This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Unique.’ See more responses here.
I’ve posted photos of the benches at Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo before (here and here), but realized I had some others available, so here they are. I don’t know whether they’re unique or not, but I’ve never seen anything like them elsewhere.
Top photo is the Namaste bench, Namaste being a white Bengal tiger, the zoo’s star attraction, who died in 2014. The middle photo shows a couple of birds, though I hesitate to say what kind! The bottom photo represents the zoo’s ring-tailed lemurs.
The zoo is currently closed, in part because of the Covid virus, but also for construction required to make the zoo compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s scheduled to reopen in early 2021. For more information about Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, go to hilozoo.org.
Recently, I posted a couple of photos (here) of a section of the Halema’uma’u Trail in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. I thought I’d follow up with a few more photos of the trail, which runs from near the visitor center down to the edge of the summit caldera of Kilauea Volcano.
For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/.
One of the nice things about the hike up Pu’u Wa’awa’a is the selection of benches available for rest and contemplation, on the way up and at the top. This bench sits halfway up the steep slope that accesses the top of the hill. It gives a good view of Mauna Loa and the pastures on and around Pu’u Wa’awa’a. If you’re lucky, you might even see a dung beetle or three doing what they do.
Most people going to Green Sands Beach, near South Point, hike in or pay for a local to transport them in one of a variety of dubious-looking trucks. Once there, people head down to the beach to swim or broil on the green sand.
Beyond the place where the trucks stop is a pu’u and a hike over this hill and down the other side takes one to this bench, which overlooks the bay, though not the beach itself. It’s a quiet spot unless the wind is howling, which it often is, but the view is lovely and it makes a great resting spot before either carrying on along the coast, or returning whence one came.
Here are a couple of colorful benches that can be found at Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens in Hilo. Designed more for appearance than comfort, there are several similar benches at the zoo (here). If you do visit and choose to sit on the alligator bench, make sure it is a bench and not one of the real alligators.
For more information about Pana‘ewa Rainforest Zoo & Gardens, go to hilozoo.org.
I’ve posted a photo of this bench and view before, but when I took this walk beyond Pololu a few months ago the bench was in bad shape. One of the legs had rotted out and if I wanted to sit, it had to be on one end and with care.
So last time I hiked up that way I took a tape measure, planning to assess the damage and work out what was needed to fix the bench. However, when I got there I found someone had beaten me to it. And unlike my repair idea, they had wisely decided to discard the previous bench frame and replace it with a plastic one.
While it might be somewhat less aesthetically pleasing, the plastic frame should last a lot longer than its predecessor. It’s also securely anchored with metal rods so the bench should be around for a good long time. Something to look forward to next time I make the hike.
A few days ago I did another hike up Pu’u Wa’awa’a, a large cinder cone north of Kona. I planned the hike to coincide with one of the days of latest sunrise here, just after 7 a.m.. My idea was to arrive at the trailhead at 6 a.m., when the gate opens, and head up as quickly as I could in order to get the best shot at early morning light from the summit. This meant getting up by 4 a.m. and setting out by 5 a.m.
Defying all historical precedents, I was there five minutes early. The new automated gates opened before me and in no time I was hotfooting up the trail, flashlight in hand, in order to avoid breaking an ankle in the one of the many potholes in the old road that makes up the first part of the trail.
One advantage of hiking in the dark is that I didn’t stop every five minutes to take a photo of a goat or bug. Still, an hour into the hike, as the light improved, I couldn’t help but pause when I spotted a large wild pig excavating – no other word for it – a large hole in the hillside in the search for worms and the like (alas the photos weren’t great – not enough light).
By 7:30 a.m. I reached the top of the climb. I already knew I wasn’t going to get the hoped-for blaze of early morning sun – too many clouds from the get-go – but this photo shows the moody light that greeted me. I considered this a worthy consolation prize. And then there was the fact that I had the summit to myself for 90 minutes, and the mamane trees on the west side were in bloom and attracting Hawaii ‘amakihi and hordes of bees (look for several dozen photos of these in the near future!).
For more information about Pu’u Wa’awa’a and its trails, go to puuwaawaa.org.
At the top of the Alakaha Ramp, on the 1871 Trail from Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park to Ho’okena, is this little weathered bench. It offers shade and a lovely view to the north, the point of land being the park.
For more information about the 1871 Trail, and other hikes on the Big Island, go to bigislandhikes.com.