Friday, April 3, 2009

Akaka Falls

Just north of Hilo, Akaka Falls State Park is on the tour bus circuit and if you arrive at midday you may feel like you should be wearing a cowbell. Still, the place delivers the scenic goods, and the paved trail that makes a half-mile oval through lush forest is well worth the stop. Akaka, meaning, “split” or “crack,” demonstrates a later stage of the Mauna Kea volcano, when rain runoff gouges gorges, this one leading to a 440-foot thundering freefall. The path, recently spruced up with new paved sections and buffed railing, also takes in 125-foot Kahuna Falls and penetrates a towering forest that shades a garden of greenery, with some plants having leaves the size of card tables.

The sometimes-hectic parking lot used to be easy pickings for the occasional cranked-up car thief, but local retirees began patrolling this year and the crime rate has dropped to zero. See page 170 of Hawaii the Big Island Trailblazer.