Review by Joseph Bean Maui Weekly June 30 2005
Bess Press is hitting another one out of the park and very likely walking away with a major share of the market for Haleakala guidebooks too.
Until now the best guide I could offer to visitors who wanted to explore Haleakala National Park was Robert Smiths book Hiking Maui: The Valley Isle. Like most hikers guides Smiths book includes everything a hiker however green might need to know. Also like most hiking books it puts every recommended hike on Maui into a single book. Finally like any book it is damageable and weighs in a half a pound or more.
The new Kirsten Whatley guide from Bess Press doesnt try to teach newbies how to hike but it gives very good Haleakala-specific information on clothing weather altitude and animals. It doesnt catalog the rest of Mauis trails but does give very simple unambiguous maps of the trails in the crater.
This guide also has a good section on Overlooks and Day Hikes. Even people relatively familiar with the volcano and the park are likely to find surprises here. The section on Overnight Hikes has a very good extremely compact introduction and one-sentence descriptions of the cabins. Its all you need to make a choice.
Activities - horseback riding bicycle touring and ranger programs are detailed in brief straight-forward language. After all you dont buy guidebooks as reading material you buy them to make your adventure safe complete and enjoyable. Whatley has you covered there.
The individual trails are described and special features like the silversword and nene are explained. Special tidbits of information abbreviated to fortune-cookie simplicity are scattered throughout and the oft-repeated legend of the demigod Maui lassoing the sun from Haleakala even gets some space. Of course regular readers of the Maui Weekly know the legend should situate the event on Iao not Haleakala. Its OK. Let people learn and enjoy any way the will.
So heres the shocking truth. Haleakala National Park: Trails Activities Special Features is not a book. It is a single sheet of heavily laminated paper 9 tall and 24 wide folded down to 9 x 4. Convenient indestructible and succinct. Perfect.
While I am familiar with Haleakala and feel qualified to comment on guides to the wonders up there above Upcountry Maui I am not an expert on Pearl Harbor. Nonetheless Im guessing that the companion to Haleakala National Park - Pearl Harbor Insider Guide is every bit as good. Same format and price. Very cool.
Review by Burl Burlingame Honolulu Star-Bulletin May 29 2005
A couple more of the stoutly printed and folded instant guides -- sized to fit in your back pocket -- and priced at a gimme-gimme level. The Haleakala guide is the more modest with an emphasis on science and scenery while the Pearl Harbor guide skips the basic history and takes you right into the current visitor attractions -- which are historical in nature.