For the love ofAdventure
By Stephanie Kendrick
Assistant Features Editor
You've heard the exchange: "Why did you climb the mountain?"
"Because it was there."
Emma Himeno thinks the cliche misses the point. The mountain is there for everyone, she says, but it takes a special person to climb it.
"You have to have an adventurers spirit," she says, and she should know. Himeno, 85, is a member of The Adventurers Club of Honolulu.
She is an avid photographer and a world traveler, drawn to the more remote areas of the globe. But she finds camaraderie through the club, founded in 1954 in the spirit of adventure. The club was modeled after the original Adventurer's Club, founded in New York City in 1912.
The Adventurer's Club of Honolulu meets twice a month for presentations by members and guests on their travels. Recent presentations included a movie of a 1953 tiger hunt with an Indian maharajah presented by the club's sole remaining charter member, Howard Liljestrand; and a presentation on mountain climbing in 1997 and 1998 in the Peruvian High Andes by guest speaker Fred Mackenzie.
Theoretically, individuals as young as 21 years old may join the club, but few 21-year-olds would be worthy of membership. To qualify, an individual must have experienced adventure in the areas of hunting, travel, research, exploration or war; or have accomplished outstanding success in the arts or sciences.
The 120 members of the Honolulu club range in age from about 40 to 88, "people who have faced the challenge," said Himeno, who joined the club in 1990. She had been invited to give a slide show on her 1980 dog-sledding trip to Greenland. After the presentation she was asked to join.
Himeno was born in California to Japanese immigrants. She moved to Hawaii in 1940, and was among the six or so graduates of the University of Hawaii's first class of library science students. She worked as a librarian for the downtown and Kaneohe branches of the state library system until her retirement 20 years ago.
Himeno, who speaks English and Japanese, is now studying French to keep her mind busy. She looks to travel for the same kind of stimulation.
"It has to be a challenge or an adventure to me," she said. "I don't want to go where everyone else goes."
And she doesn't.
Himeno's adventures have included trips to the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland with someone who had done a study of the area; to Finland, to see the reindeer in Lapland; to Norway, where she took a boat trip to within 600 miles of the North Pole. She has been camping in Timbuktu, the Sahara Desert and along the Stikine River in British Columbia. "Hardly anyone lived along the river in 1977," she said.
She has been on two archeological digs through Earth Watch; one in Carthage, Tunisia and one in Ghana, West Africa. "It was just something interesting to do," said Himeno.
She took her most physically demanding trip in the summer of 1983 to Ellesmere Island in Canada's Northwest Territories. She hiked Greenlander Mountain, 900 miles from the North Pole. There were no trails. She could see patterns where the ice was breaking on the water, but it was still so cold her guides were not sure a supply boat was going to be able to reach area communities before winter returned.
Himeno has had to start thinking about what her body can handle. "I am 85 years old so I cannot do what I was once able to do."
Though she usually begins planning months before a trip, she doesn't have firm plans for this year. She is considering another trip to the Northwest Territories, one that would involve boating down the McKensie River, or one to South Africa.
The idea of sharing experiences with people like Himeno brought Alex Malahoff to The Adventurer's Club.
The chairman of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Ocean Engineering Department and director of Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, Malahoff has been a member of the club for several years. Although he has traveled widely on land, his presentations usually involve his work on the ocean floor. He explored the hydrothermal vents on the Galapagos Ridge aboard the Alvin submersible in the early 1980s. More recently, he has recorded the development of Lo'ihi, the seamount forming off the southeast shore of the Big Island.
The exciting thing about ocean-floor exploration is everything you see is something no human has ever seen before, he said.
Malahoff's taste for adventure began early. He was born in Russia, but raised in New Zealand. His interest in travel dovetails with his interest in nature, which he regards as a product of his upbringing. New Zealand is an outdoors country, said Malahoff. "You live outside. Home is where you go to sleep," he said.
He went on his first adventures in high school. He and the other members of the school hiking club trekked to the top of two active volcanoes, first Nagauruhoe, then Ruapehu. Then he hiked the glaciers in the Southern Alps. The adventures exposed him to extreme climates and at 16 he decided to go into geophysics. "Studying Mother Earth, that's what I am really interested in," said Malahoff.
He moved to Hawaii 35 years ago to teach at UH, but has spent about 13 of those years in Washington, D.C., at a variety of ocean-related government jobs.
He enjoys being reminded through travel of the diversity of the world's cultures. It's a craving partly assuaged by spending time with his fellow adventurers.
"One of (the club members) gave a talk about China in the '20s or '30s and living out there as a missionary under Chinese warlords," said Malahoff. "The presentations are first class."
