OHE November 21, 1997

Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 16:30:27 -1000
From: Nathan Yuen (nyuen@lava.net>
Subject: Koko Head Crater from Blow Hole

(a copy of this has also been posted to the newsgroup "soc.culture.hawaii")

Went on a neat hike with Dayle Turner this morning to Pu'u Ma'i, the highest point on Koko Head Crater. Starting just above a tiny cove carved into the rocky point behind Blow Hole, we were fortunate to be at Blow Hole during high tide to see the white-capped waves crash against the rocks, create pressure beneath the rocky ledge, and force plumes of mist out the hole high into the air! What a neat sight!

Begining our ascent through a small valley overlooking Blow Hole, we could plainly see many layers of lava and the sparkle of olivine crystals which testify to the intense volcanic activity that formed this region. Sprawled out low on the ground on the volcanic rocks were beach naupaka with their oddly characteristic white half-flowers, beach ilima with their simple but elegant orange blossoms, and hinahina with their lovely silvery-green rosettes.

As we hiked toward the end of the little valley, Dayle brought my attention to an unusual rock formation in the distance--a natural bridge! Seeing blue sky beneath the arch of the bridge, I was just awed to imagine how that steep formation was created until Dayle said, "the trail takes us over that natural bridge." Ascending our way up the steep incline, we climbed up (many times on all fours and other times with the aid of a cable) over the steep formation. Continuing to climb up the side of the crater, I stopped at several points up the side of the crater to admire the panoramic view (okay, okay... to catch my breath, alright? ).

Finally reaching the lip of the crater, I was overjoyed that the most strenuous part was over and that we were not planning to descend the same way. From that point, we traversed the narrow wind-swept rocky lip of the crater, where several interesting rock formations are situated, to the highest point on the crater. And wow! What a sight! The views are just incredible! Perched over the Kaiwi Coastline on one side and Hawaii Kai on the other, we could see beautiful blue Hanauma Bay with its many reefs, the unique fishponds of Wailupe and Kuapa, and the off-shore island of Manana (Rabbit Island). And... despite the vog which hung in the air, we could see the faint outline of Moloka'i, Lana'i, and Mau'i on the eastern horizon! What a fabulous sight!

After soaking in the sights, we hiked back on the lip of the crater until we reached the open northeast end of the crater. As we descended to the bottom and walked through the opening in the crater wall, known as Kolelepelepe--meaning "traveling vagina", I recalled the legends about how Kolelepelepe was formed. Created by Kapo, the sister of the godess Pele, as a deception to save Pele from the designs of Kamapua'a, the pig demigod, the crater was formed in the shape of her own her genitalia! What a neat story!

Being my very first hike to the top of Koko Head Crater, I was thankful to see the incredible views, experience the neat rock formations, and recall the fascinating Hawaiian legends. If you haven't hiked to Koko Head Crater, I recommend you do so. You may, however, wish to take a more leisurely route and not ascend the eastern side of crater from Blow Hole. (I'm lazy, okay? ) The views are so incredible that Koko Head Crater is a must for all you nature nuts. And... I'm sure you'll even be able to see humpback whales breeching in the Kaiwi Channel during the winter months!

P.S. Dayle tied a bottle containing a notepad and pen to the metal structure at the top of Koko Head. We scribbled a few thoughts of our own and the date we were there. The next time you're up there, be sure to check out what we wrote and scribble down a few thoughts of your own.

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