Puʻuwaʻawaʻa Take 2

This week I returned to Puʻuwaʻawaʻa.

A rough road on the back side of Puʻuwaʻawaʻa
A rough road on the back side of Puʻuwaʻawaʻa

The plan was to use a mountain bike this time. One nagging issue in hiking Puʻuwaʻawaʻa is the long access road you need to hike just to get to the base of the puʻu. Two miles of straight, and mostly paved road to climb before the hike really gets interesting.

It is old pavement, but in good shape as there is little more than foot traffic. Last time hiking out I wished I had a bike so those two miles would be one smooth downhill roll back to the vehicle. Once above the puʻu I could use the bike to explore the network of ranch roads that lead back into the forest reserve.

That was the plan, reality did not work out quite as well.

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Dumped

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…

A pile of old vehicles dumped in a jungle gulch
A pile of old vehicles dumped in a jungle gulch

Kawainui Waterfalls

I went waterfall hunting yesterday.

A waterfalls on Kawainui Stream near Onomea
A waterfalls on Kawainui Stream near Onomea

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.

Puʻuwaʻawaʻa Video

Another hike… Another video…

A little drone footage, a lot of stills. With the drone, the phone, and the little mirrorless M5 I was carrying three cameras for the morning. Most of my daypack was camera gear, along with a small first aid kit, 1/2 gallon of water and iced tea, and munchies.

I seem to have solved some technical issues that plagued my videos from earlier this year. Using a ND32 or ND64 filter really does help slow shutter speeds in full sunlight. You can see some choppiness in the faster pans, but that is mostly from using 30fps for the final rendering rather than in the source.

What did cause trouble is the vibrant greens of Puʻuwaʻawaʻa, some shots came out muddy yellow-green. Need the check how I am setting the white balance in the drone, need to use fixed sunlight rather than auto.

Hurricane Morning

Arousing a bit before sunrise I lay abed and remembered… Isn’t there supposed to be a hurricane?

Hurricane Douglas from Windy on 26 July, 2020
Hurricane Douglas windspeeds from Windy on 26 July, 2020

Um? No wind. No rain.

As I read the morning news I listened to a light rain start, even now an hour later it is still just a soft light rain, not enough for me to stop watering the plants yet.

Hurricane Douglas is centered about 70 miles northeast right now, just off the Hamakua Coast. It appears that Hawaii Island will be spared any real hurricane conditions. Quite a change from forecasts a couple days ago that predicted a direct strike.

Maui, Oahu, and Kauai may see much more of this storm, otherwise it is a very quiet Sunday here in Kohala.

Update: It is now late afternoon… No rain beyond that bit of light rain in the morning, no wind. It has actually been eerily calm all day.