Friday, March 18, 2011

Kohala: BI's Oldest Volcano



Last time we lived here on the Big Island, we never traveled to Kohala.  We traveled as far up as Hapuna Beach, and to Wimea, and all around the island - but somehow never to this northern-most part of the island.  I suppose it was mostly because, well, there's not a whole lot up here.  But what Jeff and I discovered today on our first trip to the oldest volcano on the big island was that what IS there is lovely, and quite different from anywhere else that we have been to on the Hawaiian islands yet.  It never ceases to amaze me, that these small islands can be so vastly different in just a few miles.  I hope you enjoy my road trip photos.

Drive to Kohala

The "Jello Mold"


(above) Driving north along the coast from Kona, Mauna Kea peeks out from the clouds, mauka.
(below) Kohala volcano ridge ahead of us.




(above) Once again, we pass "Hog the Bounty Hunter," and finally I can snap a pic!
(below) more Mauna Kea



Drive Along the Kohala Ridge
Don't honk your horn!  They say it may wake the sleeping volcano! 
(Of course, as I read this in the car, Jeff immediately honks the horn.  I should know better.)









In case you have not read the blog before, long story short, the trees actually grow sideways like this because of the strong, constant force of the wind in Waimea & Kohala area.











Okay, I can see how, at least on the blog, several of the next pictures are going to look like a whole lot of nothing.  However, if you click on them to enlarge, you can *maybe* see a faint blue outline over the ocean, or through the sky and clouds.  If you know what you are looking for - it was really hard to capture in a photo!  But that faint outline?  It's MAUI!  only 30 miles away from the northernmost tip of the island.










The Hawi Banyans, and driving east








(above) Does this statue look familiar?  If so, it's because it is IDENTICAL to the one in downtown Honolulu on Oahu!  There's a story in the blue book about the first one being lost at sea, then recommissioned, then some time later the original is recovered.  Though I can't quite recall which is which..... I may have to look that up and get back to you on that.

Haha!  There is a little sign that says 'No Passing' as we approach this one lane bridge.  Well, duh!  Jeff and I in unison:  "It's like Road to Hana!"



After miles of towns, open fields, windy roads, all of the sudden there is a turn around one corner, and this breathtaking view....

Pololu Valley and Black Sand Beach





The next several photos are taken on the way down to the black sand beach that you can see at the bottom of the cliff.  I will tell you right now - take a bottle of water, wear good shoes.  Neither of which we did, of course, but that was because I was going by the blue book's "it's a 15 minute hike down, and if it takes you 15 mintues to come up, we'd be proud because that means you didn't stop"  (i'm  paraphrasing a bit).  So, 15 minute walk/hike.  The truth.  You will stop several times on the walk down because it is breathtaking.  And you will stop several more times on the way back because, well, YOU'RE CLIMBING A CLIFF, SILLY!  It's not a really hard hike, but it is steep to go back up, and in the afternoon quite sunny and very tiring. You may, when you get out of your car, feel cold and that you may need a sweater or pants on.  Don't do it.  Once you get going, you will not be cold at all, I promise.  And I get cold when it's below 80 degrees.  

Okay, now that you have been properly warned, we can continue.....


















 The sand on this beach is amazing.  Black sand beaches are made from (a) molten lava hitting the cold ocean water, instantly breaking apart and turning into black sand, or (b) water slowly chipping away at the lava rocks, breaking it into grains of sand.  This beach is formed by process B. 

By now I have been on quite a few beaches, and 5 or so black sand beaches and this is absolutely the finest, softest sand of any beach I've ever walked on.  It feels like..... like walking on a tempurpedic mattress!  The sand just barely squishes under your feet but you can't feel a single grain of it, and forms around your foot, leaving a soft imprint that disappears back into the beach in moments.  It was so cool.







Clearly, no photos from the hike up.  
(1) I used up all of the room on my camera card by this point 
(2) I was way too busy hiking and dying of thirst on my walk up to care about photos - that says something, doesn't it?

 Traveling Westward

The Kalahikiola Congregational Church of Kohala.
Built in 1855, the church was seriously damaged in a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in 2006.  The church was rebuilt over the next few years, and rededicated in Feb. 2010.  As I read on the website, the stone wall that surrounds the churchyard now, was built using stones from the the original church structure.  The church was closed upon my visit, but someone was inside playing the piano, and it was a lovely moment.






from here, we tried to do 2 different trails and failed due to having a Malibu rental car, and not something 4wd that can handle the roads, so we'll have to go back another time, hopefully, and do the hike to the lighthouse and King Kamehameha's birthplace....

 (above) just look at that!  MAUI looks so very clear across the water!

(above) a beautiful little church closer to town, on makai
(below) a wind farm!  you can drive pretty close to them -they're so huge!



and the rest of this trip will be continued with Lapakahi State Park...

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