Virtually all of Alex Malahoff's travels are work-related. But the nature of his work, scientific exploration, leads to some fairly spectacular business trips.
On one such adventure, he and a colleague were investigating a manganese deposit in a remote area of China near the Vietnam border. They were in a beautiful village, mountains sticking up like needles all around. He and his colleague were the first foreigners most residents of the mining town had ever seen.
"I was setting up my camera to take a picture of these duck ponds. Very picturesque, very bucolic," said Malahoff. When along walked a Chinese girl herding ducks into a pond. As she passed she said, "Good afternoon, gentlemen."
Malahoff was stunned. He stopped the girl and asked where she had learned to speak English. Her answer was the local school.
Malahoff asked her take them to the school, which turned out to be the regional center of education for children up to the age of 13.
They walked in and there were the lessons up on the boards, math, physics and English. They found the English teacher, who "was absolutely flabbergasted, literally speechless," said Malahoff, because he had never met an English speaker.
The teacher had taught himself the language through tapes at the request of his pupils. When he had asked them what they wanted to learn, their response had been, "Learn English and go to Meiguo to make money." In the area dialect, Meiguo means "beautiful country," used in reference to America.
According to Emma Himeno, the most spectacular thing she has ever done was travel to base camp on the north side of Mount Everest, elevation 17,000 feet.
Most people who approach Everest do so from Nepal, said Himeno. In 1985, she traveled into Tibet to get there. At the time, while it was very easy to get into Nepal, Tibet was much more selective about who could come in.
"Tibet was the hardest trip I have ever taken," she said. "It was very, very primitive conditions."
Himeno just saw a slide show of a recent trip to Tibet.
"I was so devastated to see how the Chinese have completely changed Tibet," she said. Himeno added she could have understood the changes if the Tibetans themselves had wanted to modernize, but was disturbed that the Chinese had imposed development on the native population.
The Adventurer's Club
March 4: Hawaii's Mysterious Monk, The Plight of the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Shannon Aitkinson of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology talks about the history and habitat of this endangered mammal.
March 18: Marine Life of the Solomon Islands' Coral Reefs. Bruce A. Carlson, director of the Waikiki Aquarium, presents a video of a 1998 diving trip to the Solomon Islands.
Time: Drinks at 6 p.m., dinner at 6:45, program at 8 p.m.
Place: Queen Kapiolani Hotel
Call: Dorothy or Raymond Joyce at 373-1706. Reservations must be made two days in advance.
READBooks and periodicals for the active mind
Shore Fishes of Hawaii John E. Randall, University of Hawaii Press. $19.95, paperback.
Plain fish, tropical fish, small fish, big fish -- all and more are explored in "Shore Fish of Hawaii," by local icthyologist John E. Randall. A definitive guide targeted at divers and snorkelers, it offers all marine enthusiasts a taste of the sea.
The 201-page "Shore" covers about 340 fishes, includes brief information on all and is accompanied by colorful pictures. A glossary also is included.
For more information, call Steve Hirashima of University of Hawaii Press at 956-8698.
GEARWhat's new in recreational equipment
Billfold's slim but you need a new pair of clogs for the championships this week?
Surprise! Shoe prices have just gone up -- anywhere from .2 percent to 9 percent, depending on the sport you play.
According to the National Sporting Goods Association, baseball and softball shoes showed the highest increase in average price for sport/athletic footgear in 1998, to around $43.03. Bowling shoes had the biggest decrease, down 8.5 percent to $32.62 in 1998.
Golf shoes remained the most expensive shoe at $56.30 on the average in 1998.
Overall, the average price of all athletic and sport footgear increased 1.1 percent, as compared to 6.9 percent in 1997.
Other changes in average price include aerobic shoes at $41.92, up .6 percent; basketball shoes at $55.48, down .2 percent, and cross training shoes, up .3 percent at $50.09.
CALENDARAll kinds of outdoor things to do
SPECIALSurf & Ski Pyramid Rock Beach Bash: 10th annual amateur surfing and body boarding contest will be on one of the following weekends: Saturday-Sunday or March 13-14 at Pyramid Rock Beach, Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base. The weekend with the best surf and weather conditions will be selected for the competition. Meets begin at 7 a.m. both days. Divisions include men's, women's, 14 and younger, 15-19 year olds and adults. Limited space. Entries accepted on first come/first serve basis. Cost: $20-$35. Entry forms available on base, at local surf shops, or call 254-7655. To find out which weekend the event will take place, participants must call 254-7655 the Thursday prior to each weekend.
Nuuanu Valley walk: Scott Burlington of The Clean Air Team leads a tour around the valley, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays, March-May. Mett at the Mahatma Gandhi Statue under the big banyan tree near the Honolulu Zoo entrance. Participants will take the bus to Nuuanu. Cost: $10 plus bus fare/pass. Call 948-3299.
