This weekend we trek to Fadi'an Cove – a hidden oasis tucked away along the island's rocky northeastern coast – known among the local hiking community as a snorkeler's paradise.
However, do be warned that this particular hike is much less traveled than most in Guam and requires hiking down a very steep cliffside with loose dirt, and through dense jungle and possible spider webs.
But don't be discouraged, either! The payoff for just about half a mile's hike of steep struggle is more than worth it. Not only is this cove extremely isolated and hardly traveled, it's definitely a stunning sight that should be on any Guam hiker's bucket list.
To get to the parking, travel along Route 15 – also known as the back road to Andersen Air Force Base – until you reach the recently constructed Gloria B. Nelson Public Service Building in Mangilao, the main office of the Guam Power Authority and Guam Waterworks Authority.
Do not turn into the facility's parking lot. Instead, park just outside the fence, anywhere along Ignacio Road – located just before entering the facility.
If there is no room for parking due to other hikers, park on the grassy area across the main highway on the opposite side of the facility.
Boonie stomp your way to beautiful views
Due to the construction of the GPA/GWA building, the start of the original hiking trail is drastically different than before and was practically cut off with the new facility presently sitting on top of it.
With that being the case, hikers will need to trace the outskirts of the chain-link fence along the left/western side of the new building. Make your way through the invasive tangantångan trees and follow the fence until it reconnects to a paved road.
Once you reconnect to an old and abandoned paved road – near some dumpsters on the other side of the fence – the path will be more defined.
Continue along the paved road into the jungle brush, passing patches of some tantalizing wildflowers.
Note that this abandoned area used to be the site of an old government dumping site, which might account for the dozens of dumped items around the jungle.
It might also be due to illegal dumping throughout the years, which is somehow worse than the thought of the government leaving its trash behind.
No matter – don't let this dumping ground keep a frown on your face for too long. Continue following the beaten path, which should eventually lead you to the base of a small hill.
Climb the hill using any handholds available to reach the top. Once you've traversed your way to the top, you'll find yourself before just another one of Guam's million-dollar views!
Take in the fresh air, the sunlight and the pure, natural beauty that is all yours for the time being. In the distance you should be able to spot Fadi'an Cove easily, popping distinctively with its bright, turquoise waters against the deep blues of the Pacific Ocean.
The developments also seen in the distance along the northeast coast comprise the Hawaiian Rock Products quarry and the Mangilao Golf Club range.
While the cove seems but a hop away from this point, those wondrous waters won't come without the price of hard work and determination.
Continue the journey by finding the steep path that leads down the cliffside nearby. All jokes aside, that ridiculously steep descent is all yours! Catch your jaw before it drops!
A long way down to the limestone forest
With great attention and care, make your way down this steep path, using any and all hand and footholds available to you. There are many branches and boulders around, so this should be no problem.
In some cases – it will likely be easier or safer to scoot down on your butt – and there's no shame in that! Remain persistent in your goal to reach the destination, but be sure to get there in one piece.
After somehow making the treacherous trek down the cliffside, you should begin to enter the coastal limestone jungles below, with Fadi'an Cove not much farther!
Now, here is the tricky part. While the cove is just about 10 to 15 minutes away, you'll pretty much have to forge your own path there.
The "ground" of this jungle area is pretty much covered in limestone, which is sharp, jagged and potentially dangerous. Creep your way over the rocks in the direction of the ocean.
There will be a multitude of different-colored hiking flags among the trees, but most seem to lead nowhere and contradict others. I'm sure one set of markers leads the way, but there are just too many random ones to be trusted.
Find sensible paths that venture toward the direction of the cove, which should also be heard in the near distance. Soon enough, you should find yourself at the bottom of this shorter descent with more sunlight breaking through the trees and winds a tad bit stronger. You're almost there!
A final set of colored flags closer to the cove should do the trick and finally lead you to the destination. Find or forge your way until you reach a distinctively narrow path lined with heavy brush. This is the way out.
Fight the tough branches to get out of the jungle and you should finally emerge triumphant at Fadi'an Cove! You made it!
Snorkeler's paradise and rummaging the reef
Before trampling over your fellow hikers on your rush into the water after accomplishing that killer journey down the cliffside, take a breather and explore!
While there isn't any "beach" to this cove, settle down under any of the few shady trees in the area and try scouring the rocky shoreline for interesting coral specimens or peculiar shells.
Afterward, don your snorkeling gear and wade your way into Fadi'an Cove's turquoise waters for sights seen nowhere else around the island.
Note the condition of the surf in the area and only proceed to swim if the tides are calm. The waters along the coast here are dangerous and can be deadly, but on a good day with great weather the experience is priceless.
Snorkel casually within the perimeter of the cove with tons of vibrant corals still very much alive and bursting with life! However, be wary of your surroundings and avoid stepping on any of the corals or other sea life.
If the surf and tide are especially calm – hikers might be interested in exploring the nearby reef bench – accessible by swimming out to the mouth of the cove along the left side.
Carefully make your way on to the reef table, or "låmasa," and extend your exploration along the island's most remote coastline.
In the area are seas of seaweed, tons of crawling reef critters, geological wonders and even smaller, secret coves up ahead.
Be careful trekking through the limestone coral while on the reef bench and keep track of the time as well as the condition of the nearby tides. Head back to the cove before the evening and take another glance at this charming cove before you head back to civilization.
With another worthwhile hike wrapped up – having reaped the rewards of the hidden Fadi'an Cove – pack your things after you've soaked in all the salt and sun this weekend's had to offer and retrace those dreadful steps back up the cliffside to get back to your car.