On a recent foray into Hawi to get photos for last week’s Sunday Stills challenge (here), I took these photos of the Kohala Welcome Center. This is the place to get information about North Kohala for visitors en route to Kapaau and Pololu, which marks the end of the highway.
On this particular evening, the welcome center was illuminated by its Christmas display and a full moon, which also highlighted the palm trees that tower over that location.
At the end of Highway 270, on the northern tip of the island, is Pololu Valley. There’s a trail down to the beach there and, at the other end of the beach, another trail leading up to a bench that overlooks Honokāne Nui valley.
Not far beyond the bench, the trail was destroyed by an earthquake in 2006. It’s still possible to descend to the valley, but the trail goes straight down a steep slope and ropes are in place to make this possible. There are no guarantees that these ropes are in good condition and the slope certainly isn’t. If you do descend this section, the trail passes through varied vegetation and ultimately leads down to a rocky beach at the mouth of Honokāne Nui valley.
Beyond Honokāne Nui, there’s another trail that continues over the next hill and down into Honokāne Iki valley. That valley opens up to this beautiful little bay, which is quite protected and, at low tide, has a nice sandy beach. Be aware though that this is private land and in use on a regular basis.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Something Red.’ (See more offerings here.) I had a few bird photos that fell into that category, but I chose these yellow-billed cardinal photos for their name.
When I’m out on walks, I’ve run into people who ask me about the name of the little bird with the red head. No one has ever asked me about the name of the little bird with the yellow bill, but that’s the feature that gives them their name. I guess it’s because other cardinals have red heads so calling this one a red-headed cardinal would lead to confusion.
I thought this one, seen on the beach at Pololu, looked particularly dapper.
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.
I wrote a while ago (here) about the precipitous, rope-aided section of the trail to Honokane Nui Valley, east of Pololu. Surviving that section does offer the reward of the rest of the trail, which passes through tree-shaded clearings, tropical-leafed tunnels, and bamboo canyons. Try not to think of the haul back up.
Pololu beach looks like an inviting place to get in the water, especially if you get hot on the hike down. But it’s a very dangerous spot to get in the water with strong rip currents. Local knowledge helps, but even locals get into trouble now and again. One of those places that looks inviting, but only up to a point.
There’s satisfaction in reaching the end of the highway. Highway 270, also known as Akoni Pule Highway, ends at the Pololu lookout. From there, a steep trail leads down to Pololu beach and valley. Parking at the end of the road is tight and there’s no good place to turn around, but plans are afoot for a new parking area and toilets about a hundred yards up the road. If and when that happens it will be a marked improvement on the current setup.