In Hawaii, a pu’u is a hill. These are old cinder cones that dot the landscape from the coast to the top of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.
Along Old Saddle Road, the land and it’s pu’us are grass-covered. This pastureland is cattle, horse, and sheep country, with a lot of goats thrown in for good measure. The land is steep and and rough and the grass varied, but the rainfall is heavy enough that there’s a lot of it.
Old Saddle Road is one of my favorite drives on the island, particularly in the early morning (above) and late afternoon (below).
Posted in response to Friendly Friday challenge theme of ‘Splendour in the Grass.’ See more responses here.
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.
This vary strange looking cloud formation appeared one day atop the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. It hung around there for a long time before suddenly disappearing into space. No, not really. Instead, the lower level clouds continued to build and eventually obscured the view of the alien cloud. All very mysterious.
This past week or so has been a bit bleak weather-wise. At one point we had a high wind warning, winter storm warning, flash flood warning, and a high surf warning. The warnings were justified. Winds blew at 40 to 50 knots with higher gusts. Rain bucketed down. Surf pounded the shorelines. It was an unfortunate week to be vacationing here.
Meanwhile, up on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, the winter storm warning produced a decent snowfall giving those peaks a Christmassy look, albeit a few weeks too late.
I saw this I’iwi (Drepanis coccinea) on a trail off of Saddle Road, between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. These bright red birds are native Hawaiian honeycreepers and in the old days, the feathers of the birds were collected to make cloaks for Hawaiian royalty.
The curved bill is suited for feeding on native lobelias, but a decline in those plants has seen the I’iwi adapt to feeding on other native plants including ʻōhiʻa lehua, māmane, and ohelo.
While the numbers of I’iwi are still fairly good, particularly on the Big Island and Maui, they have suffered, like other birds, from loss of habitat. In addition, They are susceptible to avian malaria, spread by mosquitoes. Consequently, I’iwi are doing better at higher elevations, such as where this photo was taken at around 6,000 feet.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Peace.’ See more offerings here.
I’ve always found looking down on clouds gives me a peaceful feeling. Those fluffy balls of cotton wool look like they would make a comfy resting place. The irony is that those clouds may actually conceal roiling, turbulent air currents that are anything but peaceful, but let’s not allow reality to spoil the image.
This cloud layer blanketed the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. The two peaks poking above the clouds are, in the foreground, Pu’u Ahumoa, and in the background, Hualalai.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘December Chill.’ (See more offerings here.)
Since I haven’t been to the chilly areas of the island recently, up on Mauna Kea or Mauna Loa, I’ve gone for a scene that at least looks chilly. Low, scudding clouds and high surf, driven by brisk trade winds make for a chilly scene, though the truth is I was almost certainly wearing shorts and a t-shirt when I took the photo.