Minnesota Farmer

Hawaii’s Kohala Coast
March 23, 2010, 4:02 pm
Filed under: Hawaii, travel

Our trip from the big island of Hawaii’s Keahole-Kone airport to our resort on the Kohala coast was a study in contrast.  Most of the area seems to be carved out of an old lava flow.  The road is an area of lava smoothed off and paved over to make a road.  Resorts seem to have been made the same way.

Old lava flow

All around the lush resort is this stark black rock of the old flow.  Rough areas in the golf coarse are just left undisturbed.  Green grass would butt up against the black rock in a straight line.  Flowers and flowering trees would spill out of piles of broken lava.  It was really a picture of contrast.

housing areas against old lava flows

On one side you would see house or shops, and on the other a lava bed.

Some areas of the flow were a little bit older and those areas showed a little bit of grass and maybe some small bushes.

If you looked closely you could see changes in color of the old flows and perhaps even a place where the lava type changed from Aa to pahoehoe.

Aa and Pahoehoe

Interestingly much of Hawaii’s lava tends to travel under a layer of the cooled lava.  This leads to areas of collapsed lava tubes and long upraised ridges of pushed up rock.  The whole area looks like someone did a poor job of plowing with a really big plow.

If an area had been around long enough to erode a bit of thin dirt it was not unusual to see quite a bit of plant growth.  If you looked carefully there may be a goat or two in those areas.

We travelled up the coast to see Pu’ukohola Heiau.  This Heiau (temple) is one of the last major sacred structures built before outside influences altered life in Hawaii forever.  This temple to the war god Ku is where Kamehameha the Great consolidated his power and brought the islands together under one ruler.

Pu'ukohola on the hill of the whale

The dry conditions and stark contrasts of this area mean that many never venture far from the resorts and road ways.  Those who do venture forth will find history and beauty.  It is an area well worth exploring.

Petroglyph near Puako



2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Michael, your posts on Hawaii have been great. Minor detail (but important anyway) – “Keahole-Kone airport” should read “Keahole-Kona airport.” Kona is the name of the west coast for the Big Island.

Mahalo, Tom 🙂

Comment by Tom Graham

That’s the way it’s printed in my National Geographic guide to Hawaii. Go figure.

Comment by Michael

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