HAKALAU FOREST NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: OPEN HOUSE

 iiviHakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge

12 Mile Keanakolua (AKA Mana) Rd East Slope of Mauna Kea Hilo, Hawaii  96720 www.fws.gov/refuge/hakalau_forest/


Dates

April 19, 2014 9:00am - 3:00pm Please register by Thursday, April 17.


Description

You are invited to attend an Open House at Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on April 19, 2014. Guided rainforest hikes will be offered between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to observe rare and colorful native birds and plants. Its a great family oriented opportunity to see the refuge and the cooperative reforestation work, tour the green house operation, and walk in high elevation ancient forests at Hakalau Forest NWR. Hear some of the compelling stories of our rare and beautiful mints and lobeliads rescued from the brink of extinction and now given hope by citizen volunteers working side by side with refuge staff to protect and restore this precious native forest. The day will also feature exhibits by our partner organizations.

Visitors must provide their own four-wheel-drive transportation to the Refuge, which is a two-hour drive from Hilo, Waimea or Kona. Reservations are required and may be obtained by calling the refuge office at 808-443-2300 by April 17. Free admission.


Contact Info

Cashell Villa USFWS Wildlife Refuge Specialist- Event Coordinator 808-443-2300 ext. 229 cashell_villa@fws.gov

Earthquakes and Explosions: Shocking Events at Kapoho and Halema’uma’u in 1924

Kilauea-1924April 21, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Precisely 90 years ago—on April 21, 1924—residents of Kapoho were evacuated as hundreds of earthquakes shook their village.  In the weeks that followed, explosions wracked the summit of Kīlauea Volcano, creating difficult challenges for staff at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory and the Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park.  This evening, using USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory logs, geologic field notes, National Park Service reports, newspaper accounts, photographs, and other records from 1924, long-time HVO volunteer Ben Gaddis tells the tale of Kīlauea’s most violent eruption of the twentieth century from the perspective of the people who lived through it.

 

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Lei Hulu at Lyman Museum

Copy Img0084May 1, 2014 @ 3:15 pm – May 16, 2014 @ 4:15 pm This May, Lei Hulu of Hilo will delight Museum visitors once again with a special exhibit of traditional Hawaiian featherwork by the students of Kumu Doreen Henderson, a master crafter of lei hulu. Examples of featherwork on display include lei papa (flat lei often used as hatbands), kāhili, `uli`uli (feathered gourds and rattles), `ahu`ula (feathered capes), and even an elaborate crested mahiole (helmet). Practitioners of lei hulu have traditionally used feathers from endemic birds such as `apapane, `elapaio, `i`iwi, mamo, and `ō`ō, but with these either endangered, or in the case of mamo and `ō`ō, extinct, they now rely on feathers from ducks, geese, guinea hens, peacocks, pheasants, and quail. Aunty Doreen’s own red-and-yellow lei kamoe (headband) is made up of “regular” goose feathers.

Aunty Doreen learned the art from Kumu Mary Kahihilani Duarte-Kovich, herself a student of the late Aunty Mary Lou Kekuewa, one of Hawaii’s most renowned lei hulu practitioners and a second cousin of Aunty Doreen.  An annual Museum attraction since 2006, this year’s special exhibit will be on display from May 1 through May 16, 2014.

Hawaiian Weapons of War

LYMAN MUSEUM

Alika Tejada, pūkaua (war leader) for the High Chief at Pu`ukoholā Heiau near Kohala, presents a riveting program on the manufacture and use of nā mea kaua, the traditional Hawaiian weapons of war.  What materials were used to fashion the pāhoa (dagger), niho manō pāhoa (shark-tooth dagger), newa (war club), ka`ane (strangling cord), ihe (spear), ko`o (staff), and niho manō hoe (shark-tooth war paddle), and how were they made and used?  What are some of the other little-known, precontact weapons early Hawaiian warriors created and employed so effectively?  Come learn from a true craftsman and practitioner of his culture!

April 7, 2014 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Cost: $3; Free for Museum members

 

John Howard Pierce: Photographs of Hawai’i Island 1958-1969

Pierce-extended-banner July 26, 2013 through June 28, 2014

(original closing date has been extended from January 11,2014 to June 28, 2014)

John Howard Pierce, a former Hawaii Tribune-Herald reporter and Lyman Museum curator, was an avid photographer who meticulously documented his beloved home of Hawai’i Island in the mid-twentieth century, a pivotal period defined and galvanized by the admission of Hawai’i into the United States in 1959.

