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One of my favorite places to travel is the Big Island of Hawaii. Where else can you find the tallest mountains in the world, the most active volcano in the world, and a surreal landscape of lava flows, desert vegetation, coffee plantations and tropical jungle? The Big Island and its welcoming, friendly people never cease to amaze me.
I try to visit or attend medical meetings on the island whenever feasible. One of the meetings I enjoy and learn a lot from is held regularly at a wonderful resort known as the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel. This resort was opened on the Kohala coast (rainshadow side of the island) 20 years ago, twinned with the Mauna Kea Resort on …
Situated on the outskirts of Hilo, on the windward site of the Big Island of Hawaii, is beautiful Rainbow Falls. The falls is just northwest of Hilo off the main roads of the city, in Wailuku River State Park. It’s in a small canyon covered with lush tropical foliage and makes a picture-perfect photostop for people heading to and from Volcanoes National Park. The waterfall has a beautiful “Y” shape only when there’s only the right amount of precipitation — too much or too little and the “Y” disappears into a single channel of water. The fall’s name comes from the rainbow you’ll see in morning light on a sunny day.
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance the …
Iao Valley State Park (pronounced “Yeow Valley!”) is a small park worth seeing not just for its physical beauty but its historic importance. While the Iao Valley is really situated in the heart of the eroded West Maui Volcano, it can only be approached from Central Maui. A several mile road winds its way up the Iao Valley from Wailuku, a lovely drive through lush rain-forest.
Iao Valley gets its name from the Iao Needle, a rock pinnacle stretching to 2250′ (just under 700 M) above sea level; it’s the subject of this week’s highlighted photo. The adjoining small Iao Stream gently tumbles down the Valley in no way betraying that it was here in 1790 that …
I love visiting the Big Island — it’s such an awesome destination! Where else can you walk on the tallest mountain in the world (Mauna Kea, as measured from it’s base on the ocean floor) and watch lava flow from an active volcano (Kilauea), all in one day?
This photo was taken in Volcanoes National Park on the Chain of Craters road. Over the years lava flows have completely obstructed what once was a loop drive, but it’s still very interesting to see. Park near the end of the road and walk out on to the hardened lava shield for a great view — Pacific Ocean on one side, and endless acres of recent lava on the other.
I love …
If you want to see lots of rainbows — almost too many to count — Maui is the place you should go. The frequent showers carried in by the trade-winds usually don’t last long and give way to brilliant sunshine. The sunlight is dispersed when it hits the water droplets in the air and, voila — a magical rainbow! Often Maui’s rainbows span a full hundred and eighty degrees and double rainbows are common.
I like this photo because you can see the lush green bulk of the West Maui Mountains (an eroded volcano) framed behind the rainbow, which seems to stretch to “infinity and beyond!”
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“Pic of the Week”. March 8, 2013. Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau (The Place of Refuge), Big Island of Hawaii. Differing perspectives of sunlight at dusk
The Big Island is one of my favorite destinations, a place I can go to often and always feel at home. It’s a rugged land, newly created by it’s great volcanoes (and with new land formation continuing in the southern part of the island).
A special place I came across during my last visit to the Big Island was the “Place of Refuge” or, in Hawaiian, “Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau”. It’s a smaller National Historic Park situated just south of Kona that was important to the Hawaiian people because it was a “safe zone” — a place where someone who had broken one of the many Hawaiian laws could seek refuge and escape their sentence (usually death), with no fear of …
Some of my favorite experiences while traveling are encounters with wild animals, especially when these are unexpected. To stumble on extremely rare birds while traveling the roads of Hawaii was a treat!
My wife and I recently finished a fun week in Maui, one day of which was a trip to the summit of the dormant volcano, Haleakala, which occupies more than half the island’s land mass. As we were driving up the mountain, we saw two pair of nene eating grass beside the road, enjoying the mist and drizzle on the mountain. If you look carefully on an enlargement of the photo (below), you’ll see water beading on the nene’s back.
Hawaii’s great volcanoes (Volcanoes National Park on …
The largest stretch of (relatively) flat land on Maui is the valley between the two volcanoes, Haleakala and the West Maui Mountains. This area is commonly called “Central Maui” and it’s here most locals live. “Upcountry Maui” refers to those communities that lie within a thousand meters or so of sea level on the lower slopes of Haleakala abutting Central Maui, an area that tends to be cooler and greener and that’s popular with cowboys and ranchers. “South Maui” refers to the stretch of coast on Haleakala’s southwestern rain-shadow, just south of Central Maui. South Maui is a very dry and popular tourist area with great beaches, upscale resorts and lots of golf.
Besides its thousands of homes, Central Maui is mostly …