This bench, located on the shoreline just below the lighthouse between Mahukona and Lapakahi, is a memorial to Malcolm Davis. Malcolm was a North Kohala man who disappeared while freediving off this part of the coast in 2020. He was 20 years old and was never found.
It’s a lovely spot, with a view up and down the coast and across to Maui, a place to sit and watch the waves, a place for contemplation.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘I’d Rather Be…’ See more responses here.
It had been a while since I went hiking, for various reasons, and it’s something I was missing, something I’d rather be doing. So last week, I headed down to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to try the Ka’u Desert Trail. This backcountry trail has been on my list for a long time, but I had never done it before. For one thing, it’s about as far from my house as one can get on the island. For another, it’s directly downwind from Kilauea Volcano, so when the volcano is active and the trade winds are blowing, gasses blow across the length of the trail.
The latest eruption of Kilauea is currently either paused or over, so gas emissions are much reduced, and last week, the trade winds had given way to winds from the southwest. So off I went.
The trailhead is several miles west of the main entrance to the park, with a strip of parking along the highway. The first mile of the hike is also known at the Footprints Trail. It’s a sort of paved path that threads through ohias to a small building that houses footprints left by early Hawaiians in volcanic mud and ash. Alas, I couldn’t identify any footprints in the display. Shortly after the footprints, the path breaks out of the vegetation into open lava fields. This isn’t a tropical Hawaii walk, this a bleak hellscape Hawaii walk. Or is it?
The trail ascends gently to the only junction for miles around, at Mauna Iki. To the left is a trail back towards the heart of the park. The Ka’u Desert Trail heads to the right and into backcountry wilderness. Mauna Iki was the site of an eruption in 1919 and the trail traverses the lava fields from this eruption.
Much of the trail is over pahoehoe lava, which is rounded and much easier to walk on than jagged a’a lava. The trail is marked by cairns and single rocks placed alongside it. It’s pretty easy to follow with just one or two parts where attention has to be paid to make sure one doesn’t stray.
It wasn’t far along this part of the trail that I first encountered blue lava. That’s right, blue lava. Who knew? But not just blue. There’s bronze, pink, red, orange, gold, and who knows what. I’ve seen colorful lava on the Puna Coast Trail, but this was more varied and quite wonderful. In places the trail crossed this colorful lava and I felt bad for walking on it, though as I hiked I could see many more patches of color out in the lava fields. It’s not wise to leave the trail since there are many lava tubes, some with very thin ceilings.
This is an out and back trail and I turned around once I reached the Kamakai’a Hills, after about 5 miles. It’s another 2 or 3 miles to the next junction where there is a small cabin.
Also posted for Jo’s Monday Walk. See more responses here.
I drove to the southern part of the island recently. Just past Ocean View is a scenic viewpoint that I stopped at. There’s a decent view towards South Point, which is a little farther on from the line of wind turbines in the top photo.
The land down to the ocean is mostly old lava flows with scrubby vegetation striving to maintain a foothold. It’s a bit bleak and primeval, the sort of land I could imagine being roamed by dinosaurs, so it was no surprise to see one on the wall of the viewpoint. It was pink and surprisingly small, but quite friendly-looking. I was not in fear for my life and did not run screaming back to the car.
The dinosaur came with a little note underfoot which said something about posting a photo on Facebook, but since I’m not on any social media, I paid no further attention. I suspect the idea was to have the photo posted and then the dinosaur moved to a different location. I’d have hidden it in a dark, dank place where it might not have been seen again for millions of years, so it’s probably just as well that I left it where it was and continued on my journey.
Not exactly a mine, but this was how early Hawaiian settlers got their salt. Suitably cupped rocks were filled with saltwater. The hot sun evaporated the water leaving behind salt crusts on the rocks. In this instance, the water in the bowls is probably rainwater, hence the lack of any salt residue.
These rocks were at Lapakahi State Historical Park, which contains the remains of an old Hawaiian fishing village.
A couple of days ago, Big Island skies were graced by lenticular clouds. These kinds of clouds are uncommon in Hawaii, but strong winds blowing up against Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa created perfect conditions.
Lenticular clouds appear to hover in one spot, but while they don’t move, they can change shape constantly. These two clouds behaved quite differently. The one on the right retained its basic shape all day. The one on the left was constantly morphing from one shape to another. Alas, I only got these photos because I was working and to photograph the clouds without an array of wires in the foreground meant a walk down the road a ways.
These clouds look like they’re close to the ground, but they form in the troposphere, between 6,500 and 20,000 feet. By the end of the day, the cloud on the left was largely broken up and disappearing, but the one on the right was still going strong, albeit while becoming masked by lower level clouds.