The photographs in this exhibit–a small but representative sampling of the John Howard Pierce Collection–provide a view to this recent past, revealing a community ambitiously growing, changing, and constructing a new future; remembering and reclaiming its traditions; and savoring the simple pleasures of everyday life.

We invite you to view Hawai’i Island of half a century ago through the lens of John Howard Pierce, whose photographs help the Museum tell the story of Hawai’i, its islands, and its people.

 

 

Merrie Monarch Hawaiian Culture Enrichment 2014 Workshops at Imiloa

April 23 to 25, 2014

In April, the week after Easter, the highly anticipated Merrie Monarch Hula Festival and Competition in Hilo will be under way. During this special week, ‘Imiloa will offer a three-day showcase of musical performances and cultural presentations in support of the Merrie Monarch Festival, providing visitors to Hawai‘i and its residents an opportunity to learn about the history and cultural significance of hula and its practitioners. All showcase sessions cover a wide range of hula topics.
This year’s programs consist of a wonderful mix of cultural presentations such as Haku Mele Masters with a prominent group of Hawaiian poets and songwriters, a special presentation on Hawaiian protocol for entering the Waonahele or forests by Dr. Taupouri Tangaro and Kekuhi Kealiikanakaolehaililani, and musical performances by Manu Boyd, Hoku Zuttermeister, and Kuana Torres. Share in the magic of Merrie Monarch Week at ‘Imiloa!
In order to continue to offer more educational enrichment programs, event program is by admission: $6 for members, $8 for non-members, per session. Seating is limited. To ensure a spot for a session, we recommend that you purchase tickets in advance. Tickets are non-refundable. Ticket pre-sales start Tuesday, March 25th. Please call 969-9703 or visit the guest service desk at ‘Imiloa to purchase tickets.

2014 Schedule 

 

Wednesday, April 23
10:00am:
  Presentation, "Haku Mele Masters of Our Time"
A panel of celebrated, contemporary Haku Mele (composers) discuss the art involved in the composition of Hawaiian songs, providing insight into the elements that inspire haku mele, the practice of documenting our history through poetry and song and the performance of mele as a means of storytelling.

Speakers include Larry Kimura, Kainani Kahaunaele, Manu Boyd and Manaiakalani Kalua.

Moderated by Dr. Hiapo Perreira.
1:00pm:
Musical Performance by Manu Boyd. Noted Hawaiian composer, kumu hula and Na Hoku Hanohano Award winning recording artist, Manu Boyd performs mele from his latest solo release.
Manu Boyd is recognized as a Hawaiian language and cultural expert, composer, arranger, singer, chanter, choreographer, producer and writer. Since June 2007, he has served as Hawaiian cultural director at Royal Hawaiian Center at Helumoa, Waikiki, the world-class shopping/dining/entertainment hub owned by Kamehameha Schools and managed by The Festival Companies.
Manu leads the award-winning hula school, Halau O Ke ‘A‘ali‘i Ku Makani, est. 1997 - first-place overall winners at the 2012 Merrie Monarch Festival.  From 1986 - 2012, Manu led the well-known Hawaiian recording ensemble Ho‘okena, multiple Na Hoku Hanohano Awards winner and two-time Grammy nominee.
Thursday, April 24
10:00am:
'OiwiTV's Presentation on the original series “Na Loea: The Masters.” The original film series by 'OiwiTV promotes and perpetuates kuana'ike Hawai'i, or a Hawaiian worldview, through the engaging stories of a select group of masters whose collective knowledge represents an amazing cross section of cultural wisdom.
This kuana'ike is embedded in values that influence all aspects of a person’s way of thinking, being, and acting. These values are dependent on Hawaiian norms including a symbiotic tie with the land, the interdependence of language and culture, the significance of interpersonal relationships, and the practical, continuous application of traditional knowledge. Engage with Na loea for a look into what is helping to keep Hawai'i Hawai'i.
For more on the Na Loea series and 'Oiwi TV, visit oiwi.tv. LOEA: Jerry Ongies “Hawai'iloa: Rebuilding the Legend” While the ancient art of non-instrument navigation has been rekindled throughout Polynesia, the knowledge of canoe building has been largely forgotten except for a select few artisans. Following in the wake of her sister canoe Hokule'a, the Hawai'iloa canoe was hulled from two spruce logs gifted from the tribes of Alaska to prove the ingenuity of traditional building and voyaging techniques. But with the passing of her original builder – Wright “Wrighto” Bowman – Hawai'iloa was left to wait for another master craftsman. With a steady hand and unwavering dedication, Jerry Ongies is breathing new life into one of Hawai'i's most storied sailing canoes.

