Category Archives: Signs

A new route up Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a

A view of PuuWaaWaa, Hawaii
Williwilli flowers at PuuWaaWaa, Hawaii

Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a is a cinder cone on the slopes of Hualalai volcano. The name means “many-furrowed hill,” and it’s a place I like to walk at least once a year, but it had been a while since I was up there. Usually, I go there in the spring when Jacarandas and other flowers are blooming. I also try to go in the early morning, since the area tends to cloud up during the day and the wonderful views become obscured.

A couple of weeks ago I made a late decision to do the hike again since the weather looked unusually good. I got there around 2pm and it will come as no surprise that I spent the first 15 minutes of the hike taking photos of Williwilli flowers on a tree about 20 feet from where I parked! (More of those in a few days.)

Silk oak flowers at PuuWaaWaa, Hawaii

The trail follows an old road up the hill past Silk Oak trees, at the tail end of their flowering and sporting a deep red hue I hadn’t seen before. Turn around, and there are good views of Maui to be had. The old road peters out near an old blockhouse, now lacking doors and windows, which offers shelter to livestock on the ranch here. Off to one side is an old quarry, which cuts into the side of the hill. Usually there are goats in this area, but I didn’t see any on this day. Farther up is what’s left of Tamaki Corral, which dates back around 100 years.

Not far after the corral, the trail climbs steeply toward the top. This was where I found a change in the trail. Whereas before the trail was an out-and-back up a steep slope to the top, now a loop has been created. I took this new option to the top where, on this remarkably clear late afternoon, I had great views of Maui, Kohala Mountain, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, and Hualalai. A new sign at the top welcomes hikers to the nearly 4,000 foot summit, and there’s a survey marker at the top riddled with holes, not from gunfire, but to let the wind blow through. There are also a couple of benches where one can sit a while enjoying the views (weather permitting). The hike is steep in places, but not difficult, though not everyone makes it back alive!

I followed the old trail back down and ran into several sheep, which have the run of the land up here, as the sun dipped behind the ridge.

One other difference I noticed with this afternoon hike was the proliferation of birds. There were large numbers of finches, mostly Saffron Finches flitting about, preparing to roost for the evening. Yellow-fronted Canaries were all over the tree tobacco flowers. I also saw, and heard, several Erckel’s Francolins doing their usual fine job of blending in with the vegetation.

And as I walked back down the hill towards my car, the late afternoon sun still shone, illuminating grasses alongside the trail.

Grasses on PuuWaaWaa, Hawaii

Posted for Jo’s Monday Walk. See more walks here.

Signs: Shark sighted

A sign on a beach at Kawaihae, Hawaii

This sign stands behind the little beach below Puʻukoholā Heiau at Kawaihae. Typically, When a shark is sighted, a temporary warning sign is put up, then removed after a few days. This sign is permanent. The reason for this is that beyond this beach is Pelekane Bay and that’s the site of an underwater heiau dedicated to sharks.

This heiau, called Hale o Kapuni, was built by a chief for whom sharks were considered carriers of the spirits of his ancestors. Human sacrifices were carried out on the beach and afterwards, the bodies were believed to have been placed at the heiau for the sharks. Those days are long gone, but the bay and surrounding area is still home to a large population of sharks, hence the sign.

For more information, go to https://www.nps.gov/puhe/index.htm

Signs: Banana Leaf Coffee & Tea

A sign for the Banana Leaf Coffee & Tea shop in Hawi, Hawaii

Back in the early Covid days, work began on converting a space in downtown Hawi for Banana Leaf Coffee & Tea. I was interested in the project from the start. For one thing, it seemed not the best timing given that the number of visitors to Hawaii was hovering around zero with little prospect for change. Also, the location for this enterprise is across the street from Kohala Coffee Mill, a very popular stop for visitors and locals alike.

The project chugged along and seemed to be close to completion when this sign went up. But in the months since then, not much has happened. The building appears ready to go but the business hasn’t opened. I suspect it never will and one day I’ll be driving by and notice the sign has gone.

That’s a pity. I quite like the sign, in part because when I first saw it, my immediate reaction was, “Mmmm, jelly beans.”

Signs: Evil

A sign seen on a truck in Hawi, Hawaii

A couple of days ago, my wife called to alert me to the presence of this truck in Hawi, so I scurried over there and took some photos.

The message was on both sides of the board, but what was it there for? Were they upset with one of the stores, but which one? Was it a court ordered sign for a terrible driver? Was the truck several steps beyond a lemon? Was it a Google Street View vehicle?

If I still had my truck and the necessary materials to hand, I would have fashioned a similar board, painted a word on it, and parked it across the street. One option was ‘Good.’ Another was ‘Knievel.’

It was a mystery, but I’m happy to report that when I passed by later in the day, the evil had been driven out of Hawi.