hiking in guam

Asan Falls

I’ve been trying to do one to two small hikes/walks a week just to get some fresh air and see something new. We’ve been getting good use out of our trail book, so I guess the money was well spent. Some of these trails have no trailhead so it would be impossible to find, if not for the book.

Yes, we found ANOTHER waterfall. I had no clue there were this many on Guam. I guess I can check that off my bucket list for Guam (if I had one). This time our adventures led us to Asan. The trail started behind some newly constructed homes, which I was worried that they would someday restrict access to the falls. The book said the hike would be very difficult, but to the top of the waterfall it was very easy. It looked as though the way to get down to the larger falls would be difficult.

DSCN5341

We again didn’t come prepared to swim so we just sat at the top of the falls and looked down. Another peaceful retreat away from our day-to-day life in Tumon. From here I couldn’t hear anything but the water falling and frogs. From the top of the road I would never have guessed that this beauty was here. More Guamanian mysteries.

I felt that this was the perfect spot for a doughnut break (everywhere is a great place for doughnuts).

DSC_0011

The other, larger waterfall further down, which we were unable to locate a way to get to, has a 25 foot drop. I’m sure we will go back and try to find it. We found this rope that Peter used to climb down and check things out. The swimming hole looked very deep, but probably not deep enough to dive.

DSC_0021

After that we drove to a little viewpoint on Nimitz Hill and watched the sunset. That’s our Guam life!

DSCN5363

Fonte Dam

A few months ago I purchased The Best Tracks on Guam: A Guide to the Hiking Trails from Bestseller bookstore. I contemplated buying the book for awhile because it was $25 and I thought that I could just go online and look up these hikes for free. Though, every time I’d go to the bookstore I’d sneak peaks at the book to get more detailed directions for hikes I was interested in. Since most of the hikes on Guam lack trails and can be impossible to find on one’s own, I bit the bullet and bought the book. I wouldn’t say that it’s a great book, but the directions are helpful. After I bought it, I went through and marked all the hikes I wanted to do, one of those was Fonte Dam.

In February, Peter and I hiked to Fonte Dam; although, it’s more like a walk than a hike. If you go to the Nimitz Hill area across from the Japanese communications bunker at Fonte Plateau, there is a blue sign that says something about a historical trail. Down the hill past the 7th or 8th concrete pole, you will find the small rock that says, “Fonte Dam” on the lefthand side. From there, you can take the trail through the jungle and to the dam. We walked down the trail and just as I was about to ask if we were there yet, I saw the concrete structure to my right. At first it looked like a sidewalk, then I noticed the dam. It was much bigger than I had anticipated. We walked along the top of the dam to the very edge. After about two weeks of rainy weather, the water was flowing over the dam and the Fonte river was full. We sat down on the edge and took in the beautiful surroundings. Other than the sound of the water pouring through the dam, it was absolutely quiet. The sun was peeking through the tops of the palm trees and the air was thick from humidity. I looked over the edge and noticed the rope, which I’m not sure if it’s for climbing up or down the dam when the water isn’t as deep. We walked back and continued on the trail that led down a slope. Someone attached a rope to the trees leading down the slope for holding onto during slippery/muddy times. We didn’t need it. When we reached the bottom, we then realized how glorious the dam is. There were black butterflies everywhere! We found a couple rocks to sit on and just listened to the water. It was so nice and we were happy that we found this pleasant surprise. We decided to keep walking down the river until we couldn’t walk anymore. It was so peaceful and we were the only ones there. This is an extremely easy hike. The tough part, as with most hikes I’ve done, is the humidity. Definitely a hike I will be doing again!

 

Priest’s Pools

Just before that week long storm hit Guam, we scooted down to Merizo in search of Priest’s Pools. A few months ago we tried to find the pools, but were deceived by the high walls that hid them from view. I could hear the water, but looking out over the top of the hill, I couldn’t see them!

Even though the skies looked unfriendly and we had to make a detour because we were caught in a huge rain storm, we were so happy to finally make it to the pools. As usual, there is no trailhead or trail. The road to the pools is through a residential street that is a dead end road. This isn’t really a hike, more like a very easy and short walk. We walked down the hill and immediately could hear the calming sounds of the water falling. Finally, we reached a valley where coconut trees lined the water and there they were. Beautiful and naturally made, these pools were once used by Spanish priests to bathe. They are VERY deep, at least 8 feet, and different sized pools that pour into the next one, go all the way down the hill toward the shore. I found myself a nice palm tree to sit under to keep out of the rain and listened to the soothing sounds of the water. It was so peaceful and relaxing. I have never seen anything like this, such natural beauty!

