Image taken at Hilton resort. Mauna Kea is in the background, shrouded by clouds.
We piled the entire fam into our rented giant of an SUV and set off on a couple of day trips while we were visiting Hawaii. We had a specific destination in mind for each of the two excursions. However, we left room for “hey, you wanna stop here” moments. (Track where we were on the Hawaii map at the bottom of this blog.)
Kohala Forest Reserve
The ancient volcano called Kohala is located on northwest Hawaii on an archipelago. The volcano is estimated to be a million years old. Interesting fact, the island of Hawaii has five volcanoes: Kohala, Kilauea, Hualulai, Mauna Kea, and Mauna Loa (see map).They formed the land mass that we know call Hawaii, or the Big Island. Kohala is considered to be extinct, while Hualulai is labeled as dormant, and the other three are active. Kilauea is the most dangerous, having erupted in lower Puna in May 2018. (https://www.tripsavvy.com/volcanoes-of-the-big-island-of-hawaii-4176591)
The Kohala Forest Reserve is located north of Waikoloa. (See map at the bottom of this blog.) We traveled north from Waikoloa on Route 19, past Hapuna Beach and toward the archipelago. Along the way, we passed through the towns of Kawaihae, Hawi, Kapa’au, and Halaula, stopping for refreshments at one point. These towns are where Hawaiians reside. If you want to see how the rest of Hawaii lives, you need to get out of the resort and hit the road.
The town of Kapaau (I think)
In Kapaau, Fishkins had a local hitch hike on his neck.
Along the way, Fishkins, our oldest grandson, noted that the environment was changing and commented that we were entering “the moist side of the island.”
Now, some people don’t like the word “moist.” Fishkin’s dad, Mike, is one of them – and Fishkins knows it. So they bantered back and forth until Dan finally spoke up, banning the word “moist” from the car, and suggesting that Fishkins use “wetness” instead. (So much better. Not.)
This, of course, gave Dan a chance to quip that we were on “The Edge of Wetness.” I liked the title. It sounds like a soap opera (as in the old “Edge of Night” soap). Unbeknownst to me, though, Dan also was playing with the title of a sketch from the old Johnny Carson Show. Since I’m not a night owl, I never seemed to catch Carson’s show and didn’t get the connection until I had returned home and a friend commented that she loved the sketch. I found it on YouTube. Better late than never.
The Kohala Forest Reserve is an absolutely breathtaking preserved area. You may hike on approved paths, but do not stray from them. For one thing, you could damage the environment. For another, park people track trespassers down and remove them from the park. So enjoy the pristine beauty of the area but stay on the marked paths.
Kristina looking out over an amazing vista and at the head of the trail. Say on that trail!
My shutterbug, Dan; and the walk to the reserve.
On another day we decided to go up to Mauna Kea to look at the stars. We did that the last time we went to the Big Island and it was the most phenomenal thing I’ve ever seen. The mountain’s height sets it far above towns and human activity, and the lack of light pollution make the stars pop. All I could do was stare, and gasp, and thank God.
This time, however, things went differently. First of all, almost as soon as we got underway on Route 19, we found ourselves stuck in a traffic jam of magnificent proportions. Granted it was not a Jersey-style backup with three or four lanes on either side frozen solid. Route 19 is only a two-lane road, but since it was one of the few ways into Kona, everything was snarled up. After a half hour in the conga line from hell, Mike turned the car around, and we took off for the Saddle Road that cuts across the Big Island.
I don't have many good photos of the trip up Mauna Kea, mainly because we were in a moving car the entire time. But here is one half-way decent shot of volcanic cones ( think that's what they're called).
Our detours were not over, though. Our next challenge revolved around a controversy.
The controversy has to do with plans to build a large and powerful Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at a location where there are already thirteen other telescopes. “The site makes sense from a scientific perspective — its location above the clouds will allow scientists to understand more about star and planet formation, far beyond what we can do with current telescopes. But the choice makes less sense from a cultural perspective.” (https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/stories/the-controversy-behind-the-worlds-next-great-telescope) As another article put it, “The barren landscape is rich with [Hawaiian] history, and is believed to be the site of the genesis of the Hawaiian people. Many of their revered ancestors are buried there.” (https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/21/us/hawaii-mauna-kea-protests/index.html).
So there you go. It is a case of “Don’t you want to advance our knowledge of the universe?” (western science) vs “We were here first and this land is sacred to us” (native peoples).
Eventually, we encountered the protesters. We knew this most likely would happen, but thought we’d see if there was any other way we could get through to the Visitors Station.
The protesters (protectors) had erected tents on either side of the road and additionally blocked the Mauna Kea Access Road leading to the Mauna Kea Visitor Station.
The protesters were very nice. From what I saw, they were walking around doing their own thing which it reminded me of peaceful protests from the 1960s. No one yelled at us or made obscene gestures as we cruised through their tent city. I did not take pictures of the location because I felt it would be neither polite nor respectful. However, you may find images of the tent city on the internet.
Not surprisingly, a lively, loud fist fight – I mean discussion – about the protests and the TMT erupted in our car as we turned around to go back from where we came. I can only imagine what the protesters thought as our carload of shouting white people with Jersey accents trolled past.
“Hey, what’s up with those haole, brah?”
“Dunno. They sure are mad at each other.”
“They need an intervention.”
Eventually we realized that we required more information about the telescope and the protests before we could take a stand one way or the other, and peace reigned once again in our tank of an SUV.
But now we were faced with the eternal question: “What do we do next?”
On Friday: the conclusion of our adventures in Hawaii.
Map link: https://www.hawaii-guide.com/big-island/big-island-hawaii-maps
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder