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The Big Island: North Kohala, Part 1

As regular readers of LAHP know, I love to explore — especially in Hawai`i. This day I began exploring the northernmost part of the Big Island, the area known as North Kohala. I have been here before so my starting point was the famous statue of King Kamehameha, the ruler of the Big Island who united the islands (by force and diplomacy) as the Hawai`ian Kingdom, takings its name from his home island. But "wait" you say — you have seen the same statue in Honolulu. The rest of the story is that this was the original statue commissioned for Honolulu but it was lost at sea — so a replacement statue was produced and placed in Honolulu. The lost statue was later recovered and placed in his birthplace, now the town of Kapa`au.

A photography buddy told me to check out the black sand beach at the end of the road. I found it — this is the trail head leading down to Pololu Valley and Beach. The trail was in reasonably good shape and easy to follow down.

There were many spots with great views of this beautiful beach. I liked this one because you could see the cliffs beyond Pololu.

Also along the trail were various interesting plants such as this Christmas Berry (as it is called in Hawai`i) but is actually a pepper plant. The seeds of the berries are ground up as pepper.

This rock displayed a fine example of lichen — a composite organism consisting of a fungus and a photosynthetic partner growing together in a symbiotic relationship.

This was a beautiful plant that welcomed the hiker to the bottom end of the trail. Don't know what it is, but loved the welcome.

Importantly, the effort to descend the trail was rewarded with the view of this canyon opposite the beach. Wow!

And the one end of the beach.

The center portion of the beach was very rocky — perhaps not the best place to swim. I saw no swimmers and only a few of the intrepid hikers who climbed all the way down the trail.

You may be familiar with the local practice of stacking rocks. It is a custom of the Hawai`ians to show respect for their ancient gods. However, tourist do it, trying to be part of Hawai`iana. Don't do it — leave the practice to the Hawai`ians.

Although I do have to admit that someone came up with an interesting twist on the stacking of rocks — a rock dog guarding the beach. Ugh, then I had to think about the climb back up the switchback trail to the overlook where my car was parked.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com