I wonder how the pools were formed. I guess hundreds of years of water pouring down the black rocks formed into bigger and bigger water holes. This is an unbelievably gorgeous must see on Guam!

Hiking in Guam: Sella Bay

Wow what a weekend! In the midst of moving to a new apartment, Peter and I decided to take a break and go on a hike to Sella Bay on Sunday. Peter had completed this hike with friends before and, from the stories I heard (bees, getting lost in the jungle, falling down a hill), I wasn’t too keen on the idea of going. He reassured me that if we stayed on the path everything would be fine. This was true.

After an extremely unhealthy Burger King breakfast, we headed south to the viewpoint where the trail to Sella Bay begins. This trail is across the road from the trail to Mount Lam Lam. The hike to and from Sella Bay, in my opinion, was VERY easy. Peter said he thought it was harder than Mount Lam Lam and Ague Cove, but I completely disagree! This is a good hike for people of all ages. The ground is mostly red dirt/clay and a short patch of mud.

It is VERY easy to get lost on this hike. YOU MUST follow the pink (sometimes white or orange) flags placed on trees by previous hikers. This is important or you WILL get lost and possibly hurt. There are sudden drops hidden by tall grass and at any wrong step you could fall over the edge. I’m writing “trail” but actually there isn’t a trail at all. There are lots of spaces in the dirt that look like they could be trails, but aren’t. Again I stress the importance of following the flags.

The terrain and open space reminded me of the Owyhee desert in Eastern Oregon, where I spent my time hiking with my dad. Eventually we came to a small creek which we had to walk through to  continue on the trail. As we got closer to the bay, our surroundings turned into jungle until we reached a large area of mud. Due to the forest of palm trees, it was very dark and cool. The mud and shade also made the perfect breeding ground for the killer mosquitoes that attacked us. Finally Peter said, “Look you can see the bridge from here.” As I carefully dodged the fallen branches and coconuts, looking across the creek that now turned into a river pouring into the ocean, I saw it! The old Spanish bridge that MUST be at least a few hundred years old. Overgrown plants and moss covered the bridge and through the other side I could see the bay. It was so magical!

When we crossed the bridge we found a perfect spot to leave our things, undressed and splashed into the water! The waves were rough and the ocean floor wasn’t the nice soft sand we’re used to. We sat in the water for a bit and enjoyed the warmth compared to the cool water in the creek, then we continued exploring the beach. Unfortunately we got caught in one of those crazy, Guam rain storms that lasted for about 30 minutes. We were soaked! Peter used his machete to cut a few palms that gave us some cover from the rain and protected our gear. Once the rain stopped we packed up and headed back up. But before we left on the far end of the shore we saw a giant white bird. We tried to walk closer to it but it flew away. We were too far to see what it was but it was pretty big.

Despite the weather, I enjoyed myself. There are small pools of water that are home to baby fish and really interesting sea life that I’ve never seen before. There are tons of crabs, all sizes, everywhere! It’s a very secluded, quiet and clean beach. I hope to go back one day when the weather is nicer and maybe do some snorkelling

Step, Step, Slide.

I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! This is what I did on Monday to celebrate and enjoy my day off from work.

The past month Guam has been experiencing some heavy rain and thunderstorms so I haven’t been able to spend too much time outdoors. On Sunday the storm seemed to get worse with loud thunder and heavy rain again. I was hoping for some sun on Monday, but I had no idea what I would wake up to. When Monday arrived, the sun was shining through my blinds and it seemed as though the storm from the night before was just a dream…a bad dream.  Immediately I dressed for hiking and knew exactly where I wanted to go. I packed some snacks, lunch, camera and bug spray and hopped on the scooter. We drove to the village of Mangilao, down a dead end residential road, passed between two large cement boulders, through some bushes and parked in a very secluded parking lot. Here we began our journey down the 256 steps to Tagu’an Point (also known as 1000 steps).

Much like the rest of Guam, this park looked like there was a lot of effort put into it to make it accessible but then forgotten about. There is a large parking lot, steps, trails, benches and picnic tables. The only thing missing…a road that leads to the parking lot.

