Tag Archives: Hiking

The trail behind Pololu Beach

The trail behind Pololu Beach on the Big Island Hawaii

Pololu Beach is a popular spot for visitors and locals. The trail down to the beach can be bustling with people and the beach itself is often well-populated. But behind the beach, this trail through the trees always seems quiet. It leads to a gully that, in turn, guides the few who venture up there, to a bench overlooking Honokane Nui Valley. (Read about that here.)

Posted for Becky’s Squares with a theme of “Walking.” See more responses here.

All quiet at Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach in Hawaii

A couple of days ago, I hiked south from Spencer Beach Park to Hapuna and back. My main reason for doing this was that I’d heard Hapuna State Park was closed because of a broken water line. People were still allowed to get in the water there, but not stay on the beach or gather anywhere – a sort of return to Covid restrictions. I wanted to see how much difference this made.

When I got down there, the beach wasn’t deserted, but was pretty quiet, especially for a Saturday afternoon. Normally, there would be large gatherings and barbecues. Mind you, the beach in front of Hapuna Resort, at the top of this photo, wasn’t especially crowded either. Perhaps it was just a slow weekend.

Wiliwili tree

Wiliwili tree flowers in Hawaii
Wiliwili tree flowers in Hawaii
Wiliwili tree flowers in Hawaii

A week ago, I posted (here) about a Wiliwili tree flowering at the foot of Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a. Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) is endemic to Hawaii and grows in dry forests on the leeward side of the island. Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a is one such place. While I’ve hiked here several times before, this is the first time I’ve seen a Wiliwili flowering.

Wiliwili is unusual for an Hawaiian tree in that it’s deciduous, dropping it’s leaves during summer droughts. It’s pollinated by birds, but on this day bees were the primary visitors.

Wiliwili seeds are easy to germinate and grow but, like many Hawaiian plants, it has been in decline, losing out to more robust non-native plants and to herbivores. The arrival in Hawaii of a a gall wasp, Quadrastichus erythrinae, greatly exacerbated the situation. However, biocontrol responses have been effective and the situation has been stabilized.

Wiliwili tree flowers in Hawaii

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.

Walking with dolphins

A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii
A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii
A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii

Wait a minute, I hear you say, isn’t that supposed to be swimming with dolphins? Usually yes, but in this case, I was walking along the coast when I noticed a splash in the water. Another followed and I quickly recognized the familiar shape and behavior of Spinner Dolphins.

For almost half an hour, I watched as a large pod of dolphins – at least 50 and possibly as many as 100 – cavorted offshore. We were all heading in the same direction and, in normal circumstances, dolphins would easily outpace me, but these were having fun. In addition to spinning, I saw a lot of other regular jumps. Sometimes the dolphins turned back the way they came or headed toward shore, surfing in the waves.

When I turned inland, to head back to my car, they were still in sight and still spinning and frolicking in the waves.

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

A Spinner dolphin leaps from the waters off Hawaii

Lava in all its colors

A variety of colors can be seen in this lava on the Puna Coast Trail (posted here).

This week’s Sunday Stills Monthly Color Challenge is ‘Lava.’ See more responses here. I don’t often run photos I’ve posted before, but this seemed like an opportune instance to rerun some older photos that are perfect for this theme. I’ve put captions on the photos and a link to the original posts for those interested in checking them out.

Old brown lava surrounded by black lava from a more recent flow (posted here).

Walk this way

Footsteps mark the way at Kaulana Manu Nature Trail in Hawaii

I posted here about the spiffy new Kaulana Manu Nature Trail facilities. This is another feature of the upgrade. The actual trailhead is 100 yards or so up the old road from the parking area. I would have thought that negotiating this stretch safely could have been achieved by the placement of a map (which is there) and a couple of clear, but not ostentatious arrows.

Apparently, the trail planners have less faith in the public being able to negotiate the simple transition from car park to trail. Instead we have this solution, a series of footprints to guide even direction-challenged walkers.

There’s a problem though. I tried walking in these footsteps and it made me tired and fearful that I was going to pull a muscle somewhere. Plus, it seems very discriminatory to pigeon-toed people.

Mauna Kea from Kaulana Manu Nature Trail

A view of Mauna Kea from Kipuka 21on the Big Island, Hawaii

Kaulana Manu Nature Trail used to be known as Kipuka 21. A kipuka is an area of land that has been surrounded by lava and the 21 referred to the fact that this one was located at the 21 mile marker of the road across the middle of the island.

It has been renamed Kaulana Manu Nature Trail, presumably to reflect its new grandeur since the trail has been renovated, which is a good thing. However, a new toilet facility and parking lot, featuring space for three large buses, has also been built, which is not necessarily a good thing.

The trail is a one mile loop through a fragile environment, where native endangered birds can sometimes be seen. I’m not clear on how disgorging busloads of people into this area is going to help preserve things. If three buses did arrive, there would be gridlock on the trail, which is narrow and winding.

Fortunately, when I’ve visited, the place has been pretty much deserted. Long may that continue.