I work at Hapuna on the South Kohala coast and typically, during the day, clouds build up to the north and east until Kohala Mountain, Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa are obscured. That was the case a few days ago when I noticed a dense, dark patch rolling down the hill from Waimea. My first thought was that this was rain headed my way, but it looked odd. It proved to be smoke, a fact soon confirmed when the smell filled the air.
The smoke came from a brush fire, 30 miles away, in the vicinity of Pa’auilo on the Hamakua coast. Tradewinds blew the smoke over the saddle at Waimea and on down towards the ocean. The fire consumed about 1,400 acres of brush and eucalyptus trees before it was contained late the next day. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but it’s been remarkably dry for quite a while so the fire danger is currently high.
The top two photos show smoke blotting out Kohala Mountain, the second one being taken 15 minutes after the first. (Compare this with the hillside under normal circumstances here.) The bottom photo, taken a little way north of Kawaihae, shows the plume of smoke over the ocean with clear skies to the north of it.
Here’s a little peek into the commercial world in Hawaii. These signs illustrate enterprises found here, probably a similar pattern to those in many parts of the world.
Supercuts is a national franchise with locations across the country and elsewhere. It’s a hair salon and, to be honest, I’m scared to go here for fear of getting my hair styled and smothered in ‘product.’
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is a Hawaiian franchise that started in the islands but, like Supercuts, has spread nationwide and even internationally. I eat at L&L once in a while. It’s pretty good, some dishes better than others, the kind of place you know you can get a decent meal if you’re in a hurry.
Noodle Club is a local enterprise which, I confess, I haven’t been to. But I have been to Village Burger, operated by the same ownership, and they’re very good.
Posted in response to Becky’s January Squares challenge theme of ‘Up.’ See more responses here.
The headquarters of Parker Ranch, founded in 1847 and one of the biggest ranches in the USA, can be found in the bucolic town of Waimea. It’s the heart of cattle country on the Big Island and where there’s cattle, there’s cowboys, but not here. Here in Hawaii, the cattle are tended by paniolos. That’s because, when the cattle industry grew, ranch hands were needed.
The first three came from California, then part of Mexico. These three vaqueros (Spanish for cowboys) spoke español, but the theory is that, because the Hawaiian language couldn’t handle the word español, it was converted to paniolo. The name stuck.
Over time, the local Hawaiians learned the skills associated with handling cattle. So well did they do this that, in 1908, three of them were entered in the Frontier Days World Championship in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Not only were they a huge hit with the crowds, but they also won titles. Ikua Purdy won the world steer-roping contest and was later voted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame. To commemorate those achievements this monument was commissioned. It arrived on the island in 2003 and today stands next to the main highway, on the edge of the parking lot of Parker Ranch Center, a large (for Waimea) shopping complex in the center of town.
I saw these two horses in Waimea, near the Parker Ranch headquarters. Nothing remarkable about them, but I’m pretty sure that brown lump in the grass is a third horse. I mention this because one of the early things I learned about horses is that they sleep standing up. They can do this because they have something called the stay apparatus, which locks the knees so they don’t fall over. The benefit of sleeping while standing is that they can respond quicker to a predator attack from that position.
While I learned this bit about horses, it didn’t register in the same way that horses will also lie down to sleep. As a result, every single time I see a horse lying stretched out in the grass the way they do, I think it’s dead or dying. Despite knowing better, this response seems to so ingrained in me that I doubt it will ever go away.
I see this stand of yuccas on the drive into Waimea and watch for it to bloom. When it does, late afternoons are the best time for photographs so I try to remember to stop on the way back from hiking off Saddle Road or at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In this instance, it was the latter, and I was passing by around 6 pm.
Look closely at the top photo and the telescopes of Mauna Kea can be seen in the distant background, which is a bit unusual for this time of day, morning being their time to shine.
Pu’uanahulu is a small community midway between Kailua Kona and Waimea, on the upper road between those two communities. I don’t drive that highway much, except when I go to hike up Pu’u Wa’awa’a. Last time I did this, driving through Pu’uanahulu, I noticed that the jacaranda trees were in bloom alongside the road. What I hadn’t realized is just how many jacaranda trees there are in this area.
These photos are taken from the northern slopes of Pu’u Wa’awa’a. The bottom photo shows the general area with the purple jacaranda flowers of Pu’uanahulu clearly visible. The top photo shows a closer view of part of the community and the abundance of flowering jacaranda trees.
These days, the military conducts exercises at its Pōhakuloa Training Area in the saddle between Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea and Hualālai. At 133,000 acres, it’s the largest such installation in Hawaii or anywhere else in the Pacific.
But during World War II, the military leased 91,000 acres from Parker Ranch, around Waimea and down towards Kawaihae. A temporary base, called Camp Tarawa, was built on this land, and much of the rest of it was called the Waikoloa Maneuver Area. This area was used to train troops for campaigns in the Pacific.
After the war, the land was returned to Parker Ranch. While it was cleared of most munitions, a lot of shrapnel can still be found there today. The top photo shows part of the haul from a half-hour walk through the area. The coin is a U.S. quarter, a little under an inch in diameter. Many of the pieces have lines, grooves, and other marks that might help identify what munitions they were once part of.
The photo to the right shows a piece of shrapnel lying in the dirt in the scrubby ground that makes up most of this area. Kawaihae Harbor can be seen at the top right. I thought it would be hard to spot shrapnel in this terrain, but it’s surprisingly easy. Shrapnel has a slight, but distinctly different look to the dirt and lava rocks. Pick it up and it’s noticeably heavier than any of the rocks.
Hunting for shrapnel isn’t without risks. Apart from the dangers of wandering around on rough, unstable ground, there’s always a chance of finding something live. Best tread lightly.