Tag Archives: Saddle Road

Walk this way

Footsteps mark the way at Kaulana Manu Nature Trail in Hawaii

I posted here about the spiffy new Kaulana Manu Nature Trail facilities. This is another feature of the upgrade. The actual trailhead is 100 yards or so up the old road from the parking area. I would have thought that negotiating this stretch safely could have been achieved by the placement of a map (which is there) and a couple of clear, but not ostentatious arrows.

Apparently, the trail planners have less faith in the public being able to negotiate the simple transition from car park to trail. Instead we have this solution, a series of footprints to guide even direction-challenged walkers.

There’s a problem though. I tried walking in these footsteps and it made me tired and fearful that I was going to pull a muscle somewhere. Plus, it seems very discriminatory to pigeon-toed people.

Mauna Kea from Kaulana Manu Nature Trail

A view of Mauna Kea from Kipuka 21on the Big Island, Hawaii

Kaulana Manu Nature Trail used to be known as Kipuka 21. A kipuka is an area of land that has been surrounded by lava and the 21 referred to the fact that this one was located at the 21 mile marker of the road across the middle of the island.

It has been renamed Kaulana Manu Nature Trail, presumably to reflect its new grandeur since the trail has been renovated, which is a good thing. However, a new toilet facility and parking lot, featuring space for three large buses, has also been built, which is not necessarily a good thing.

The trail is a one mile loop through a fragile environment, where native endangered birds can sometimes be seen. I’m not clear on how disgorging busloads of people into this area is going to help preserve things. If three buses did arrive, there would be gridlock on the trail, which is narrow and winding.

Fortunately, when I’ve visited, the place has been pretty much deserted. Long may that continue.

Old Saddle Road

Horses off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Horses frolic in pasture land alongside Old Saddle Road.

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.

A ranch off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
One of the ranches on Old Saddle Road.
Old Saddle Road on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Old Saddle Road undulates down towards the junction with the new highway.
View of Hualalai from Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
A view of Hualalai from Old Saddle Road, showing the new highway winding down towards Kailua Kona.
Two goats off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Goats can often be seen alongside Old Saddle Road.
A pueo off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
O;d Saddle Road is a great place to see pueos, the endemic Hawaiian short-eared owl.
A pueo catches a mouse off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Sometimes I’m lucky enough to see a pueo catch a meal.
Mist in the trees off Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
Old Saddle Road can be shrouded in mist…
A view of Mauna Kea from Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
…or glow in the evening sun…
Sunset from Old Saddle Road on the Big Island, Hawaii
…and it’s a great place to take in the sunset.

Mare and foal

A mare and foal in Hawaii
A mare and foal in Hawaii

I spotted this mare and foal alongside Old Saddle Road and stopped to take photos. The foal wasn’t impressed and got to its feet in that ungainly way that foals do, still struggling to get control over those long limbs.

Once upright, the pair sauntered off out of range of my camera.

A mare and foal in Hawaii

Shoes on a wire

A pair of sneakers on a power line

I have to admit I have no idea what the attraction is to knotting a pair of shoes together and lobbing them over phone or power lines. I saw this pair on Old Saddle Road, which is basically in the middle of nowhere. Mind you, I can see why a person would want to get rid of these shoes!

Posted in response to this month’s Becky’s Squares challenge theme of ‘Odd.’ See more responses here.

Prickly heart

A heart shaped prickly pear cactus in Hawaii.

I saw this prickly pear cactus alongside Old Saddle Road and thought it a good illustration that affairs of the heart are not always smooth. I also thought this would make a good album cover for a country band whose biggest hit was a song titled ‘Prickly Heart.’ There must be one out there surely!

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