Hiking to the highest peak on Easter Island
Four hundred thousand years ago there were two volcanic islands. Then, there was an eruption. Terevaka came in between the two peaks, Rano Kau and Poike, and filled the blank. That activity created the shape of island we know now, just like cookie dough connecting together in the oven. Terevaka is the youngest, largest, and tallest of three main volcanoes. Hiking to the highest point of the island is, as you can imagine, the best way to see the panoramic view of the island. This will give you the feeling of standing on the top of the world! Think about it; there’s no civilization or any higher ground within a 2,000km radius. The best part is, it’s only 507m(1,664ft) tall.
Five of us left explora Rapa Nui for a half day hiking to Terevaka. It was a cloudy day but we hoped the sky would clear up. Thanks to the capricious weather of the island on a day like this. The trail starts at Vaitea, which is a short drive from the lodge. The dirt road that leads inland into the forest is where the hiking trail starts. We picked up a rock from the trail head to carry with us to the top. The hike started easy, going gradually uphill. The trail continued for a few kilometers but soon vanished. We walked on the low grass, passed through a lava tube, and hiked along a small forest. There was no one but us, there was no noise but our footsteps and chirping birds. The sky couldn’t make up its mind. The clouds moved fast with the strong wind, but we were granted a bit of sunlight whenever there was an opening. Yellow-green grass made brushed noise against the wind. The landscape was like a watercolor painting.
“What’s the ultimate life goal of the Rapa Nui people? What do they want to achieve?” someone asked. Seemed like a perfect conversational topic on a day like this. “Happiness”, a simple and true answer from our Rapa Nui friend Beno. “What can be more important than being happy?” true again. Being on Easter Island, I could definitely feel the peace in the air. I only met a handful of Rapa Nui people, but seemed like they are open-minded, relaxed, and always smiling. Maybe it’s an island thing, or maybe it’s Rapa Nui magic. I felt more relaxed, happier, and a bit detached from the rest of the world, in a good way. It was a perfectly fitting place for my “happiness-seeking” lifestyle. I was in the present.
Terevaka has series of small hills that lead to the highest point. We learned more about the life of Rapa Nui while walking over the hills. I had a lot of questions. The world went by while we discussed things about life, in and out of the island. As I learned more about the place, I felt more attached to the land I walked on. I often use the expression ‘Rapa Nui magic’ to describe my time in the island, because that’s how I felt. Maybe it’s the mana.
After a series of steeper hills, we finally reached the top through the stormy wind. The sky was not cooperating, unfortunately. We placed the rocks we picked up at the trail head to pay our respects. On the way down however, the sky cleared up nicely. The watercolor landscape appeared again; the scenery was painted in the mixture of sky blue and yellow-green, but shining bright under the sunlight. Round hills, small houses, horses, trees, and the ocean; this is the life in one of the furthest inhabited islands in the world.
How did the hike end? We hiked down to the seven moai called Ahu Akivi.
It was one fine day in Terevaka.