LOEA: Mac Poepoe, “Malama Mo'omomi” For locals on the rural Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, the “ice box” isn’t just the refrigerator in their kitchens but the abundant ocean that still provides a main source of sustenance for that community; a community that has fought against development and many modern “conveniences” with great resolve to maintain their unique island lifestyle. Malama Mo'omomi features “Mac” Poepoe, a native Hawaiian fisherman and community leader on Moloka'i, who has dedicated his life to sharing his knowledge of traditional resource management with the hope of ensuring that this ocean “ice box” will be well-stocked for generations to come. Mac’s wealth of knowledge and expertise accumulated over his years of growing up in the rigor and lifestyle of a Hawaiian family that has been fishing and maintaining the sustainability of these waters for generations. (It could be said that) Mac is one of a small group (or “one of a dying breed”) of skilled fisherman who approach their practice with a passion not just for the sport of it but to hone and perpetuate their skill and expertise in managing Hawai'i's ocean ecosystems, which is critical to the sustainability of Hawai‘i and its people. This humble fisherman is a giant resource for Hawai'i's future.

LOEA: Keone Nunes, “Ancestral Ink” This is the story of traditional Hawaiian kakau (tattoo) artist, Keone Nunes, and the journey of cultural re-discovery inherent in kakau uhi (tattooing). The process of kakau uhi is one where the artist guides their subjects down a path of self-discovery, revealing life lessons of who they are and where they come from. Traditional kakau is an art that was nearly lost to Hawaiians, but Keone’s perseverance to learn, practice and teach this craft has been a critical determiner of its survival and resurgence in the Hawaiian community today. This piece was shot primarily on the Leeward coast of O'ahu in the Nanakuli and Wai'anae communities, where Keone resides and practices his art of kakau uhi.

1:00pm:
Musical Performance by Hoku Zuttermeister. Hoku Zuttermeister, winner of numerous Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, including Male Vocalist of the Year, Entertainer of the Year and Hawaiian Album of the Year, performs timeless Hawaiian music from his album, ‘Aina Kupuna, and shares memories of his great-grandmother, Hula Master, Kau‘i Zuttermeister.
Hoku comes from a Hawaiian family dynasty that encompasses both the hula and music communities.  His great-grandmother, Kau‘i Zuttermeister penned the beloved song, “Na Pua Lei ‘Ilima,” and his great-aunt is Kumu Hula Noe Zuttermeister.
Hoku’s love of Hawaiian music was inspired by great Hawaiian composers and musicians like Kawena Puku‘i, Maddy Lam and Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, Genoa Keawe, the Brothers Cazimero and many others. He takes their songs to heart and re-interprets them in his own style with his wide vocal range and versatile instrumentation. Hoku says, “it’s more about the heart and feel of the song than the notes and chords.”
Friday, April 25
10:00am:
Presentation "He Inoa No Hi'iaka"
This is a special presentation on Hawaiian protocol for entering the Waonahele and its importance to Hula by Dr. Taupouri Tangaro and Kekuhi Kealiikanakaoleohaililani
1:00pm: 
Musical Performance by Kuana Torres.
Coming from an impressive lineage of musicians, including Bill Ali‘iloa Lincoln, Victor Kala, the Lim Family and George Holokai, Kuana Torres began composing, arranging and playing traditional Hawaiian music at an early age. In 1995 Kuana, with Kehau Tamure, formed the award wining duo, Na Palapalai. From the meteoric rise of their debut CD, Makana ‘Olu, they have maintained a prominent presence in the local and international Hawaiian music and hula scene.

Kuana released his first greatly anticipated solo CD in 2011 and went on to win seven Na Hoku Hanohano awards in 2012, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year awards. Fans know Kuana for his incredible vocal range, while fellow musicians seek him out for his songwriting, arranging and producing talents. Kuana continues to set the pace for talented, local musicians with a steady stream of new compositions that are sure to become Hawaiian music classics.

