Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Poipu Beach is a run of low-slung condos and resorts, with the Sheraton at one end and the fabulous Grand Hyatt at the other. Poipu's yellow-sand beaches have year-around swimming, surfing, and snorkeling. Shipwreck Beach (pictured) in front of the Hyatt, also has great surfing, and is the starting point for a several-mile coastal hike on the Mahaulepu Heritage Trail. Whale-watching, bird viewing, and ancient sites keep hikers' eyes full. You can also drive a (very) bumpy road from the Hyatt to Mahaulepu. Monk seals, Hawaii's endangered mammals, are known to share the sand with tourists. From road's end, a trail continues along the tawny bluffs to rugged Haula Beach (also pictured). Kauai Trailblazer covers the sunny south coast in detail from pages 115 to 126.
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The South Kohala coast on the Big Island of Hawaii is a scorched slag heap of sharp lava, the last place you'd think to wander looking for luxury. But fasten the seat belt on the rental car and inch along the 1.5-mile rutted road (its condition varies) and you will be rewarded with three beaches worthy of world-class destination resorts—Kekaha Kai State Park.
The first beach, Kekaha Kai, is a beach park with picnic facilities, right at the parking lot. Mahaiula Bay (pictured) requires a walk of less than a half-mile, to a classic sand crescent rimmed by palms and other beach trees. The third beach, Makalawena, is a round-trip walk of about two miles across a sun-baked rocky path, but the walk doesn't prevent it from being the most popular. Makalawena's charms include a little oasis pond, decent surfing, and a long run of sand backed by dunes. There's also a nice keiki pool—a protected swimming area inside the reef that is great for kids.
For more details, see page 72 of Hawaii the Big Island Trailblazer.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Some half-dozen sites on the island are signed and protected. Adventure seekers can find twice that many petroglyph fields, mostly on the Kona (west) side of the island. Just look for the pahoehoe lava, as opposed to the jagged slag-heaps (called a'a, "ah-ah"), the second form the molten earth takes when it reaches the surface. The carvings tell of births, deaths, and significant happenings, such as the most recent drawings that depict Western sailing ships and rifles. All the recognized sites are noted in Hawaii the Big Island Trailblazer. If you find a site that is "off the map," be sure to take care not to step on or disturb the etchings.
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