Saturday, April 18, 2015

Visiting Laupāhoehoe and Kalōpā

Last month a friend and I took a trip up the coast of Mauna Kea to visit the Kalōpā State Recreation Area. This is a small state park located 2,000 feet (610 meters) up the flank of Mauna Kea, with a small patch of native forest. Along the way we stopped at Laupāhoehoe Point, a small rocky tongue of land sticking out of the mostly high cliffs along the Hāmākua coast. Getting down there requires navigating a winding road hugging the face of the cliffs nearby, which gives some really nice views of the cliffs as you descend:

Descending along the cliffs towards Laupāhoehoe point (looking southeast).

From the point, the view back along the coast to the southeast was pretty neat (it helps that the weather was beautiful):

(Click for a larger version.)
The trade winds were blowing stiffly from the northeast, kicking up some impressive waves on the rocks. I tried to catch some of the amazing pictures that resulted:

Anyway, after having lunch at the point, we headed back up the flank of the mountain to get to the park. The high elevation led to a pleasantly cool temperature as we hiked through the forest made up of native ‘ōh‘ia lehua and kōpiko trees.

Kōpiko are the tall thin ones, ‘ōhi‘a aren't really visible.
We took a nature trail which was established in 1976, which had a nice informative pamphlet pointing out various sights along the trail. There were tons of different kinds of native ferns in different parts of the forest, some of which were rather pretty:

I even found a single orchid in bloom:

This angle makes it look like the orchid is about to attack me.

All in all it was a nice little jaunt through a native upland forest. There were a variety of other interesting sights along the way (such as a number of invasive strangler figs at various points in their life cycles), but due to the thick foliage they proved difficult to photograph. If you ever get the chance to check it out, I'd definitely suggest it. The one caveat is that we got lucky with clear skies; the Hāmākua coast has some of the highest annual rainfall levels in the state (and the world), due to the humid trade winds blowing in from the northeast and running into Mauna Kea, so it rains pretty often. But if it's not raining, it's a nice place to see some native flora. A hui hou!

1 comment:

  1. Great shot of the breakers. Good example of the power in wind and water.


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