Panoramic Eggs

‘Imiloa welcomes accomplished artist and designer, Eileen Tokita. EileenTokita has been creating and teaching Faberge’ Eggs for over 40 years.  With her own unique signature design, she has garnered world acclaim from some of the most respected artists and has even been featured at the White House.  Eileen is a master at her craft and has created some of the most intricate and stunning creations from a variety of real eggs. Eileen is a native of Seattle, Washington and currently resides in Honolulu.  In celebration of Spring, we are excited to offer a class with Eileen to make the following project from a real duck egg.   Panoramic Egg Classtokita egg

  • Saturday, April 5
  • 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the ‘Imiloa Classroom
  • Cost for class and kit: $50 members, $65 non-members
  • Please contact the front desk to enroll for the class.  808-969-9703
  • enrollment deadline is March 25.

Space is limited so sign up soon!  Supplies will be provided, however the following are optional for your convenience:  Old kitchen towel, blow dryer, small sharp scissors, cuticle scissors.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i is located at 600 ‘Imiloa Place in Hilo, off Komohana and Nowelo Streets at the UH Hilo Science and Technology Park. For more information, go to www.imiloahawaii.org, or call (808) 969-9703.

I Want the Wide American Earth

Wide Earth

I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story Traveling Exhibit to Open March 22nd at ‘Imiloa

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is pleased to host the exhibit “I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story,” March 22 – June 1, 2014 as part of a 13-city national tour.

As the only state with an Asian plurality, Hawai‘i lives and breathes its diverse Asian Pacific heritage every day, but a new Smithsonian exhibition opening at the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center will offer perspectives on our local heritage within the broader context of the entire nation.  The ancestral roots of Asian and Pacific Americans represent more than 50% of the world’s population, extending from East Asia to Southeast Asia, and from South Asia to the Pacific Islands and Polynesia.

In this first exhibition of its kind, the Smithsonian celebrates Asian Pacific American history across a multitude of diverse cultures and explores how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of the nation’s history. “I Want the Wide American Earth” tells the rich and complex stories of the very first Asian immigrants, including their participation in key moments in American history: Asian immigrants panned in the Gold Rush, hammered ties in the Transcontinental Railroad, fought on both sides in the Civil War and helped build the nation’s agricultural system.

Through the decades, Asian immigrants struggled against legal exclusion, manzanar_historical_site_Blue_AAcivil rights violations and unlawful detention, such as the 120,000 Japanese who were interred during World War II. Since the 1960s, vibrant new communities, pan-Asian, Pacific Islander and cross-cultural in make-up, have blossomed.

The banner exhibition is complemented by an e-book, which is a 14-page illustrated adaption of the exhibition. Produced in collaboration with SI Universe Media, creators of the first-ever Asian Pacific American comics anthology, the e-book will tell the Asian Pacific American story in graphic narrative, featuring work by seven Asian Pacific American comic artists. The e-book is free to download and viewable on all tablet devices and e-readers.

The exhibit also features a mobile tour app, which includes interviews with authors Maxine Hong Kingston and Monique Truong; U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta; Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center director Konrad Ng; activist Deepa Iyer; and U.S. retired major general Antonio Taguba.

Curated by Lawrence-Ming Bùi Davis, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Initiative coordinator, “I Want the Wide American Earth” is a moving, dramatic and evocative narrative of Asian Pacific American history and culture.

The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center produces programs and exhibitions about the Asian Pacific American experience and works in partnership with organizations across the Smithsonian and beyond to enrich collections and activities about the Asian Pacific American experience. It shares the challenges and stories of America’s fastest-growing communities. It connects treasures and scholars with the public, celebrates long-lived traditions and explores contemporary expressions. The stories it tells are vital to a deeper understanding of the nation and a richer appreciation of Asian Pacific cultures. Visit www.apa.si.edu for more information.

The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES)has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 60 years. SITES connects Americans to their cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. The Museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W. and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Check the website for special extended summer hours.

Aloha, E Komo Mai!

