, dives and kayaks, and he needs an outdoor job that reflects all these interests. "I also wanted to be associated with the most reputable company on island," he says.
In addition, Tony has a full-time indoor job–fine dining waiter for the evening shift at one of Wailea's best restaurants. He has been involved in restaurant work since 1979, and, as a result, is a very good cook. Tony claims to make the best banana bread on island. It's true.