This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Great Outdoors.’ See more responses here.
In Hawaii, people spend a great deal of time outdoors. It’s common for people to have an outdoor kitchen, sometimes their only kitchen, sometimes a second one where a barbecue is the featured cooking apparatus. Carports often feature chairs and tables with cars parked elsewhere. The lanai, or deck, is as well-used as any room in the house.
Outdoor activities are popular here, too. Many involve the ocean and its inviting water: swimming, snorkeling, paddling, and of course surfing. Plenty of people go fishing and hunting, longtime sources of food for the table.
For me, experiencing the great outdoors primarily involves hiking and snorkeling. Hiking isn’t especially popular here, especially along the coast where it can get quite hot. I get strange looks when I hike the length of popular beaches togged out in hiking gear, including shoes, hat, and fanny pack loaded with water. For most, the beach is a place for stretching out and broiling in the sun, not actively working up a sweat.
The vast majority of photos on this blog are taken in the great outdoors. These photos are a small selection of things I’ve seen while out and about, from sweeping views to birds and bugs.
The Ala Kahakai Trail, which used to run from the northern tip of the island to the south-eastern tip, can be followed for a good stretch of the South Kohala Coast. The part south of Kohanaiki Beach Park is well marked and signed. That’s not the case in many other places.
These chairs in front of Kohanaiki Beach Club looked very tempting to me when I walked by on a recent hike. However, I think if I’d plopped into one I wouldn’t have been able to relax for too long before being moved on.
The latest eruption at Kilauea Volcano has recently been declared paused. It was never an especially dramatic eruption, but when I went down a few days after it began (here) the sky was illuminated by the activity. In recent weeks though, the lava lake formed by the eruption crusted over completely and lava from the active vent was also hidden from view.
The photos are two views of Halemaumau Crater, taken before this latest eruption. In the top one, the collapsed floor of the crater is on the left. This is what the new lava lake was filling up. On the ridge, to the right side of the photo, is the low profile of the Jaggar Museum, which was closed after the 2018 eruption and likely won’t reopen.
The bottom photo shows the easternmost edge of Halemaumau Crater, which wasn’t greatly impacted by this eruption or the events of 2018. Consequently, the walls of the crater are quite green and the floor is dotted with plants. These plants are mostly ohia trees, which are among the first plants to grow in lava fields, in part because their roots will tap into lava tubes to find moisture and nutrients.
For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Kilauea’s eruptions, go to nps.gov/havo/.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Favorite Vacation Spot.’ See more responses here.
It’s been a long while since I took a vacation, but a favorite day out is a road trip to the east side of the island and a visit to Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve & Garden.
The day starts with a drive out of Hawi, up the hill to Kohala Mountain Road. This winding road climbs to around 3,500 feet before descending into Waimea. One the way, it passes through pastureland that is home to cattle, horses, and sheep.
A few miles after driving through Waimea, there’s a left turn onto Old Saddle Road. These days, the main road across the island is a smooth, wide thoroughfare, but it’s not so long ago that the highway was all like Old Saddle Road – narrow and twisting. In those days, rental car companies would not allow their cars to be driven on that road. Old Saddle Road is the last remnant of the original road and it’s one of my favorite roads to drive here, not just because of the road’s qualities, but because it’s one of the most reliable places to see pueos, the Hawaiian short-eared owl. On this road I drive like one of those people you follow and say ‘What the !@^%$@)&^ is that idiot doing?’ I’m prone to zipping off the tarmac and bolting from the car, camera in hand, snapping photos as I go.
Old Saddle Road joins the new highway a just before it reaches Pohakuloa Training Area, a large military base in the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. It’s not unusual to hear the sound of shells exploding here as they do live ammunition fire. Past this area, there are several good hiking trails that venture into the high elevation landscape. This is one of the best areas for seeing native birds that are still hanging on in much reduced habitat.
After that, there’s the descent into Hilo and then a jog north to the garden where, every time I visit, I see something different, something that wasn’t blooming on previous visits or that I’d just missed in the profusion wonderful plants to see.
And on the way back there’s a good chance that there’ll be a splendid sunset to be enjoyed.
Also posted for this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Road Trip.’ See more responses here.
On my last hike on the Pu’u O’o Trail, off Saddle Road, I’d been busy taking photos of an i’iwi when I noticed this little bird hopping up a tree trunk, probing for insects. It’s an Hawaii ‘elepaio (Chasiempis sandwichensis sandwichensis), a member of the flycatcher family, and endemic to the island. The Hawaii ‘elepaio is one of three ‘elepaio species in Hawaii, the other two being on Oahu and Kauai.
On my last hike on the Pu’u O’o Trail, off Saddle Road, I soon ran into a man and his son staring at a tree a short distance away. The man explained that they’d seen an i’iwi, a native Hawaiian honeycreeper, fly into the tree and were hoping to see it again. I waited with them for a while, but saw nothing and decided to move on.
A little later I ran into two men coming out of a kipuka, a cluster of old vegetation that has been bypassed by lava flows. One of them, looking pretty pleased, held out his camera and said they’d just seen an i’iwi and he’d got some good photos. He mentioned the spot where they’d seen the bird, so I headed into the trees to have a look. Nothing. It was beginning to look like it was going to be one of those days where everyone else has a wonderful experience except me!
But not long after, I saw a flash of red and then this bird settled on a branch and began to add its song to the loud chorus of bird songs in the kipuka. One thing about i’iwis is that if they’re around, they’re easy to see, their bright red plumage standing out against the green background.
After the bird flew off, I carried on with my hike. When I returned half an hour later, the bird song in the kipukas had diminished considerably and I didn’t see or hear anymore i’iwis.
Posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ See more responses here.