While all the Hawaiian islands are beautiful, the Big Island holds a special place in our lives. Not just because we live here, but because this is the place that calls to our hearts when we travel abroad, this is the place that feels like home – even before it was our home, this is the place that fills my night time dreams and waking moments with thoughts and visions so beautiful and astonishing that words can sometimes fail me. This blog serves two purposes. One, to share our Inn with you. The Palms Cliff House Inn has been a living dream for more than ten years now, and honestly, we still love being innkeepers! So this blog is a place to share our Innformation and InnNews with you.

Second, This blog is a great place for us to share our Big Island with you. Yes, I could have started a separate blog for that, but frankly, I’m an innkeeper first and time is precious, fleeting, and not in abundance. My desire to share our experiences living and playing here on the Big Island is a priority so, my blog will serve double duty.

I hope you will find information about our Inn and our Big Island that will be both useful and surprising. My goal is to enhance your experience during your visit by sharing with you what our Inn and our Big Island have to offer. Let your adventure begin!

-InnGirl

Lake Wai'au

Lake Waiau is a high-elevation lake located at 13,020 feet (3970 m) above sea level on Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawai'i. It is the seventh highest lake in the USA, and one of very few lakes at all in the state of Hawai'i. It is relatively small, only about 100 m across, and varies in size as the water level rises and falls. This photo was taken when the water was very low, you can nee the water line on the opposite shore.  The name means "swirling water" in Hawaiian, though it is usually rather placid. Legend has it that a mo'o lives in the lake and occasionally you can see it swim across the surface. I myself have seen something move across the lake, but as there are no fish in the lake, I guess it was the mo'o.

According to Hawaiian mythology, Lake Wai'au is bottomless and is the portal for spirits to travel to and from the spirit world. In ancient time, a chief would throw the umbilical cord of their first son, as soon as it fell off the infant, into the lake. It was to reserve the place for the child's afterlife as a chief. Rituals are still performed occasionally in present days.

My elders have told me that when they were growing up their fathers would go up to lake Wai'au and fill a water gourd with water from the lake. When someone in the home became sick they would drink some of the water and get better. They also said the water was always very cold, even on the hottest days, if you drank from the gourd it was always cold.

Lake Waiau is a sacred site. Visitors should not disturb, enter or drink the water of the lake.

 

Getting Away From It All – Camping Near South Point

We just got back from a mini-vacation to our favorite camping spot near South Point. We love it because, as you can see, there is never anyone there! Just us and the ocean and the wild goats and pigs…and the fishing is fine!

It’s a combination of dusty two rut roads and treacherous tire eating lava fields that comprise most of the two plus hours of bumping, bouncing, terrain (but if you love 4-wheeling, this is it!) to get there, but boy is worth the effort.

This trip we saw two of the Big Island’s FAD’s pretty close to shore. We guess they came off their chains after the tsunami, but thus far these two are not listed as “missing” so someone in Honolulu must know they have come off their chains and where they are. We’ll keep an eye on that.

As you can see the coastline is simply sublime. It is a combination of sandy coves, rocky lava flows reaching in to the ocean and thick coastal vegetation. Of course we are undo no illusions that no one else goes here. Plenty do, the evidence of other fishermen are literally and unfortunately everywhere. We we leave we usually have one or two bags of trash we have picked up during our visit. But we have been lucky enough to usually see no one but each other when we go.

I love cooking over an open campfire. We actually fight over who gets to do it…I usually win, yea for me!

Meals this trip were courtesy of Halau O Na Pua Kukui. We dined on the left overs from their week long stay with us at the inn…Onolishous! Fried rice with ham and Shou Chicken.

Our camping area offers lots of diversions. There is great opportunity to find fishing floats. This one we found on this trip and was as large as John’s mid-section. We also scored with the ever elusive glass floats and found 2! One was a small green on and one was yellow! I have never seen a yellow one before this one. Fantastic hunting.

  

The hiking is terrific along the coast with plenty of blow holes to see and deep pukas like this one to scramble into during low tide. Of course you should never turn your back to the ocean, even for a picture…shame on us.  In the eleven years that we have been camping here the fishing has always been fantastic. The one shown here is a Noho, or false scorpion fish. Boy was it good eating too. All dense white meat and tasted like lobster. Love this fish!

The other thing I do when camping near south point is collect salt. It is where all our salt comes from and I ewven gift some of it away.

