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  • Laura

Hiking Pu'u Wa'awa'a - Big Island adventures

Since we've only lived here on the big island of Hawaii for about 5 months, we haven't quite seen EVERYTHING. Haha! There is so much here to explore, which makes the adventurer in me all giddy inside. I sometimes feel like a Westward-Ho! pioneer. I was born in Florida, spent my childhood in Illinois, later moved to Idaho and just recently moved to Hawaii. In order to keep moving West and still live in the United States, Guam is my only option. Hmmmm. you never know! Anyway, I love discovering new places and I quite randomly like to take a road I've passed a hundred times and finally discover where it leads. I have ulterior motives in that I'm also looking for places to take pictures (not all of Hawaii is one long stretch of beach)! And the kids get bonus time in car looking out the windows, which of course they love. So I've driven past the "jello mold" aka Pu'u Wa'awa'a many times already in my commute from Waikoloa to Kona, and as soon as I saw it, I knew we'd have to climb it some day. By the way, Pu'u Wa'awa'a means "the many-furrowed hill." Obviously. And clearly this picture was NOT taken on the day we climbed it or else we would have had a marvelous view from the top. This we did not have. But you get the idea of "the many-furrowed hill."

If you look up this hike on various, supposedly trustworthy websites, they will tell you that it runs about 2.5 miles to the top, making it 5 miles round trip. Lies. More on that later.

We invited our friends, the Blacks, to go with us since they seem the adventurous sort, so altogether we had 4 adults, 6 kids, and Spike (the dog). We set off with plenty of water, snacks, and high spirits. And it was a beautiful hike! Right away, we saw lots of wild sheep in the woods.

The kids found a couple of skulls from a goat and a cow, I think. Yes. I did used to teach high school biology, and I insisted on a lesson about skull anatomy right then and there. Not really.

About 30 minutes into our hike, we saw 4 wild horses coming down the trail right towards us! We all stopped, just wondering what would happen. I seriously thought one of them might start talking and ask us to solve a riddle before we could pass. It was such a Narnia or Lord of the Rings moment. Although, I think it's usually trolls who ask you to solve a riddle in fairy tales. Anyway, the white one walked right up to Jason like they were pals and let him stroke his nose and whisper sweet nothings into his ear! Such an awesome moment.

Then they just said goodbye and galloped over the heather covered fields of Scotland. . . I mean Hawaii. Looks like Scotland almost.

Shortly after the surreal moment with the horses, we came upon Christa's swing. Don't you love when people take the time to put random things like this out in the middle of nowhere just to make someone else smile? Loved it. Although, the poor tree has seen better days.

So this picture of Josie and Spike was taken about 30 seconds before we noticed some big sheep just to the left of us. We didn't notice them. But Spike sure did. And before we knew it, he was chasing them at breakneck speed across aforementioned Scottish highlands. It is quite possible that this might have been the last time any of us ever saw Spike. However, Trey took off right after him, bounding across the lava rock and running almost as fast! I can't believe he didn't break an ankle. After about 3/4 of a mile, Spike was stopped by a low rock wall that the sheep glided right over (something for me to visualize later when I'm plagued by insomnia). Amazingly enough, Trey caught up to him and was able to bring him back, adding about 1.5 miles to his overall hike. We were all relieved. Plus. . . we got a short break from the uphill climb, which was starting to feel like a lot more than 2.5 miles. Seriously though, I couldn't complain one bit, because Jen (Amazon woman) was climbing with a bum knee that she just had surgery on a few months ago! She put us all to shame. Eventually, with some, but not a lot, dragging by the kids, we made it to the top. And saw. . . clouds.

Yes, that is a large amount of cow poopoo directly in front of us. Thankfully, no one actually stepped in it. They just poked it with sticks. Kids.

It wasn't quite the amazing view we were hoping for, but still beautiful in a fuzzy, ethereal way. We had lunch in the middle of a cloud, and somehow the kids still had enough energy to run all over the top of the hill.

On our way back down (ahhh downhill is so much easier than uphill) we ran into soooo many goats. Goats which were apparently defending their honor and proving how very willing and able they were to mate. Another great opportunity for a biology lesson!

It was really kind of amazing and you just wonder how they don't gauge each other's eyeballs out with those horns. Maybe they do. Here everybody watching the goats. It was pretty mesmerizing. Notice how Trey has a nice, solid grip on Spike.

In the end, we made it up and down Pu'u Wa'awa'a all in one piece. It was great! We saw so much wild life and the kids got to explore to their heart's content. For the record, however, Trey mapped it on the way down and the round trip total was over 7.2 miles. Not too shabby! Another adventure crossed off our bucket list.

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