Hawaiians laid out trails and evolved practices which assured availability of shelter, drinking fluids and firewood. In 1840, Lt Charles Wilkes, as part of the US Exploring Expedition, came to Hawai‘i to conduct experiments and make observations, including swinging pendulums on Mauna Loa’s summit to calculate the force of gravity. They hiked from Hilo to the summit. Wilkes took the ‘wrong road;’ actually, he ignored references to take traditional trials, and, leading a party of 300 Caucasians and Hawaiians, Wilkes took off on a trackless beeline from Kilauea toward Mauna Loa’s summit, guided by a midshipman holding a compass.
Wilkes substituted his own route for the Hawaiian Ainapo trail. Wilkes’ line of march was through wooded country, but without streams or waterholes. Shoes of the Caucasians scuffed and soles abraded on the lava they crossed. Much unnecessary thirst, hunger, cold, altitude sickness, fatigue, and snow-blindness were suffered by both Caucasians and Hawaiians of the expedition when Wilkes substituted his own route for the Hawaiian Ainapo trail. Eventually, Wilkes ended up with other camps on the way up to and at the summit area of Mauna Loa.