Category Archives: Parks

Salt burned trees

Trees on the coast of the Big Island, Hawaii, turn gold from salt spray exposure

At my local snorkeling spot, a lot of trees on the shoreline have suddenly sported fall colors. I’m sure this has nothing to do with the season. Rather, I think a series of large swells has battered the trees with more salt spray than they’re used to and this is the result. Hopefully, they will bounce back when things settle down again, although swells in Hawaii were large enough last weekend for The Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational surf competition to be held for the first time since 2016.

You’d better watch out

Swell rolls in at Mahukona, Hawaii

This is where I often get in the water to go snorkeling and this photo illustrates why it’s a good idea to pay attention when getting in or out. The water looks pretty calm, but the whitewater near the top is an indicator of swells coming ashore. When those swells reach the ladder where swimmers get in and out, they can be steep and dangerous.

It’s easy to judge swells before getting in the water, but getting out is more tricky. Trying to gauge what’s happening from water level, it’s easy to misjudge the size and strength of an incoming swell. I wouldn’t have wanted to be getting out when this one rolled in!

Favorites from 2022

Surf crashes ashore on the North Kohala coast in Hawaii
January: High surf crashes ashore in North Kohala. (link)

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your 2022 Year-in-Review.’ See more responses here. Like last year, I’ve gone with a favorite photo from each month of 2021, with a caption and link to the post the photo first appeared in.

A Common Waxbill feeds on cane grass seeds
February: A Common Waxbill grabs a mouthful of seeds. (link)
A Monarch butterfly on purple bougainvillea flowers
March: A Monarch Butterfly on a bougainvillea. (link)
A Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle swims by
April: A Green Turtle swims by. (link)
Three cats resting in Hawaii
May: A trio of cats hard at work! (link)
A photo of an owl in a car wing mirror
June: How to keep birds off your car. (link)
A view of Green sand beach (Papakōlea) on the Big Island, Hawaii
July: The green sand beach near South Point. (link)
A white-tailed tropicbird flying over North Kohala, Hawaii
August: A White-tailed Tropicbird glides by. (link)
A Black-crowned night heron struggles o get out of an algae covered pond
September: A Black-crowned Night Heron struggles to get out of a pond. (link)
A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii
October: A Spinner Dolphin leaps from the water off North Kohala. (link)
Two manta rays in the waters off Hawaii
November: A pair of Manta Rays swims toward me. (link)
A cloud forms over the site of the eruption on Mauna Loa , Hawaii
December: Mauna Loa erupted for the first time in 40 years, capturing attention and changing the weather. (link)

Halema’uma’u trail and crater

A view of Halemaumau Crater at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Recently, for this month’s Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here), I’ve been posting some local walks. Today, I thought I’d revisit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and one of my current favorite trails there.

The top photo is taken from the Byron Ledge trail which crosses the edge of the Kilauea Caldera to join the Halema’uma’u trail. From this junction, the original Halema’uma’u trail traverses the caldera to the edge of Halema’uma’u Crater. That trail has been closed since 2008 because the volcano has been, and currently still is, erupting there. Kilauea Caldera is large and the eruption is two miles from the trail in the top photo, but I always get a bit of a tingle from walking across the caldera floor so close to volcanic activity.

That’s not the only reason I like this trail though. It arrives at the caldera floor by winding down from the rim though some lovely tropical foliage and a moss-covered cutting through rocks that I always stop and photograph even though it doesn’t change from one visit to the next.

For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/.