As I said the hiking is terrific. Nearby there are large petroglyph fields and really crazy lava flows like the one above, all drippy and you would swear that they were still dripping they look so alive. If you go, enjoy the beauty of this area and carry out some of the fishing trash left behind by others.  No, I’m not going to say exactly where it is. That’s our little secret!

Kipukapuaulu: The Bird kipuka

This one mike long looping trail through a hawaiian kipuka is rare in that it is filled with old-growth ‘Ohi’a and Koa trees and is home to three species of native birds. The forest itself is surrounded by recent lava flows from Mauna Loa.

This hike, while still within the Volcano’s National Park, is not inside the park gates. To get to the trail head you drive past the main entrance on Hwy 11 for 5 miles until you reach Mauna Loa Road. Take this to the trail head. There is ample parking and the trail is well marked and easy to hike.

On this trail you will find many signs identifying the native trees and plants as well as what they were/are used for. I find this kind of information really interesting and informative.

 

The park service does lead tours if you are interested, but I thought the trail information was easily presented and easily understandable. There is also a trail guide you can purchase at the park book store for $2.00.

 

Touching Heaven

Standing proudly at 13,796 ft (4,205 m) and ranked 15th in the world of prominent mountain peaks, Mauna Kea is the second highest peak in the United States (first being Mount McKinley or Denali in Alaska). Many here on the Big island, we included, call the slopes of Mauna Kea home. As a result we take our fair share of pride in quickly pointing out that while the elevation of Manua Kea is measured from sea level, the mountain actually begins far below the ocean making the true height of the mountain 32,808 feet (10,000 m) making it the tallest mountain in the world. So go ahead, visit the top of the world, you wont be sorry you made the trip.

Also known as Ka Mauna A Kea (Wakea’s mountain) and Mauna O Wakea (the mountain of the God Wakea) who is believed by Hawaiians to be the one whom all things in Hawaii are descended. There are nine Hawaiian Gods and Goddesses (that I am aware of, but I’m no expert) associated with this mountain, thus, it is a very sacred place for the people of Hawaii.

At the summit you will be moved by the expansive views, ok, my eyes got very damp it was so beautiful. The earth simply falls away beneath you no mater what direction you look.

Do not miss the elevation marker showing the 13,796 ft elevation. Take a photo with the marker, after all, you have really accomplished something if you make it this far.

Built originally in 1997 by the Royal Order of Kamehameha the lele at the summit of Mauna Kea is living proof of the people of Hawaii’s continued respect and devotion to the sacredness of Mauna Kea. Please respect the cultural and religious significance of the lele and do not disturb it’s contents. Offerings are made regularly by the people of Hawaii who go there for many reasons, but predominantly to experience the physical connection between heaven and earth, for this is where they meet, and connect with their ancient spiritual past, breathing life into their future. The original lele was vandalized in 2006 but rebuilt that same year.

A hike to the summit of this magnificent mountain is an experience not to be missed. But take the time to prepare before you begin your accent and you will have a much more enjoyable experience. As you will notice in our photos we are wearing hiking boots (not slippers or tennis shoes. While you can drive most of the way up the mountain, the summit can only be reached by hiking. The trail is well marked, but consist of loose rock and gravel and the incline is quite steep.

Because the elevation is so high you will have difficulty catching your breath as you make for the summit, take your time, rest and enjoy the view. Please also notice that we are wearing long pants, and wind-breakers. Though not a requirement and we certainly saw our fair share of shorts and t-shirts on the day we went, but the danger of hypothermia is quite real and should not be ignored. While it was sunny at the summit, the winds were recorded at 20 mph and the air temp was recorded at 7.2 degrees Celsius or 45 degrees Fahrenheit in the sun.

It can be interesting to check the weather periodically and you can do so by visiting the Mauna Kea weather center at: http://www.cfht.hawaii.edu/ObsInfo/Weather/ or http://mkwc.ifa.hawaii.edu/index.cgi

You should also have a hat, sunglasses; I wish I would have had gloves, sunscreen and lots of water. The University of Hawaii, which manages the summit, offers this advice as well because of the low atmospheric pressure and it’s effects on your body: visitors should be over the age of 16, please no pregnant women, or people with high blood pressure, heart, or respiratory conditions, and if you have been scuba diving within the last 24hours of your anticipated visit to the maintain do not go, you will get the bends. Also plan on spending at least 30 minutes at the visitor center to let your body adjust so you do not get altitude sickness and need rescuing. While these warnings may seem silly and easy to disregard, remember, medical assistance is at least an hour away. You can reach the visitor’s center at the 9,200 foot level in a regular car with no trouble, but you should only plan on reaching the summit if you have a four wheel drive vehicle, and of course, obey road condition warnings. In the winter months, Mauna Kea has ground blizzards with flying snow and ice that can reach 70+mph. I danced hula at the summit once for winter solstice and the temp was below -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Brrr, it was darn cold. (But amazing to see stars below me as I danced and awaited the sun rise above the horizon).

