Hawaii 2012 - Day 15: Old Kona Airport - Pu'ukohola Heiau - Polulu Valley

Hawaii Travel Blog

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A gecko on the hotel grounds

Vacations go way too fast... today was already the last day in the Aloha State. Fortunately we had a late flight so we had practically the whole day to enjoy the beauty of the Island of Hawai'i one more time!

And although we would not fly until tonight the first thing we actually did is head to the airport.... Well not exactly what you might think... we headed to the OLD Kona Airport, just a few miles away from our hotel. This site used to be the airport for the West Coast of Hawai'i until, 1970, when the current Kona Airport at Keahole opened, allowing much larger planes to visit. The old airport, which is nicely located at the beach, was tuned into the Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area.

Old Kona Airport State Recreation Area
The runway is now the access road and a (huge) parking lot. The park also houses a very nicely maintained garden with all kinds of spectacular plants. A perfect place for us to have a last breakfast as well as a flower tour.

We had one point of worry today; the weather. Yesterday we already had a very cloudy and sometimes rainy day. Today the forecast was bad for almost the whole island. From our breakfast spot we could see the heavy clouds come in from the south. According to the forecast the north tip of the island would experience the least horrible weather. So, north we went, once again to the lands shaped by Kohala, the oldest Volcano of the island. Unlike two days ago, we now approached it via the western side, all the way to the north tip.

This very edge of the island is where king Kamehameha was born in 1758.

Pu'ukohola Heiau
Although one does not know his exact birth date, the legend stated that he was born when a huge comet was seen. This was most likely Halley's comet which was visible from Hawai'i in 1758. Kamehameha managed to unite the many local chiefs (ali‘i's) and their communities on the Big Island, but faced a lot of resistance of his own cousin Keoua Kuahu'ula. He was told by the prophet Kapoukahi that he in the end would unite all the Hawaiian Islands if he built a temple in the honor of war god Kuka'ilimoku.

Kamehameha immediately ordered to build the temple (heiau) and construction was started in 1790 at Whale Hill (Pu'ukohola) at the village of Kaiwaihae.

Statue of Kamehameha I in his birth place Kapaau
Construction took one year. The temple was constructed by stacking stones without mortar. These stones were all obtained from the Polulu Valley, at he other side of the volcano, and transported by a 14 to 20-mile-long chain of thousands laborers, handing each stone over.

Kamehameha invited his cousin to attend the dedication ceremony in 1791. Keoua Kuahu'ula accepted, but when he and his delegation arrived at the temple, they were captured and slain. Keoua Kuahu'ula turned out to be a very different participant of the ceremony, being the sacrifice offered in the newly opened temple...

It did work however, two stranded seamen from Europe came by, and became Kamehameha's war advisors. They taught him about muskets, canons, double hulled ships, etc. enabling him to defend Hawai'i from attacks of other islands, and eventually to overtake and unify the islands into the Kingdom of Hawaii.

The Polulu Valley, while descending
 The heiau still exists and is now a site managed by the National Park Service. It is unfortunately not possible to go in, but from the outside the site is still impressive and worth a trip. One can also walk to the bay where the unfortunate Keoua Kuahu'ula arrived and was slain.

We headed further north, all around the northern tip to the earlier mentioned Polulu Valley, the valley where the stones of the heiau came from. We had been here during our previous Hawaii vacation (see here) and had another 'unfinished business' item left; the hike into that valley. Compared to the Waipi'o Valley nothing special, just 125 meters (490 ft) down for about 750 meters (<0.

The Polulu Valley, beach level
5 mile), but, over a normal hiking trail instead of an asphalt road. 

We were back at the parking after only 33 minutes. Much faster than we thought, but also handy, we still had to drive back to the airport, do the last packing of the suitcases, have dinner, return the rental car and check in. We managed to do all of this but it became a very tight schedule, especially dinner. And it turned out that we hurried for nothing. Our plane left the airport with a delay of an hour due to minor a malfunction of the plane which caused a lot of delaying paperwork. So almost six hours after our departure at the parking we once again passed the Polulu Valley, now high in the sky. Next stop: Los Angeles California.

More pictures below.

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A gecko on the hotel grounds
A gecko on the hotel grounds
Old Kona Airport State Recreation …
Old Kona Airport State Recreation…
Puukohola Heiau
Pu'ukohola Heiau
Statue of Kamehameha I in his birt…
Statue of Kamehameha I in his bir…
The Polulu Valley, while descending
The Polulu Valley, while descending
The Polulu Valley, beach level
The Polulu Valley, beach level
A gecko on the hotel grounds
A gecko on the hotel grounds
A gecko on the hotel grounds
A gecko on the hotel grounds
A gecko on the hotel grounds
A gecko on the hotel grounds
A gecko on the hotel grounds
A gecko on the hotel grounds
Old Kona Airport State Recreation …
Old Kona Airport State Recreation…
Old Kona Airport State Recreation …
Old Kona Airport State Recreation…
Old Kona Airport State Recreation …
Old Kona Airport State Recreation…
Old Kona Airport State Recreation …
Old Kona Airport State Recreation…
Old Kona Airport State Recreation …
Old Kona Airport State Recreation…
Old Kona Airport State Recreation …
Old Kona Airport State Recreation…
Old Kona Airport State Recreation …
Old Kona Airport State Recreation…
The island of Maui seen from Puuk…
The island of Maui seen from Pu'u…
The dry lands of Puukohola Heiau
…
The dry lands of Pu'ukohola Heiau…
Puukohola Heiau
Pu'ukohola Heiau
Puukohola Heiau
Pu'ukohola Heiau
The Polulu Valley, trail head level
The Polulu Valley, trail head level
The Polulu Valley, while descending
The Polulu Valley, while descending
The Polulu Valley, while descending
The Polulu Valley, while descending
The Polulu Valley, beach level
The Polulu Valley, beach level
The Polulu Valley, beach level
The Polulu Valley, beach level
Looking into the Polulu Valley, be…
Looking into the Polulu Valley, b…
Hawaii
photo by: WorldXplorer