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volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

Toronto, Canada
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5 posts
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volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

Please think twice when you go on volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge guides. We went on the hiking two weeks ago. It a 6 miles walk on the black lave under the hot summer sun. The tour started at 10:00am, earlier than scheduled 3:00pm. We had 4 people in a group. 3 of us couldn't catch up with the guide. One girl had to return half way because she couldn't see the guide and didn't know the route forward. My husband and I was about half a mile away from our guide for the longest time. We basically paid $60 per person for about 1 miles guide tour. We felt really angry and helpless about the irresponsible and unprofessional of the guide.

Not all the guides are bad, Joey was our guide of the Arnott's lodge Sunset and stargazing tour. He's excellent. Passionate and knowledgable. We really appreciated.

Cambridge MA
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1. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

read my post if you get a chance.

-foghron2000

Hilo, Hawaii
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4 posts
115 reviews
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2. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

After reading Sandy's complaint I was sure MR.Foghorn would agree.

We realize you are not from Hawaii and have no idea of the dynamics of Lava or safely visiting Lava.

This is depicted in every webpage and everthing we give out and have displayed as a VERY TOUGH hike, also that as Lava is a natural event over which we have no control that only the most general description of the actual day is possible.

We also CLEARLY state that the guides job is to get the people who CAN make it TO THE LAVA. His job is not to babysit people who have misjudged their ability and it states CLEARLY on the website that they may have to return to the trailhead by themselves or wait in place for the others to return.

It makes me laugh, even with the cruise guests when up to 100 reasonably fit people get off a ship and happily do a good paced hike and see spectacular Lava, that the 2 or 3 people who didnt make it always claim it was "too fast", they also use the word "run" to overemhasize their point that they were so slow they should have chosen an easier hike. It is somehow lost on them that 97 others were just fine !!

So if you want to see Thurston Lava tube and Kilauea Iki certainly go with someone else, those features have been dead for decades....but if you want to see RED LAVA and you are in shape.......you know what to do !!

Aloha........Doug Arnott

kohala coast, hawaii
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1,418 posts
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3. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

dear mr arnott, I am from Hawaii and feel compelled to reply to your post. I am a fulltime resident here, and have lived here many years. I'm familiar with the rigors and safetly issues related to lava. but this doesn't excuse the attitude you display in your postings (and most likely in person) towards your customers. when you use words like "babysit" and "spoilsport" to describe some of your clientele, and write postings with all caps (I'm sure you realize that writing in caps is considered shouting) you demean yourself as a hawaiian host, guide and a leader of people in the wilderness. I believe you need to do some serious soul searching about the level of service that you provide and how to deal in a positive way with clientele that may not perform up to par on the hike. your defensive practice of tough love and abandoning those that cannot keep up on the hike is not appropriate. I don't care how many warnings you provide in advance about the rigors of the hike, it is simply Not okay to conduct business like this.

Saint Paul...
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1,343 posts
225 reviews
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4. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

the Lady is right on las post.

Hawaii depends on Tourist/visitor monies

resident/Kama'aina need to mind full when

dealing with mainland tourists

show Aloha K then

pau now

kohala coast, hawaii
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1,418 posts
29 reviews
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5. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

T-#rap'd - mahalo for backing me up on this. whenever I've gone on guided hikes there has been a "sweeper" in the rear of the group - with a walkie-talkie, in addition to the guide at the front. the sweeper stays with the slowest hikers to make sure they are okay and don't get hurt or lost. the sweeper ensures that everyone is safe - and this would protect Arnot's from potential liability issues. all the guides should treat Every customer with respect and kindness - no harsh words for those who can't keep up. everyone leaves with a smile - regardless of whether the hike was completed or not. of course, having a sweeper would cost Arnott more money, but it would result in a much better experience for everybody. in the long run - he would make more money and have a better reputation. anyone who is rude or displays a hostile attitutde to the public should be kept behind closed doors, and not deal with the public at all.

Saint Paul...
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1,343 posts
225 reviews
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6. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

hey Mlk

no prb

I am just tired of reading hateful posts "choke kine"

from either hateful H or just as bad maybe worse

H Haters

we ARE Hawaii's diplomats for the states visitor Yahoo.

just too bad no more the pay for it.

( H does not equal Hawaii or Hawaiian K)

but being nice no CAN say K then

Saint Paul...
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1,343 posts
225 reviews
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7. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

sorry ey

I hope you dont think that I think of visitors as

Yahoos I was trying to show support for

all Hawaii's visiters.

enjoy yourselves!!

Albuquerque, New...
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3,312 posts
5 reviews
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8. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

We were thinking of Arnott's guided hike, but Mahalo to all of you (including Mr. Arnott who does not appear to embrace the "Spirit of Aloha"); we're going to keep looking! Anyone know of a guide service from the North side to see the lava as it flows into the ocean at night? Imagine that is one spectacular sight, but leery of returning to parking area during the dark.

Hilo, Hawaii
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4 posts
115 reviews
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9. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

Dear MKL and other forum participants.

It is one thing to sit in an armchair and critcize those out in the field doing it every day.

By having highly affordable prices......usually half what others charge, we enable a truly vast number of people to get to Lava and also to the top of Mauna Kea.

It would be so easy to just charge $150 like Forest and Trail but we got our beginnings with Backpackers and Budget travellers and we honor that.

When we take 80 Cruiseship guests at a time in full vans we have the full court press, lead guide, in between guides and a tailend guide, we also have a person who does nothing but keep the sandwiches cool in an airconvan and be at the Ranger station with a walkie talkie "just in case" lieason is needed with the NPS.

But Cruise Guests come 80 to 100 strong and the vans are full.

To honor our Lodge guests, and the gentleman you are all commenting on, we have a very differant setup, it is bare bones, it is inexpensive and it is designed for hardy backpackers. Our website is "overboard" in depicting that it is a difficult hike and sometimes a VERY difficult hike.

When Lava is high on the Pali it is a 10/10 hike and yes it is sometimes 50 degree slopes and hand over hand.

Lets say YOU came from Germany as many of our guests do specificaly to see the Lava and you are on a limited budget, you end up at Arnott's and off you go on a hike which guidebooks and the website tell you, you will see lava on. This is the mission....to see Lava.....those who cannot keep up were very adequately warned and are quite safe to remain in place for the returning party.......if even one out of 6 or 8 is able to make it then the others are asked to wait.

If Lava is there we are obligated to get the people who can make it to Lava....do you suggest we turn back fit, able and willing people for the sake of those who bit off too much.....we would soon be out of business.

Please walk a mile in our shoes as it is very easy without the insurance payments, without the van payments, without the guide training expense and without going out of our way to hire people of Hawaiian ancestry and give them a rightful shot at good employment and to buy our sandwiches from people in Homelands instead of elsewhere.......it is very easy to sit home and monday morning quarterback someone else.

Aloha....Doug Arnott

Michigan
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7 posts
2 reviews
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10. Re: volcano hiking with Arnott's lodge

I agree with some posters about Mr. Arnott's replies. He can make excuses and rationalize his behavior all he likes, he still comes off as condescending and arrogant.

FYI - there's a hike, put on by the national park rangers, to a pristine lava tube, that doesn't cost a cent, but they'll only take 12 people each week, on Wednesdays. You have to call right away on the Wednesday before the one you want to go on. They feel that ancient Hawaiians didn't even discover this tube, as there is no sign of human activity there. No tour companies are allowed to bring guests here. It really is quite unique and no crabby tour owners to deal with.