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.
This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Mountain Top.’ See more responses here.
Mauna Kea is the highest mountain on earth, when measured from its base to its peak. It logs in at 33,476 feet, 13,803 of which are above sea level.
The top photo is a late afternoon view from near the summit of Mauna Kea, with the Subaru Telescope on the left and the two Keck Telescopes to the right. The top of the cloud layer lies a thousand or more feet below them, which is one of the reasons it’s such a prime site for astronomy.
The second photo is a view from Upolu, showing the summit with a lot of snow on it. While this photo was taken in February, the volcano is high enough that snow can fall at any time of year.
This is the sign at the landward end of the breakwater that protects Kawaihae harbor. The breakwater is just over half a mile long and, as you’d expect, people rigorously respect the warning to stay off this dangerous structure. Just kidding. We’re talking people here. They fish from the structure on a regular basis and, as far as I can tell, nobody seems too bothered about that. This is an early morning view.
This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your Favorite Landscape.’ See more responses here.
When I think of the landscape at Upolu, it includes both the ocean that borders it and the skies above. They are, in my mind, integral to the place. But here, I’ve focussed on the land, a relatively small area of a few square miles where I walk most days. It’s rural, agricultural, and coastal. It’s historic and modern. It’s also a place I never return from feeling disappointed. There’s always something of note that I see or that happens when I’m there.
Also posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.
As the sun sets on this strange, unhappy year, here’s a photo of a more tranquil sunset. The long, low island on the left is Kahoʻolawe, with Lānaʻi visible just to the right of it. The southern coast of Maui is on the right.