This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Road Trippin’.’ See more responses here. Since there aren’t any road trips, in the usual sense of the expression, here on the island, I thought I’d focus on a stretch of road that is one of my favorite drives here.
Old Saddle Road is an 11 mile stretch of the old highway that connected the west side of the island to the east side, through the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. These days, people take the new road, which is wide and smooth and allows drivers to zip along at 80 mph even though the speed limit is 60 mph. I like this highway, too, but the best part of any cross-island trip is always the old highway, which is up and down, winding, and dotted with one lane narrows where culverts pass under the highway (they’re not bridges) to channel the copious amounts of rain away from the road.
This stretch of road is bordered by ranch land, with horses, cattle, and sheep to the fore. There’s also a good variety of wildlife that can be seen in this area. And the weather can be anything from stunning to biblically awful, sometimes within the hour. So here are a few scenes that give an idea of that short, but special drive.
Recently, for some reason, a couple of yellow-billed cardinals have taken a liking to my car. I thought they were attracted to their reflections in the mirrors, though I later realized it was their reflections in the windows that they noticed more.
The downside of their activities was the all bird poop I had to clean off the side of the cart. So I decided I needed a deterrent. It seems to work. At least I haven’t seen them since!
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘A Numbers Game.’ See more responses here. I put all my fingers and thumbs to work for my response, starting with ten Sheep in formation (and ten Cattle Egrets, too, as a bonus).
Next we have nine Spinner Dolphins playing, eight Wild Pigs foraging, seven Cattle Egrets heading to work.
Then there’s six Dung Beetles at work, five Black Triggerfish feeling blue, four Japanese White-eyes bathing.
And finally, three Horses watching, two Hawaiian Monk Seals resting, and one Pueo anticipating zero and lifting off.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Wildlife.’ See more responses here. I thought I’d go with a couple of photos from the air, on land, and in the ocean.
First up, a couple of native Hawaiian birds, a palila above and a pueo below.
Next, a group of goats blocking a trail in South Kona, above, and a wild pig snaffles a mango and runs off with its prize, below.
Finally, a pod of spinner dolphins that I encountered in the wild while snorkeling. This scene was made more poignant for me by having recently seen dolphins in a small pool doing their thing for tourists at one of the resorts here. I couldn’t bring myself to take a photo of that.
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.
I saw this pueo cruising back and forth above the grasslands alongside Old Saddle Road. Sometimes it hovered and moved on, but a couple of times it dove into the grass. Not sure if it caught anything, though they’re quick to swallow any rodents they catch.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your 2020 Retrospective.’ See more responses here. Also posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.
In this retrospective I’ve focused on events and photos that were uplifting for me during the difficult year that was. Most of these photos haven’t run before, but were taken at the same time as those in posts that ran in 2020. Links to the original posts are at the end of the captions.