Hiking, in my opinion is one of Guåhan’s best pastimes. There are so many beautiful places to hike to, each of them holding an adventure waiting to happen. I love going with friends and family, but I like to keep the group under 10 people just so nobody gets left behind.
I could tell you all the things you need on a hike, how to prepare for it, etc., but it’s pretty easy and different depending on where you go. However, there are a few things that you should know and practice when hiking here on Guåhan.
Primet (firstly), before beginning your trek, ask permission. Our ancestors still dwell on our lands and we must respect that. Asking in English is okay because they can feel your vibes. What I always say is “Saina-hu, kao siña hu mammokat i chalan-miyu?” which means, “my elders, may I walk on your path?” It was part of a chant I learned in Chamoru class in elementary school and I thought it fit. We ask permission to be acknowledged by our ancestors in hopes of not disturbing them. These are our lands, este i tano-ta.
Secondly, leave nothing but footprints and bubbles. On almost every hike I’ve done, I’ve collected at least one kitchen-sized bag of trash. It really disgusts me and breaks my heart to see how people have no regard or love for our island. It’s so ironic! They hike to see Guåhan’s natural beauty yet soil it with their trash. After being frustrated and upset for a little bit, I just do my part. Every time I spend time in the outdoors whether it be at the beach or on a hike, I take a bag with me and pick up trash. I really encourage this practice, however, it can get pretty difficult carrying that up a steep hill or be a hindrance when you need your second hand. I do my best because I care.
Lastly, appreciate. Appreciate the world of life around you; the trees that have taken decades to grow, the animals, big and small that live together and give life to each other, and how all of them make a beautiful song. When I feel all of nature’s energy surging through my body, I feel so empowered, yet I feel so small. Being in nature reminds me that I am small but I am a part of this big world and its circle of life. Always take pictures, but don’t be rapt in your phone/camera.
Wherever you go, do your part as a loving, appreciative, responsible resident of Guåhan and keep our island clean! Enjoy her beauty and keep her beautiful. Go outdoors, explore your island, have an adventure! And while doing all that, have respect.
Si Yu’us Ma’åse for reading, pås yan guinaiya! (peace and love)