Rather than spend the evening obsessing over election results I opted to take a hike. Nothing dramatic, just a short loop hike close to home, along the shoreline south of ʻAnaehoʻomalu Bay .
The plan was to use the King’s Trail to quickly hike a couple miles out, then to take my time hiking back along the shoreline. I timed my start so that sunset would occur while I was coming back along the beach.
While this section of the King’s Trail is over 150 years old, it is in excellent condition and allows easy hiking across the lava fields. The trail cuts absolutely straight over the ridges and tumuli of piled rock, much faster than slogging through the beach sand.
I had hiked the shoreline here many times, but had not hiked any real length of the King’s Trail. The trail crosses the lava flows well above the coastline, as a result it can be brutally hot under a tropical Sun, while the shoreline offers regular shade and a cool ocean breeze.
This particular election day evening the Sun was muted by a broken overcast sky. Why not use the trail?
Just before Halloween 2016 I took this photo of lava dripping over the cliff at Kamokuna. Was immediately struck by how much it looked like some giant hand with severed fingers, dripping lava blood into the sea.
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.
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.