Kaloko-Honokōhau

I went “up north” to visit this Historical National Park, just north of Kona and slightly west of Costco. My visit to this stunning place served two reasons: for one, well, to actually go after living on this island for 29 years, and two, for a dry run with a small backpack for my upcoming treks in Japan, England and Ireland.

What a knock-out place! I walked miles and miles of trails along the coast, past petroglyphs and ancient fish ponds, under thickets of native woods, through pastures of greenery, and finally across harshly beautiful, shade-less, shoe-eating, foot-tripping a`a flows.

I timed my visit all wrong by starting my hike at exactly noon; I must return when it first opens to catch a softer, gentler light, but I hope these photos give you an idea of its beauty and peacefulness. There were areas filled with tourists (including ones who ignored the numerous signs to leave the sun-basking turtles alone), but away from the sandy beaches I had the trails to myself. What a gorgeous day. I covered almost all of the paths, by my not-quite-Kona-ised skin signaled to me to get out of the sun after 2 1/2 hours, so I still have more trails to explore – hurray!

I hope you enjoy the photos.  FYI, it was about 82 degrees, with soft, lovely breezes coming off the ocean, and sweet fragrances wafting through the air . . . true.

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Live all you can.  It’s a mistake not to.

Ten Reasons Why I Love My South Kona Neighborhood

(Lots of words today, and not even a travel post! Feel free to skip to the few photos.)

I’m feeling pretty lucky these days after scoring a small apartment in a small subdivision near small Captain Cook. Here are ten reasons why:

1. It’s wide-open gorgeous around here, the land mostly left in its relatively natural state. I’m assuming that’s because the geography is quite steep and covered mostly with a’a (sharp, pointy, hardened lava), and therefore expensive to develop.

2. It’s quiet and peaceful . . . most of the time. There is one unusual neighbor who once in a while plays music loudly, but s/he also performs weird jazz/ballet/tai chi/acid trip dances in his/her front yard, so, yeah, some free high-quality entertainment. There is also a baby growing up in a nearby home; yes, there is sometimes wailing, but mostly this little one chuckles, coos, and babbles. It is delightful.

3. The ocean is right there. From my lanai, I can see up and and down the coast as well as a wide expanse of deep blue ocean spread out right in front of me, and I can be in the water in a very few minutes. Which leads to:

4. Whales! I’m finding it rather cool to just glance up, and thar be whales.

5. The walking and hiking are terrific. I hope to take some walking trips this year, so I am working to build up my strength and stamina. The subdivision road from the “highway” down to the ocean is on rather vertical terrain, and terrific for building leg muscles – everyone I see walking this road has lean, shapely legs. And the hikes along the coasts are [seeking appropriate adjective that means gorgeous/awesome/breathtaking/spectacular all in one]. Lately the weather has been perfect for walking: around 80, with breezes off the ocean. Plus, it doesn’t rain All The Time, as it does in a place I recently lived . . .

That said, there’s some serious weather around the islands these days; the Civil Defense folks, whom I saw mustering in their fluorescent vests, are texting about “extreme danger”, and urging “Protect your property now” in alerts. Here on the west side, so far we are avoiding the brunt of the storm, but impressive – threatening? – waves are crashing along the shore, sending spray high into the sky. My walk along the coast this morning was so amazing it brought tears to my eyes. That said, I’m glad this house I am typing in is no closer to the coastline than it is.

6. The sunsets. I’d always thought of myself as more of a hey-it’s-a-new-day sunrise-loving type (See Miami Beach photos from the Fall 2017 trip), but the sunsets and green flashes are lovely, I must admit, and go well with a glass of wine (which is not compatible with a sunrise) (again, I assume).

7. The safety. Perhaps because of the steep, scary, only-one-way-out road, my place does not require a locking front door, similar to how things were 45 years ago when I first moved to Hawaii, and unlike a place I recently lived.

8. After spending decades working in a job as an unwelcome minority, I feel like I fit in around here. Is that okay to say?

9. There are no loose, menacing dogs or packs of wild pigs to be on the lookout for when walking (as in a place I previously lived). There are wild turkeys, however. When I first saw one walking down the street, I though perhaps the sometimes-fun shingles drugs I’m taking also brought hallucinations, but no, it was real. Oh, and no mold!!!!!!!  Unlike a place . . .

10. Internet access is crap. Hello, books. (And infrequent blog posts.)

Okay, some of these reasons are more anti-my-old-surrounds than pleasing things about my new digs, but still. To my rain-forest loving friends, it takes all kinds, am I right?

I feel compelled, for reality’s sake, to list some downsides of living here: if Mauna Loa goes off, I’ll have maybe 45 minutes to live and breathe; if there’s another tsunami warning, I should have time to evacuate, and will probably lose only possessions, not my life.

Obviously, where I live these days is bringing much happiness (this happiness is NOT due to the shingles drugs!). But there is one more contributor to my peace of mind: last night, when the “extreme” winds were howling and things were going bump bump bump in the night, for the first time in a long while I was not worried sick about the financial implications of damage to the roof over my head!

Here are a few photos for you:

Live all you can. It’s a mistake not to.