We headed down the trail, under mystical looking canopies of palm trees and various shrubs and bushes. The heat from the sun was blocked out by all the trees in the jungle. There were so many lizards and crabs and probably monitor lizards hiding around us. We hit the first set of stairs which then turned into a slippery pavement (thus the name of this blog post). We walked slowly because of the slippery pavement and the massive cobwebs surrounding the path. Finally, we reached the last set of stairs which had the best view of the ocean and jungle. The hike was roughly 1.25 miles and the only hard part was the heat/humidity.

As soon as we took the last step, the entire landscape changed. It almost looked like we were back in Oregon, with what looked like pine needles scattered all over the ground. There were some really interesting leafy, green plants that I wish I knew the name of (if you know the names of any of the plants in the pictures, please let me know). In the middle of the path there was this oddly-shaped tree stump, which formed a perfect seat. After the last “pine tree,” we reached the large coral formations and found a nice, flat spot to sit on. On good days like Monday, you’re able to snorkel and swim around on the ledges that formed along the shore. I don’t know how to explain it, but it really is amazing and I wonder how these platforms are made. The water is very shallow, but there isn’t a reef to break the waves so swimming can be dangerous.

After awhile the sun became unbearable and we ended our hike. Of course the hike back up the 256 steps was hard!

Boonie Stomp to Ague Cove

I’m very excited about this post because it has been the best outdoor excursion I’ve done since I’ve been in Guam. Peter and I decided to take a scooter trip around the island looking for this place called Ague Cove. We found the entrance, which is near the Naval Base in Dededo. Unfortunately, the property belongs to a family in Guam and they decided to close it off to the public! A few days later I was reading the newspaper and saw that the Guam Boonie Stomp group would be holding a boonie stomp to AGUE COVE in two weeks!!! What luck! The Guam Boonie Stompers are a group of people who gather on Saturday mornings around 9:oo to go on all sorts of hikes throughout Guam. The cost is $2 and you can find out more information about future hikes on their Facebook page. If you’re interested in going on a Boonie Stomp, I highly suggest it. This one was a clean up stomp so before we left we scoured the area for trash.

I’d cut out the advertisement in the newspaper about this hike. It said what we needed to bring (snorkel gear, swmsuits, lunch, hiking shoes…). Saturday morning came and we were off! There were about 55 hikers total who met at Chamorro Village in Hagatna. We paid our dues, got driving directions and met at the trail. Thankfully, the property owner gave permission to the Boonie Stompers and opened the road so we could hike that day.

The hike is about a 200ft. descent to the cove. There were red ribbons to guide the way through the thick jungle. The shade from the trees protected us from the heat and the humidity, on this day, was manageable. The hike down wasn’t bad at all, it might have taken about 20 minutes, the hike up was a different story! It is a very steep climb down so if you go on a day when it has been raining, you might have some issues with mud and sliding. When we reached the bottom it was like an oasis or a beautiful scene from a movie. Another unreal moment for me. The color of the water was beautiful, massive coral formations jutted out from the side of the hill we’d climbed down from and formed a perfect cliff to dive from. On the other side of the cove was a rope for swinging into the water. We wasted no time and began exploring the serene area.

When we were ready to swim the water was surprisingly cool and took some time for us to get used to. There are freshwater springs that mix with the ocean water; thus, the cool temperature. There were so many small, bright blue fish everywhere. Peter and I took turns jumping from the rope into the water. It was hard to see anything when we were snorkeling because it was a bit cloudy, probably due to all the people splashing around. We ventured out near the reef line where the waves crashed against some rocks and I spotted some really bright fish. Peter put the snorkel gear on, leaned his body across the rocks and stuck his head in the water. He looked really funny. When he popped back up he said, “That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” He couldn’t stop talking about the huge bright fish in that deep pool of water. We splashed around some more near the waves and headed back.

The Boonie Stomp leader showed us the way to a small cave where there were old Chamorro drawings along the walls. We took photos and Peter tried to see if he could fit into a hole (of course!) then headed back down. There is a lot of sharp coral that we had to climb through. It’s very dangerous and painful if it cuts. After that, we packed up and climbed up the hill, which was a struggle for me! I want to go back again! I hope someday Ague Cove is reopened to the public; although, it was very clean and beautiful I think it might be better that it’s closed so that its beauty can be maintained.