An image from my recent hike on Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a. This has a bit of a mysterious look about it and a definitely mysterious subject. I have no idea what it is or when I took it, but I kind of liked the look of it.
Posted for Becky’s Squares theme of “Walking” (See more responses here).
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.
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.)
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.
I saw this cow on a little hump of land at Pu’u Wa’awa’a and was struck by the pose. It was so bulky and muscular, I thought it was a bull at first. It’s definitely not a dairy cow though. That would be too terrifying to think about.
Pu’uanahulu is a small community not far from Pu’u Wa’awa’a, where I like to hike. This small Baptist church sits at one end of the community and is backed by trees including the jacaranda that was in bloom when I took this photo.
Posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Trees.’ See more responses here.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Great Outdoors.’ See more responses here.
In Hawaii, people spend a great deal of time outdoors. It’s common for people to have an outdoor kitchen, sometimes their only kitchen, sometimes a second one where a barbecue is the featured cooking apparatus. Carports often feature chairs and tables with cars parked elsewhere. The lanai, or deck, is as well-used as any room in the house.
Outdoor activities are popular here, too. Many involve the ocean and its inviting water: swimming, snorkeling, paddling, and of course surfing. Plenty of people go fishing and hunting, longtime sources of food for the table.
For me, experiencing the great outdoors primarily involves hiking and snorkeling. Hiking isn’t especially popular here, especially along the coast where it can get quite hot. I get strange looks when I hike the length of popular beaches togged out in hiking gear, including shoes, hat, and fanny pack loaded with water. For most, the beach is a place for stretching out and broiling in the sun, not actively working up a sweat.
The vast majority of photos on this blog are taken in the great outdoors. These photos are a small selection of things I’ve seen while out and about, from sweeping views to birds and bugs.