Photographing some of the gulches, waterfalls, streams, and historic bridges on the old Mamalahoa Highway near Onomea I note that these jungle gulches were often used as dumping spots for cars and trucks.
Numerous engine blocks, frames, tires and axles can be seen in several streams. Most of the vehicles appear to be mid-twentieth century, the remains well weathered by the elements. An engine block among the boulders, an axle protruding from the brush.
One or two? More than that… Just below the bridge at Hanawi there is an entire cliff face made of vehicles, the rusting frames making up the whole side of the gulch. The Jeep grill protruding just above the stream made a interesting photo…
Since I had to drive back from Hilo anyway, may as well have some fun along the way. I had spent some time on Google maps the night before scouting a good set of waterfalls to drone and ended up choosing Kawainui… A good choice.
The Hamakua coast features hundreds upon hundreds of waterfalls, from modest cascades to spectacular falls hundreds of feet high. I wanted some good video footage of a classic Hawaiian Island waterfall.
I needed a waterfall that was big enough to be impressive and offer open airspace for the drone, not overhung with trees and branches to create flight hazards. I was looking for a falls that was not close to a house, no need to be rude and fly over someone’s back yard. I needed easy access from a road.
Kawainui stream fit all the criteria, with several waterfalls to choose from.
As I parked and walked out onto the bridge to get a look at the stream I met a young man just hanging out on the century old bridge. We struck up a conversation, as he rested, he and his friends had been jumping off the bridge into the deep pool below.
We chatted about the road, the railroad, the old sugar landings along the coast, the odd tunnel just above the bridge we stood on that was likely another relic of sugar. He gave me the layout of the falls and where to find the trails through the thick jungle. Growing up swimming in this stream he knew the area well.
A big falls was located just downstream from the bridge, my conversation confirming what I had seen in the satellite photos… A pretty waterfall that should provide a nice visual for photography. As I flew the drone over the edge the first time and spun it to look at the falls I was happy, just what I was looking for.
While the beaches may be closed during the pandemic, most of the trails are open. Deb and I did a little walking on the Puʻu Oʻo Trail while coming back over the hill from Hilo.
Nothing unusual to report, no rare native birds. As the ʻōhiʻa are not in bloom few birds were in evidence. Even without blooms or birds this is always a pretty trail, a rugged landscape over recent lava flows and the pioneer plants found on these flows.
This week’s solo quarantine hike was to Goat House Tube. I have been here before, but had not explored downhill from the entrance, the first time I explored uphill.
Goat House is my name for this lava tube, there is no official name I am aware of, I just came up with Goat House when I needed a name for it. Climbing into the tube one finds the reason for the name rather obvious.
An early start saw me walking down the power line road shortly after sunrise. This walk is dominated by the large transmission poles and lines overhead. The lines make an ominous 60Hz buzzing, some of the poles are louder than others, with a buzz and rattle of the wires and insulators.
Governor Ige signed the new public access rules, drones would be illegal on the summit in ten more days.
With a deadline looming much sooner than I had contemplated there was a narrow window of opportunity. While I had wanted to fly the summit for a long time, I now had a few short days in which to do so. On January 23, 2020 the new rules would take effect.
The Office of Mauna Kea Management has attempted to restrict drone use on the summit by posting signs that drones are not allowed. Problem, they did this with no legal authority to do so. In conversations with OMKM staff I had pointed this out and received a quiet admission that it was true.
The new public access rules would change this… Flying a drone would be specifically prohibited on the science reserve, a civil offence with steep fines involved. With the governor’s signature those rules would be in force.