Saturday, March 28, 2009

Peach colored lehua!

Too pink to be called just "orange." Salmon, maybe.

Here's the beginning of the trail at the end of Kaloko Drive. Notice anything you don't see on the sign?

The walk gains 1500' in a mile and a half, so it's more than a leisurely stroll. But the trail is pleasant:

Lichen growing on fallen koa:

Finally I got a super-secret part in To Kill A Mockingbird. I can't tell you which, but it rhymes with "do badly."

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Between Four Seasons/Kona Village and Kiholo, for several miles, the land consists mostly of the a'a lava from the eruption (1750-1800) out of the pit craters near the end of Huehue Street in Kaloko Mauka. Around the 84 mile marker there is access to the wedge of pahoehoe lava between the two forks of a'a. The point at the tip of that wedge is called KaLaeMano (Shark Point).

It's just over two miles from the highway to the ocean, and there a new road and "interpretive center" near the coast, which according to the workers down there, isn't open to public access yet, although community groups have begun using the facility. In the old days (before about 2002) the only way to the shore was to hike in from Kona Village (to the south) or Kiholo (to the north) or drive to drive in from the Queen K highway at the 84 mile marker following arrows and lines spray painted on the lava. While the interpretive center violates the prior wilderness feel of the area, it actually represents a victory because more extensive development of the area was planned until this case (disclosure: I was one of the attorneys involved) tied things up for ten years or so.

It was a day that I felt like a hot walk, and in that regard, walking on bare lava in the middle of the day is just what the doctor ordered. I planned on swimming when I got to the ocean. But the seas were a little too frisky for me to try to climb down a cliff and swim. So I just walked some more.

In the hearings before the LUC, one of the things that came out was that one of the things that KaLaeMano was known for were its many salt pans. Because there are no streams on this side of the island, and virtually no plans near the ocean for several miles in either direction, the salt from KaLaeMano was known for its purity. I still have a small container of salt on my mantle that was given to me as part of that case.

A salt accumulation:

Two views of the coast:


Despite no swim (and falling about 2 minutes into walk and cutting my hands) it was an enjoyable, if hot, 5.2 mile walk.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Huehue Lava Flow Mauka of Kona Airport

Kona Airport sits on the Huehue pahoehoe flow, which covers the coast from OTEC to Kona Coast State Park, and which issued from an elevated and elongated vent called Puhia Pele ("blown out by Pele"). The land is targeted for a motorsports park, possibly not the most appropriate neighbor for the wilderness coast that Kona Coast State Park is supposed to be. (click on photo for larger version)
Some of the lava forms are quite striking:



Sunday, March 22, 2009

Halapepe Trail at Pu'uwa'awa'a

Pu'uwa'awa'a, the furrowed hill, as noted in the linked brochure (it's a spectacular setting for your Hawaii vacation, retreat, or meeting!), is located [about] halfway between Kailua and Waimea. It's recognizable (click on photo for larger version)(note the part of the hill at left quarried away in the days before the word "environment" was heard in the halls of government):

There are two public trails, the Ohia Trail (about four miles roundtrip to the summit of the cone) and the newer one, the Halapepe Trail ( just over a mile). Today I walked the Halapepe Trail for the first time. It's named after the native dracena. There was quite a large one (and many smaller ones) along the trail (note the two flower clusters at the bottom):

Earlier in the day I drove up to Waikoloa and noticed that some of the wiliwili were in full foliage, possibly a result of the recent release of predator wasps to control the gall wasps, but good news in any case. Some of the wiliwili along thr trail looked dead, or dormant, but this one had plenty of nice new foliage:

Finally here's a good view of the fairly long, usually deserted beach at Kaloko-Honokohau (the vog was at "plus ungood" levels that day):

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Superferry, R.I.P.;'Iwa

It's been clear since they announced that work on the second Superferry was suspended that we wouldn't be getting Superferry service on the Big Island, but still, it was disappointing that the Hawaii Supreme Court pounded what seems to be the final nail in the coffin of inter-island ferry service. The EIS and environmental issues were always nothing more than a cover for a general lifestyle/anti-growth/anti-military agenda.

On a lighter note, here's an 'Iwa, playing in the wind over the lava field at Kaloko-Honokohau:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Big River Ends, Walking in the Rain, and "Torch of Light Award"?

Saturday night was the final performance of "Big River." It was a success, artistically and financially, and a lot of fun to do. Here's the sterling cast:

I'm at the far right of the picture. I intend to dress that way from now on.

Decided not to let a flood warning stop my hike, and it didn't. It was drizzling when I started, but the raindrops vanished like so many Obama campaign promises. Just about sunset I took this blue hour photo:

Hualalai doesn't look that tall, but it's higher than any mountain in North America east of the Rockies. Tennessee and New Hampshire, you've been served.

I followed a link in one of Damon Tucker's 50-60 daily posts to this Hawaii Tribune Herald article about the county Department of Public Works and its Public Information Officer's(!) idiotic attempt to prevent the public from learning the status of projects from bloggers. Of course, bloggers like Aaron Stene would not need to issue updates on road projects if our inept county government and its useless Public Information Officers did the job of informing the public.
I did wonder about this, however:
The Torch of Light Award, awarded for the best example of open government, goes to Gov. Linda Lingle and the Hawaii State Legislature for passing a law to protect newsgatherers from revealing confidential sources.
Protecting confidential sources is no doubt helpful to journalists, and possibly useful in uncovering government corruption or misdeeds, but "the best example of open government"? I don't see it. Perhaps there were NO actual examples of open government in Hawaii last year. Could be.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thank God THAT'S over!

President Obama said Thursday that the economy is not as bad as it seems. Whew! What a relief! It's good to know that that "catastrophe" we were facing when the stimulus bill was before Congress has been averted. The Depression may have only lasted three weeks, but I know it has changed us all forever. What stories we'll have to tell our grandchildren!

How much time are the Coupes costing West Hawaii residents?

Yesterday, the third day of the Hokulia Bypass trial, I drove up to Kainaliu at 5:30 for Big River. (Last weekend!)

There was no traffic slowdown. None. I drove straight up from town to the new Oshima parking lot in Kainaliu. Now Kona mauka residents can see just what this legal debacle has been costing them, in time. Incompetence and fecklessness on the part of the County is in there too, but the truth is that the Coupes' supreme selfishness has cost West Hawaii residents hundreds of hours of their precious time over the last several years of delay.

Thanks, Coupes!

Monday, March 09, 2009


Saturday morning, before the start of the rains that continue, more or less, to now (Monday afternoon), I got this shot of the little pu'u at the top of Huehue Street just as the clouds moved in for good:

It's a sweet, silent world when the clouds move in and just sit on the mountain. The only sounds are the flutter of birds' wings and their songs.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Is it possible to get too cute in writing your headline?


A serious article in Honolulu Weekly about the ongoing disappearance of indigenous languages around the world. The headline? "Cunning linguist"

Monday, March 02, 2009