On Saturday and Sunday there is a free 4-Wheel Drive tour of the summit that starts at the visitor’s center at 1:00. Participants must be 14 or older and you will need your own vehicle. The highlight is that you can get into Keck 1 observatory! A rare experience as all the observatories are privately owned.

The 4th Saturday of each month is also cultural night on the mountain at the visitor center. Programs start at twilight and are free. For more information about Mauna Kea you can call the visitor center at 808-961-2180 or visit the visitor website at: http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis/

Enjoy you adventure to the summit!

Hiking Kilauea Iki Trail

Located in Volcano National Park, the Kilauea Iki Trail is both popular and worthwhile. John and I hiked this trail for the first time this past Tuesday and looking back I have to ask myself “What took me so long!”

I’d put this hike at the top of my list for Big Island Hikes. Why? Because you will not only hike along a crater rim, and gaze at spectacular vistas and descend onto the floor of the crater to see the scale of volcanic power up close and personal; but you will also be treated to wonderful walks through old growth ‘Ohi’a forests filled with native I’iwi and ‘Apapane birds that will serenade you with their lovely native songs.

   To begin the hike you will park at the Kilauea Iki Overlook. The Trail starts off to the right (you will be traveling counter clockwise). I recommend hiking the trail as suggested in the trail guide (available for purchase – $2.00 at the visitor’s center). While you are on this hike you will see many people headed toward you – they are folks who have started at Thurston’s lava tube and headed down for a quick jaunt to the crater floor. Few of them will actually do the entire hike. Also of note is that the climb out of the Kilauea Iki Crater is much easier if your hike the trail as the guide suggests.

I should take a moment here to advise that you wear hiking boots, not tennis shoes, crocks, or flip-flops (yes we saw all the above and it was obvious their owners were walking in pain) . Also, I drank 48 oz of water on this hike and was still really thirsty once we got back to the car. So wear a light pack and carry lots of water. We also ate our lunch on the trail – it was plenty cool enough and relaxing. The entire hike took us 2 hours and 50 minutes (including a good 20 min. lunch break). I would rate the trail as moderately difficult, only because walking on crumbly lava requires your attention and where there are steps on the trail down into the crater they are in poor condition, so again, you must pay attention to where you are stepping. Having said all that, as you can see I am not in the best physical condition and I completed the hike with energy to spare.

I recommend using the hiking guide, please purchase a guide at the visitor center as the $2.00 helps support the park and will provide you with information about the 15 points of interest along the trail. There are quite a few opportunities to catch a glimpse of the venting gasses over at Halema’uma’u crater. Amazingly the steam rising from the Kilauea Iki crater floor is steam caused by rainfall and not escaping poisonous gasses. You still need to use care when looking into the steam vents as the steam is very, very hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forest is so beautiful it is difficult not to stop every ten feet to take a photo! But it is a wonderful opportunity to see many of Hawaii’s native species in their native habitat. Don’t forget to look up ans see if you can see any of the native birds. You will hear them, they will sing to you for most of the hike.

Once down on the crater floor I was surprised at how cool it was. there was a strong breeze blowing through the crater so we never felt hot, except when visiting a steam vent of course. In the photo above, the tiny specks in the center of the photo are other hikers. Kind of gives you some perspective of just how big the crater is.

Once across, it is back up into the forest. The shade feels wonderful after the sun in the crater (oh yea, take a hat!) but it is slower climbing out. Take your time and and enjoy the forest again. This forest is a bit different from the first one you waled through. It is younger and thus has fewer native species (meaning more invasive non-native plants) It is still quite pretty though.

 

 

I hope we have inspired you to take this hike when you visit Volcano National Park. There are so many hikes in the park that are worthwhile, but this is a favorite of mine. I hope you will enjoy it as well. -InnGirl