Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park has invited the public to participate in free guided hikes, Coffee Talks and ‘Ike Hana No‘eau Hawaiian cultural programs in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, from April through June 2018.
Visitors can also explore Kahuku on their own on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., including Easter Sunday, April 1.
Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. The Kahuku Unit is located in Ka‘ū, and is about a 50-minute drive south of the park’s main entrance. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free.
Participate in ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Kahuku on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon,April 20, May 18, and June 15. Programs are free.
Get to know your park and your neighbors and join an informal “Coffee Talk” conversation on a wide variety of topics at Kahuku the last Friday of most months. Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries will be available for purchase. Coffee Talks are offered free on April 27, May 25, and June 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Hi‘iaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hi‘iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered April 7, May 19, and June 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku offers. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, remnant native forest and volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered April 8, May 6 and June 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Birth of Kahuku. Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcanic formations, and identify section of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku. This guided easy-to-moderate hike is offered April 14, May 12 and June 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
People and Land of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered April 15, May 20 and June 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. Experience the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on Pu‘u Kahuku Trail. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Bring a snack for the “talk story” segment of this hike. Offered April 21 (National Park Week), May 5 and June 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the threat of a new fungal disease, Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered April 22 (Earth Day & National Park Week), May 13 & 27, and June 10 & 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). Hike the Palm Trail and be inspired by a place where hulihia (catastrophic change) and kulia (restoration) can be observed as the land transitions from the 1868 lava flow and its pioneer plants, to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants and their significance in Hawaiian culture. This moderate hike is about two miles and takes two hours. The Nature & Culture program is offered April 28 (National Park Week), May 26 and June 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Pu‘u o Lokuana is a short 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. This hike is offered April 29 (National Park Week), from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Photo: Ranger Wendy leads the guided Hi‘iaka & Pele program at the Kahuku Unit. NPS Photo/Janice Wei