Kohala valleys

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Mountains and Valleys.’ See more offerings here.

Kohala Volcano is the oldest volcano on the Big Island and has long been extinct, having last erupted around 120,000 years ago. Since then, the various processes of erosion, from rainfall to landslides, have carved deep valleys into the volcano. Waipio, the easternmost of these valleys, is accessible by vehicle (4-wheel drive only), horseback, or on foot. It has permanent inhabitants so access within the valley is restricted.

The other valleys are most easily seen from the air, along the Kohala coast. The top photo shows Waimanu Valley. This can be accessed by foot from Waipio, after a long and arduous hike, and permits are available for camping there. Waimanu River can be seen on the far side of the valley and is one last obstacle to be crossed to reach the camp site, which is in the strip of land between the river and the ocean. The steep sides are typical of these valleys and another consideration to keep in mind when thinking about hiking here.

The middle photo shows a fairly typical view directly into one of the valleys from the ocean. Again, notice the steep valley sides and the abundance of foliage, evidence that this is the wet side of the island.

The bottom photo shows valleys cutting through the mountain farther inland. There’s little or no water running in this view. A few valleys have spring-fed streams, but most depend on rain for water flow. However, when it does rain, it can rain long and hard. Flash floods are common. It’s not a shock when campers in Waimanu Valley are cut off and unable to make the return hike.

I’ll do another post about the water courses for next week’s Sunday Stills challenge.

For more information about Hawaii’s volcanoes, go to https://www.lovebigisland.com/hawaii-blog/hawaii-volcano-history/.

18 thoughts on “Kohala valleys

  1. Pingback: Big Island bodies of water | Graham's Island

  2. Terri Webster Schrandt

    We loved this part if the BI, Graham. Wonderful pictures and how cool to see from the perspective of the helicopter! I’m sorry to hear the tours were affected by covid, but I’m not surprised. All is well here…we sold our family home in San Diego, I came home from a road trip in time to take Hans for eye surgery and closed with escrow on our restructured loan for the Washington house…all in one week! Hope all is well with you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Graham Post author

      Thanks. Which company did you fly with? I used to work for Sunshine Helicopters, but the virus put paid to that. I think it will be a good while before anyone’s running those tours again.


        1. Graham Post author

          Well, I forgive you for flying Blue! Hopefully things will settle down soon so that people can visit again and be able to do things. There’s a lot of businesses that are still closed or operating with restrictions.

          Liked by 2 people

            1. Graham Post author

              Right now, I’d say it’s up in the air. The situation on Oahu has gotten out of hand somewhat, and that’s what’s driving how Hawaii responds. I hope it works out, for your family and for everyone really.

              Liked by 2 people

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