Old Saddle Road

Horses off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Horses frolic in pasture land alongside Old Saddle Road.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Road Trippin’.’ See more responses here. Since there aren’t any road trips, in the usual sense of the expression, here on the island, I thought I’d focus on a stretch of road that is one of my favorite drives here.

Old Saddle Road is an 11 mile stretch of the old highway that connected the west side of the island to the east side, through the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. These days, people take the new road, which is wide and smooth and allows drivers to zip along at 80 mph even though the speed limit is 60 mph. I like this highway, too, but the best part of any cross-island trip is always the old highway, which is up and down, winding, and dotted with one lane narrows where culverts pass under the highway (they’re not bridges) to channel the copious amounts of rain away from the road.

This stretch of road is bordered by ranch land, with horses, cattle, and sheep to the fore. There’s also a good variety of wildlife that can be seen in this area. And the weather can be anything from stunning to biblically awful, sometimes within the hour. So here are a few scenes that give an idea of that short, but special drive.

A ranch off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
One of the ranches on Old Saddle Road.
Old Saddle Road on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Old Saddle Road undulates down towards the junction with the new highway.
View of Hualalai from Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
A view of Hualalai from Old Saddle Road, showing the new highway winding down towards Kailua Kona.
Two goats off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Goats can often be seen alongside Old Saddle Road.
A pueo off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
O;d Saddle Road is a great place to see pueos, the endemic Hawaiian short-eared owl.
A pueo catches a mouse off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Sometimes I’m lucky enough to see a pueo catch a meal.
Mist in the trees off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Old Saddle Road can be shrouded in mist…
A view of Mauna Kea from Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
…or glow in the evening sun…
Sunset from Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
…and it’s a great place to take in the sunset.

16 thoughts on “Old Saddle Road

    1. Graham Post author

      These owls are quite cooperative, being active during the day. The other owl here is the barn owl, but I haven’t seen any of those because they’re nocturnal.

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  1. Steve & Cheryl Retired Adventures

    Wonderful road trip views. You captured the perspective of the hilly road beautifully and the pueo with its meal was awesome. I recently sat aside on a river watching birds dive in and never caught a decent photo of their meal…did acquire a handle of bug bites for my efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Terri Webster Schrandt

    Incredibly stunning views of the views along the old Saddle Road, Graham! If we’d had more time in 2018, we would have driven the old road, but the new one was amazing, especially since we drove in the rain from Kona to Hilo at night. Your shots of the Pueo are amazing! Love that white farmhouse scene–very pastoral! Great interpretation of “road trip”!

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Pingback: Sunday Stills: What a Long, Strange #RoadTrip It’s Been – Second Wind Leisure Perspectives

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