Self-defense: Melodee Meyer and David Wheaton will teach women how to defend themselves, 1-3 p.m. March 14, Martial Arts Fitness Center, 1007 Waimanu. Wear loose, comfortable clothing. Free but limited space. Register at 732-5385.
MARATHONS/RACESBiathlon: Fort DeRussy event, 7:30 a.m. Saturday on the grounds of Hale Koa Hotel, Waikiki. Participants will do a 1K swim followed by a flat, scenic run. A keiki biathlon for children ages 13 and younger can also participate. Their event begins at 8:30 a.m. and consists of a 1/2K swim and 1/2K run. Cost: $20-$25. Entry forms available at The Point Health Club in Hale Koa Hotel; or in Hawaii Race magazine. For information or to volunteer to help, call 955-9151.
"Straub Hawaii Women's 10K Run/Walk": 6.2 mile race for females ages 6 and up, 7 a.m. Sunday, Kapiolani Park. Warm-ups begin at 6:15 a.m. Cost: $30-$35. Packet pickup, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Liberty House, Ala Moana, 2nd floor. Registration will also be taken at the packet pickup and from 6-6:30 a.m. on the morning of the race at the race site. Call Michelle Jerin Shirai at 522-4395.
Billie Tang will talk about "Strategies to Prevent Running Injuries" at a pre-race clinic, 7-8:30 p.m. tomorrow at NikeTown. Tang is a physical therapist, sports certified specialist and certified athletic trainer. Free.
AIDS Walk: Life Foundation's ninth annual 5K walk, 9 a.m. March 14. Route begins at Waikiki bandstand. Runners can participate on the same day, start time is 6 a.m. No registration fee but walkers with $100 in sponsorships will receive a T-shirt if registration forms are submitted by March 8. Registration required. Forms available at 521-2437, Ext. 238 or connect to http://www.aidswalk hawaii.org.
Hairstylists from Supercuts will also be at the bandstand, 8 a.m.-noon offering $10 haircuts. Proceeds benefit the Life Foundation.
Maui Marathon: 26.2 mile run, March 21 from Kahului to Kaanapali. Call 1-800-245-9229 or (808) 661-3271.
HIKESPahole Natural Area Reserve: Five-mile, challenging hike with Dr. Steve Montgomery, Saturday. Cost: $7. Reservations required. Call 955-0100.
Hawaii Loa: Advanced hike with Ron Fenstemacher, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. Meet at Kawaikui Beach Park's parking lot at 8:15 a.m. Cost: $9. Limited enrollment. Wear footwear for wet/muddy areas (running shoes not OK), long pants, sunscreen and hat. Also bring rain-gear, lunch and plenty water. Binoculars and cameras welcomed. Register at 988-7378.
Ulupaina: Four-mile, intermediate hike with Joyce Tomlinson, 9 a.m. Saturday. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Bring lunch and water, and wear good shoes and appropriate clothing. Cost: $2. Call Tomlinson at 674-1459.
Honouliuli Preserve: Nature Conservancy of Hawaii's interpretive hike, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Saturday along the Palikea Trail. For hikers ages 13 and up. Strenuous. Refundable $5 deposit required. Reserve at 537-4508.
Kawai Nui Marsh Dike: Marsh muckers ages 6 and up can enjoy a one and a half mile stroll around the marsh and play a Hawaiian game, Sunday. Dip nets will be available. Cost: $7. Reservations required. Call 955-0100.
Peacock Flats to Mt. Kaala Lookout: Six-mile, intermediate hike with Steve Poor, 8 a.m. Sunday. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Bring lunch and water, and wear good shoes and appropriate clothing. Cost: $2. Call Poor at 638-8387.
Moanalua: Ten-mile, intermediate hike with Ken Suzuki, 8 a.m. March 14. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Bring lunch and water, and wear good shoes and appropriate clothing. Cost: $2. Call Suzuki at 845-4691.
CONTINUINGBox car racing: Training track and workshop, 4-8 p.m. Fridays; and 1-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays (except race days), 1200 Waimano Home Road, Warehouse #22. Admission: $7, one driver; $12, family of up to four drivers. Call 947-3393.
Hash House Harriers: Social runs with Aloha group 3 p.m. Saturdays; call 948-AHHH (948-2444). Or Honolulu group 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays; call 948-HASH (948-4274).
Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden: Learn about rain forest plants 10 a.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. Sundays. Free. Bring walking shoes, bug repellent, rain gear and a picnic. Or, "catch and release" some talapia, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. first weekend of each month. Call 233-7323 for reservations.
The Wheel Thing: Inline skating classes. Register at 487-5283.
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