Tag Archives: Horses

Road trip to Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden

Hualalai volcano seen from Saddle Road in Hawaii
Hualalai Volcano from Old Saddle Road.

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.

Sunset seen from Saddle Road in Hawaii
Sunset from Old Saddle Road

Also posted for this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Road Trip.’ See more responses here.

Paniolos

Three Paniolos on horseback in Hawaii

The current Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Hands & Feet.’ See more responses here.

I wasn’t sure I had anything for this topic, but then I thought of these paniolos, who I saw at Upolu last month. Paniolos are the Hawaiian version of cowboys and these days they often ride four-wheel vehicles. But there are still occasions when they’ll saddle up while moving or tending cattle.

This scene occurred last month when they were moving a herd of cattle into a new pasture. I arrived at the tail end of the process, when the paniolos were walking back to their vehicles.

So what does this have to do with hands and feet? Well, it occurred to me that hands and feet are the main tools of the trade for communicating with the horse being ridden. And as for the horses, their feet are shod with lucky horseshoes and their height is measured in hands.

Enough said!

Three Paniolos on horseback and a sugar cane harvester

Upolu landscape

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your Favorite Landscape.’ See more responses here.

When I think of the landscape at Upolu, it includes both the ocean that borders it and the skies above. They are, in my mind, integral to the place. But here, I’ve focussed on the land, a relatively small area of a few square miles where I walk most days. It’s rural, agricultural, and coastal. It’s historic and modern. It’s also a place I never return from feeling disappointed. There’s always something of note that I see or that happens when I’m there.

Also posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.

Two or three horses

I saw these two horses in Waimea, near the Parker Ranch headquarters. Nothing remarkable about them, but I’m pretty sure that brown lump in the grass is a third horse. I mention this because one of the early things I learned about horses is that they sleep standing up. They can do this because they have something called the stay apparatus, which locks the knees so they don’t fall over. The benefit of sleeping while standing is that they can respond quicker to a predator attack from that position.

While I learned this bit about horses, it didn’t register in the same way that horses will also lie down to sleep. As a result, every single time I see a horse lying stretched out in the grass the way they do, I think it’s dead or dying. Despite knowing better, this response seems to so ingrained in me that I doubt it will ever go away.

Waipi’o horses

These are the same kind of trees surrounded by the same kind of ground cover and occupied by two of the same kind of horses. But, taken together, they make a one of a kind image that many people on the island would very quickly recognize as Waipi’o Valley.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.