Volcano, HI – In honor of the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day®, join Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Ranger Jay Robinson for an all-day program: “Hike the Ka‘u Coast: Punalu‘u to Kamehame.” Held on Saturday, June 4, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., this five-mile round-trip interpretive hike explores the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.
The day begins with native Hawaiian Shanell Dedman introducing participants to the ancient cultural stories and sites at Punalu‘u. From the legendary supernatural birthing stones and the mystical turtle guardian Kauila to the Punalu‘u Nui luakini heiau (sacrificial temple), Shanell shares her family’s mana‘o (wisdom) of this special place.
The program continues with a hike along a small section of the Ala Kahakai (“trail by the sea”), a 175-mile foot path full of cultural and historical significance.
According to its Web site, Ala Kahakai “traverses through hundreds of ancient Hawaiian settlement sites and through over 200 ahupua‘a, or traditional sea to mountain land divisions. Cultural resources along the trail include several important heiau (temples), royal centers, kahua (house site foundations), loko ‘ia (fishponds), ko‘a (fishing shrines), ki‘i pohaku (petroglyphs), holua (stone slide), and wahi pana (sacred places).”
“Heading out from Punalu‘u, we’ll pass anchialine pools, sea cliffs, crashing waves, and native sea turtle habitat,” states Robinson, who adds, “This moderately strenuous hike will traverse raw pahoehoe and ‘a‘a fields along a windswept, sun-soaked landscape. Hikers should be in good condition, able to do without shade all day in a remote, rugged area. Bring a bathing suit to cool off in pools along the way, as well as at Punalu‘u at the end of the hike.”
The hike’s turn-around point is Kamehame, the black sand beach that is a primary nesting site for honu ‘ea (hawksbill turtles). Here participants will have a lunch break and learn about the Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project and efforts to protect this endangered marine animal.
During the 2010 nesting season, “Four turtles and 10 nests were documented at this hawksbill nesting mecca…. Kamehame had the most nesters and nests in the State,” noted project leaders on the Reptiles Alive! Blog. “From the 10 nests, we estimate that over 1,345 hatchlings reached the sea.”
This event is presented by the Hawai‘i Volcanoes Institute, which is part of the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, a non-profit organization. Program cost is $50 for Friends members and $65 for non-members. Students (K-12 and college with valid student ID) are half-price. Non-members are welcome to join the Friends in order to get the member discount.
To register, call 985-7373 or visit www.fhvnp.org. To support the Hawksbill Recovery Project, please visithttp://www.fhvnp.org/Donate.html, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and chose your donation amount.