Saturday, November 17, 2012

Dat's why they call it the BIG Island

Hikers looking for out-there experiences can find them on any of the Islands, but on the Big Island of Hawaii (about twice the size as the other islands combined), you have to go looking for someplace that isn't some form of wilderness. And it's not all wild-and-wooly. These oceanside paths at Ninole Cove are pocked with unmarked Hawaiian archeological sites, located just south of Punalu'u Black Sand Beach, which is a tour-bus stop about 40 miles south of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the east shore. Inland from these black-rock beaches is Wood Valley, site of a Buddhist retreat nestled into the huge Kau Forest Reserve, with subtropical groves and trails leading up the slopes of Mauna Loa volcano, lofted at about 14,000 feet. About 20 miles offshore Ninole, and 3 miles under sealevel, is Loihi, a bubbling mountain of lava some 15,000 feet high that is expect to see daylight in about 10,000 years. Hawaii the Big Island Traiblazer has more on this coastline, begining on page 117.