Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Shoreline Trail - More History, more luxury pit stops per mile than any other trail in the world.

Smooth lava stones from the beach set in place hundreds of years ago as stepping stones for barefoot Polynesian travelers.  Mauna Kea is in the background, its summit hidden by cloud.

I continue extending my walk along the continuous Shoreline Trail of western Hawaii Island.  The title of this post says it all.  It passes multiple ultra luxury resorts with shore-side bars and restaurants.  It sends the hiker across countless world class beaches, and it connects these with centuries old footpath past fresh-water ponds, through rugged sun baked lava fields, above precarious high cliffs with sea arches and crashing surf, past exotic pre-historic petroglyphs and foundations of sacred altars and Polynesian fishing villages.

Bottom line:  The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail surely has the greatest concentration of 'points of interest' of any trail in the world.

This report covers two more short hikes extending the continuous route southward from previous reports.  These hikes took me from Kiholo Bay where Kamehameha I constructed a gigantic fish pond, destroyed by a lava flow in 1859.

through the gated Four Seasons Hualalai Resort, with more than a mile of concrete path along the shoreline past luxury villas, seaside restaurants, and a golf course

to Kikaua Point State Park where the public can lounge on a little shady shoreline patch of lush grass just feet from the surf with panoramic views of the most gorgeous shoreline anywhere.

Along these few miles of coastal trail, I ran across an ancient game-board, called a Papamu, cut in the lava bedrock. 

This 8 x 8 'board' was for playing the game of Konane, kind of like checkers, played using white and black pebbles, and sometimes played as a life-and-death duel in place of warfare.  The loser lost his life.

I also passed a replica carving of the war-god Ku. 

He seems to be the most popular totem for tourist consumption, but Kuka'ilimoku (his full name) was a very complex God.  Beside being 'Ku the supreme one' and 'Ku of the maggot-dropping mouth' and 'Ku the land snatcher', he was also 'Ku the supporter', 'Ku pulling together the earth', and Ku of farming, Ku of the deep forest, and Ku adzing out the canoe, etc.

Other sights along this segment include another excellent sea-arch,

a sun-bleached skull of the ubiquitous feral goat set on the crumbling wall of an ancient dwelling,

and countless little puddles where Ku and his cohorts were naturally manufacturing pure Hawaiian sea salt.

As with all of this amazing trail, the walk was magical.  Never a dull moment.

Then back near home I had a chance to indulge my fascination with specimen trees.

This is one of the most awesome I've seen anywhere.  It is Albizia saman, called simply 'saman' or 'rain tree' or 'monkey pod'.  It is native to the tropical new world, and its spreading habit is even better than the live oak.

It seems to defy gravity

This one is distinctive because it is set in the nicest, best-kept cemetery I've ever seen, the Alae Cemetery north of Hilo, with a wonderful ocean view overlooking Hilo Bay.

Where to next?  Well, I have more of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail to do.  Stay tuned.

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