Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Kohala Dreamin'

Most of my adventures are dreamed up the week before while at work. It is hard not to be inspired from the sweeping views of the Pacific below or the majestic slopes of Mauna Loa above.

I feel extremely fortunate to have the job I do, drawing inspiration from the physical landscape, gardening, and the dynamics of the people I am working with. Looking out I imagine myself riding remote waves or running up lush slopes through the fog and mist.

(Arrrrrugula, Yes!)

North Kohala is a part of the island I have not spent much time, it was time for some explorations up in those parts. Non-stop surfing, running, and wandering was the plan. From Volcano we headed out first stopping to check the waves at our favorite spot north of Hilo. Driving over the bridge looking out at Honoli'i(a popular surf break) we were pleasantly surprised to see head high swells rolling through. WOOOO!! we v-lined it to the break and there we stayed for 3+ hours riding head high waves. It was non stop, there was a point where I didn't see Drew for 45 min. because we both we catching wave after wave. I nearly lost it laughing hysterically at how much fun I was having.

We finally hit the road again, now full of mania. We drove up Kohala Mountain road towards Hawi on the north eastern tip of the island. We wanted to check out some surf breaks, one of them the lighthouse. We finally found the dirt road and ran down to the cliffs a few miles away. A beautiful spot but nothing happening wave wise that day. It was cool exploring around the area and walking around the cliff tops. After running back we went to check Upolu Point. There is a gravel road leading down from a road that dead ends next to an airport runway. We parked and took off running down the road towards the wild coast. What a stunning part of the island! I felt like I was in Scotland, with the green cow pastures running down to the edge of the cliffs. Lunar tide pools below, we ran through the pastures along the edge of the cliffs with the swells crashing into the rocks below. Unbelievable! I will be back there soon.

After running back we drove through Hawi to Pololu Valley. I love Hawi it has a really cool charm to it, we stopped and filled up on baked goods at a killer bakery there. The road twists and turns through lush landscapes until ending at the valley lookout. We were greeted with a huge rainbow and the pot of gold awaited below. It started right where we would be surfing 20 minutes later.

We packed up our tents and grabbed our boards and walked the steep trail down to the valley, about 20 minutes.

The ambiance of the valley floor was mystical, painted orange from the falling sun and dreamlike from the mist of the breaking waves. We threw down our packs and paddled out in the twilight blown away at where we were and what we were doing. Unspoiled beauty! From the water we witnessed the sun set behind the valley and the full moon rise from the far horizon in front of us, It was so big I first thought it was the sun. After setting up camp it was time to feast! Burritos have become my favorite camping meal, fresh with cilantro, limes, and avocados!! What a way to end an epic day. Fully satisfied I drifted off to the melodies of the ocean and the dancing ironwood trees that lined the coast. No one else was down there, we had the place to ourselves.

(Monkeying around)

We woke up to morning glass, steep and fast waves but glassy! We stayed in the water for over three hours, getting some fun rides and also taking a beating from the waves. I got slammed quite a few times into the shallow sand the waves broke over. Exhausted we left the water and debated weather to make the trek to the next valley over Honokane Nui. Hell Yes!! We caught second winds and took off running up the steep trail.

The trail was hard to navigate and washed out in spots but up up we went to the top. Sweeping views of Pololu awaited.

The trail opened up and followed a ridge line and offered dramatic views of Honokane Nui. The waves looked good below and there was a stream bed that led to the back of the valley.

That will have to be another day, we decided to head back and continue on up the Kohala coast. The short but steep hike out of Pololu was kind of brutal, once back at the car we shouted with joy, WOOOOHOOO!! Driving back through Hawi, stopping for more cookies!!! we continued on. We stopped at Mahukona for some snorkeling. We pulled up looking at the crystal blue water with Maui shrouded in clouds on the horizon, ridiculous!

Mahukona is an old wharf so there were old props and chains on the bottom. We swam through ruins and gazed at the brightly colored fish around the coral. We drifted farther and farther out. Drew popped up and said he saw a dolphin, I was bummed I missed seeing it. The next thing we knew at least 70 dolphins were swimming all around us! We were in the middle of the pod and they were on every side, below us, and doing flips out of the water a few feet in front of us! All I could do was laugh hysterically and look on with amazement. We swam joyously with them for at least 15 minutes. Not wanting to over stay our welcome we swam in. I came out of the water feeling charged, fucking electric! From the parking lot there is a trail that follows the coast and we went for another little run down the path. What an epic few days! From there we went into Kailua to Kona Bay Books. I can't not stop by there when I'm on that side of the island. I loose myself in there, a huge selection. Walkng out with a few books and my head spinning I went on a group run with some folks at the Big Island Running Company. A short run down the busy Ali'i drive, it was a cool way to wind down the day and meet some new people. After the run it was time for a pint! I felt like I was on vacation, sitting at a table over looking the peaceful ocean and listening to a local ukulele band strum the night away. That was exactly what I wanted to be doing. After soaking it in for a while it was time to make the 2+ hour drive back to Volcano. The drive back is peaceful in the night, I rolled down the road listening to a few Neil Young albums and some Jesus and Mary Chain, singing at the top of my lungs out the window to the gods!

(Moon Frog on the night beach)


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