|. . . smooth stepping stones laid down hundreds of years ago to ease the barefoot traveler's way through glass-sharp 'a'a lava fields. Here the setting is one of two 'lone palm' beaches on the shores of remote undeveloped North Kona District.|
The Polynesian settlers of Hawaii got around primarily by canoe. Naturally. They were a seafaring people. Their ancestors island-hopped across the Pacific from Taiwan over thousands of years. But when on land they needed trails and they were nearly as good as the ancient Incas about building them.
On the dry side of the Big Island many of these trails survive and can still be hiked. If you're looking for remote beauty along the boring drive north of the Kona Airport, I highly recommend seeking out these trails.
Farther north, in southern part of South Kohala District (the two hikes I report here straddle that ancient political boundary between North Kona and South Kohala, marked by a still-impressive monument), the trail passes right through some progressive ultra-luxury resorts, which were built with preservation of the history of the land in mind, including the preservation of this historic trail. Thus the title. Where else on a public trail would you pass …
|… meticulously manicured golf courses, nearly a half dozen of them,|
|a dozen or more ultra-luxury bungalows, each with its own infinity pool,|
|serene ocean-front sunset view points,|
|a place to pause and meditate with the greatest master of all time,|
|a stone-arch footbridge spanning the entrance to a protected tidal cove,|
Families swimming with dolphins. This is Dolphin Quest at the Hilton Waikoloa, and the view was shot directly from the trail.
|rope suspension bridge over a world class swimming pool with waterfalls and a grotto area behind them (still the Hilton Waikoloa, still right on the trail),|
|a shady walk along a pathway lined with snow-white coral stones|
|a beach strand separating the ocean from a centuries old fish pond (this is at 'Anaeho'omalu Beach Park),|
|centuries-old petroglyphs (Waikoloa Petroglyph Preserve),|
|views of a 10,000 foot mountain across the sea on another island (this being Haleakala on Maui),|
|lounging sea turtles,|
|world-class undeveloped white sand beach that you can have all to yourself,|
|remote black-pebble beach studded with gem-like white-coral stones|
|a fresh-water oasis in the midst of this lava desert. The ancient trail leaves the beach every few miles to pass watering holes like this.|
|Here's a close-up of another such oasis - one that was accompanied by an interpretive sign:|
|… and finally a return trip via the 19th century 'King's Road' so that the hike is a closed loop. You don't have to backtrack. See the interpretive sign:|
… and all this in ONE DAY HIKE … the total distance out and back being about fifteen miles. I divided the hike into two shorter sections, which, with some exploring, were about eight miles each. Park at the 'Anaeho'omalu Beach Park lot. There's more than enough parking available at all times. And do it all in one long day (bring plenty of water as it's likely to be sunny and hot; and wear sun screen), or two morning strolls.
Here are the GPS tracks. The northern half passes through the developed Waikoloa Beach Resort in South Kohala, and the southern half is through the rugged undeveloped coast of North Kona.
Here's the ancient monument along the King's Road marking the ancient (pre-European contact) district boundary line.
I hiked the King's Road south to the point where it was buried by an 1859 lava flow. The ancient coastal trail also ends there, buried by the 'new' lava. I didn't hike that last stretch of out-and-back beach at Keawaiki Bay.
Back at home the next morning it was an unusually clear morning. Barely 3/4 mile from where I'm staying I had a chance to see another sunrise over Hilo Bay from above the 1924 Hilo Sugar Company building (it says so in big lettering on the gable).
Where to next? I have so many choices that it's hard to decide.
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