Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 8 - Falls, Valleys, and Salt Water Breakers

Today, we left the Hilo side of the Big Island and made our way to the west side of the Island.

In the morning, we entered Hilo and shopped at some thrift shops for inexpensive Hawaiian shirts and enjoyed some downtown time in Hilo. While there we visited the statue erected in honor of King Kamehameha. He was the first Hawaiian to unite the islands through warfare and show of force by 1810 and played a significant role in the history of the islands.

King Kamehameha statue in Hilo
Leaving Hilo, we headed to the Akaka State park which featured two impressive water falls, Kahuna Falls (400 foot drop) and Akaka Falls (442 foot drop).

Kahuna Falls
442 foot Akaka Falls
Calvin College Women (from left to right starting in front row), Hayleigh, Kelsey, Brianna, Ann, Jaclyn, Jenna, and Kendra
The Geologist
The trees are simply amazing. They seem to support an abundant and diverse ecosystem. The climbing plants work with the tree. The canopy acts as its own area and the ground cover supports tremendous activity. The forests here in Hawaii are really something very special. Let's not lose these or any more rainforest elsewhere.
After a wonderful walking trip to the falls, we spent a very nice few minutes at a local bakery down the road and enjoyed samples of local jams, pastries, and coffee.

The road along the north east coast (the Hamakua Coast) is former sugar cane country. Plantations were about 12 miles apart and in the little town of Laupahoehoe acted as a shipping port to export the sugar. In the small harbor area, shallow boats would bring sugar to the larger ships anchored offshore. Later a railroad was built to Hilo and sugar was exported from there, leaving Laupahoehoe in its former glory.

In 1946 there was a magnitude 8.1 earthquake in the Aleutian Trench, which set off a Tsunami in the Pacific. There was no early warning system in the Pacific at the time. Hitting many islands in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii was not immune. At Laupahoehoe, 23 children having school in the morning and 3 teachers were swept away in the 3rd of 3 waves that hit the western Big Island and lost their lives. Laupohoehoe park is in their honor and serves as a beacon to all of the dangers of Tsunami's and the need to continue to improve early warning systems. Early warning systems have been in place in the Pacific since 1949 and as of the devastating Tsunami of 2004 in the Indian Ocean, Hawaii's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center provides monitoring for the Pacific Ocean, Caribbean, and Indian Ocean.

We had a very pleasant, yet bittersweet time eating lunch at this beautiful ocean side park. It now serves the local community with a boat launch and large flat grass-covered gathering areas.

Brian and Ann both gave devotionals focusing on 1 Corinthians 9:24 and Colossians 3:1-2 and Ann also gave an excellent talk on Kona Coffee and its intricacies. Apparently 100% Kona coffee costs about $50 a pound at present because it is so rare. 

Ian, Tyler W, and Alex B on the landing near the boat ramp @ 19.991889,-155.239813
Up the coast is the famous Waipi'o Valley, which is the largest and most southern of the seven valley's that form the northern point of the Big Island. The valley below is one mile wide and 6 miles inland. The black sand beach seen below is used for many film productions. We are nearly 2000 feet above this valley from where the picture is taken. Our field guide describes a rich cultural history in this valley including challenges with Tsunami's.

Waipi'o Valley (picture take from 20.11787,-155.584404)

Micah enjoying the beautiful day and place called Hawaii!

Once we took in the amazing views we headed back up the slope to go to Kona. This gave us the opportunity to go by the Parker Ranch, one of the largest and oldest cattle ranches in the United States of America. The ranch has an interesting history with King Kamehemeha giving John Parker vast tracks of land, more than 150,000 acres, in exchange for his services.

Stopping at the Parker Ranch memorial to the Marines of WWII

Kinda glad I didn't get near horses today.
Finally, before we made it to Kona for some dinner, we stopped at a special place for rock and mineral collection near mile marker 27 on Hwy 190 from Waimea to Kona @ 19.774975,-155.922465. Ultramafic nodules were found in abundance!

Guest Blogger and Calvin student on this interim, Brianna, shares a little about the site: "The nodules we found were special because they are mantle material carried 10 to 20 km up to Earth's surface. When the magma came up at the Hualalai volcano, it tore chunks from the mantle on its way up and that is how they were deposited in this area."

Needless to say we found several wonderful nodules and several other interesting things too! Two people actually handed the resident expert in geology, Professor Van Kooten, some specimens to a response of, "Wow!" by The Geologist. Professor VanHorn and Calvin student Micah H. can take credit for causing this display of excitement in Dr. Van Kooten.

Tomorrow is an exciting day of snorkeling at one of the most perfect places in the water within the Hawaiian Islands, Kealakekua Bay Marine Sanctuary near Captain Cook, Hawaii.More on the captain tomorrow, who has an erected statue at the bay.

Miles Hiked Today: 0.6
Miles Hiked in Hawaii: 23.6
Number of Miles on the Car: 428 (x4 minivans)
Number of U-Turns: 14
Number of Rainbows seen today: 5

No comments:

Post a Comment