Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

North Kohala Coast and Waimea

on August 25, 2013

Once upon a time (1878),  Thomas R. Gould, a sculptor from Boston, living inKing Kamehameha I Florence Italy, sculpted a statue of King Kamehameha I.

Now, the way I heard the story is that there was a debate over where the statue should be placed – the people of the Big Island wanted to for North Kohala, where King Kamehameha was born.

The Government Seat, though, is in Honolulu, and the plan was for the statue to be placed there.

Well!  Mr. Gould forged the sculpture in Italy, and sent it off to Honolulu by ship.  The ship sank somewhere around the Falkland Islands, near Cape Horn, and the statue was lost at sea.

Mr. Gould made another sculpture and sent that one, again, to Honolulu. That one arrived safe and sound and was erected in in front of Aliiolani Hale (Hawaiian State Supreme Court), and dedicated in 1883.

Pololu ShoreBUT THEN, in 1912, the original statue was recovered, restored, and guess where it now sits!  North Kohala, in a little town called Kapaau.

I don’t know which town is which, when I remember them, but there’s Hawi and Kapaau, and they are only  about 2.5 miles apart.  So, if I tell you all about it, and you get there and it’s not how I explained, just go on to the next town.

Here’s what I know: there’s a little boardwalk, quirky art stores, galleries, and ice cream parlor and patio, some yummy little restaurants, and a grocery store.  I think, technically, you Hawicould spend a whole day walking that 2 block strip and going in and out of stores, and stopping for coffee and lunch.  (I think it’s Hawi.)

Pololu Valley OverlookBut, we (each time) have been passing through – to and from Pololu Valley Lookout.

  Actually, this year is the first year that I’ve hiked down INto Pololu.  Totally worth it. Take water.  (And your inhaler, if you need one.)

Pololu PathWPololu Pathway

Pololu Valley is like the sister valley to Waipio Valley, and in fact, you can see the jut-out from Waipio if you look way beyond Pololu.

It is about 1000 feet deep and cuts into the Kohala Mountain, and the Pololu Stream runs through it.Pololu Valley 3   (By the way, further inland, Pololu Valley is Privately Owned, so you need to stay near the Shoreline.  I guess there are tours, too, that can help you navigate properly.)

Hmmmmm.  There was a tour and trail that went to, and around, Kapaloa Falls.  Apparently, the waterfall dropped 300 feet above and 200 feet below the trail! However, the trail was destroyed in Hawaii’s big earthquake a couple of years ago, and there’s no access anymore… Keep your eye out, though. Maybe someday it’ll be re-opened?

It’s ANOTHER spectacular view from the Pololu Valley Overlook and I completely forgot to add it to my Top Favorite Views on the Island. (Obviously, the almost entire Island is beautiful and my list of “Absolute Favorite View” is growing…)
Pololu Valley 2Pololu ValleyPololu Valley 1

Enroute, between Waipio Valley and Pololu Valley is Waimea, also known as Kamuela. (“Kamuela” was adopted later (because of some confusion with the Postal Service) in honor of a resident named Samuel Parker, but Waimea is the original name and means “reddish water”. )

We haven’t spent a lot of time there, but always like driving through the little town of just over 9,000 (according to the 2006 Census).   It’s a “western” town, partly made up of Hawaiian cowboys (Paniolos) who work on Parker Ranch, and the Stop Signs say “Whoa” instead of “Stop”.  🙂

It’s a good place to stop for lunch or dinner, or to pick up your supply of Parker Ranch beef at the local grocery store.  (For non-meat eaters, the veggies and fruit are generally locally grown too, and high quality.  It is Hawaii, after all.)

Just down the road (30 minutes South of Hawi and 20 minutes West of Waimea) is Hapuna Beach.  I’ve talked about black sand and green sand beaches.  This is the WHITEST sand beach I’ve ever seen!

HapunaThere is now a $5 entrance fee for non-residents, but not only does that include almost 62 acres of fine, white sand, but it has restrooms, drinking water, lifeguard services and is right beside the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, which has restaurants and lounges, and, of course, accommodations.

Hapuna 1

OK! So if you’ve been looking at a map at all, you will know that we’ve gone around the whole island, and are now coming down the stretch to the Kailua-Kona area.

Many would say I saved the Best for Last 😀 (refer to my Kona vs. Hilo blog!) I love both sides for different reasons.  But, for a certainty, without bias, Kona-side as ALOT to offer!

We are going to talk about… the Seahorse Ranch next. And, Petroglyphs, I think.

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4 responses to “North Kohala Coast and Waimea

  1. My husband and I hiked down into the Pololu Valley a few years ago. We hiked a lot on that Hawaii trip, but I think that was my favorite one. So beautiful! But steep! We were grateful for the walking sticks people had left at the top.

    • 4mygypsysoul says:

      Walking sticks would’ve been really helpful! I loved it, too – happy to finally get into the Valley. (I’m curious where else you went – maybe some places to put on my “to-do” list!)

      • We only visited the Big Island so I imagine we went to many of the same places you did. We were there when the huge earthquake hit Japan. For a week or so prior to the earthquake, volcanic activity in Volcanoes National Park had been increasing rapidly and much of the park was closed off because of the presence of dangerous gases and large cracks in the roads. Our week ended with tsunami warnings. Fortunately Hawaii didn’t get hit with much, but it was a scary end to our vacation. I’d like to go back, and explore more of the islands.

      • 4mygypsysoul says:

        We were there that week too! (Well, our trip started with the Tsunami – we were the last plane into the Kona Airport before all the airlines shut down. It was scary, with all the sirens going all night and nobody really knowing the impact to the Island, and there TERRIBLENESS of the devastation to Japan 😦 We were on High Ground, in Kealakekekua that night, but it was still very scary.)

        We’ve only been to the Big Island and Oahu, but constantly have the idea to make a weekend trip (at least) to Kauai, but haven’t quite made it there yet.

        Anyway – cool we were there at the same time – might’ve passed eachother on the boardwalk!

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