I was once again returning to the Big Island of Hawaii. I had month’s earlier secured a round trip ticket to and from Alaska and had since quit my job- so I was broke… again. I gave away all my shit, cashed in my 401 k. and bought a sailboat on the Columbia River so I had other things to do and the timing was not the best, it never seems to be right? That’s usually the reason why people never walk out that door, simply because there is always something more pressing, what a shame. Besides it was non-refundable so if I didn’t use it I would have to eat the ticket. I was most likely going to lose my MVP status without having to fly to the Northslope for work anymore so what the fuck? Might as well rack up some more miles so I can fly to Cancun and try to get lost near the Mayan Temples next Autumn. Why not?
I already flew down to Seattle to buy a sailboat, so I dispatched out of there instead of Anchorage, with very little money and as usual a backpack full of camping gear that would keep me alive while on the Island Walkabout. I made a few contacts I had on island one being a beautiful blonde hippy gal I have known for years and always love to hook up with. She was down in Pahoa and told me she would be waiting naked until I got down there, so of course I got to stepping! I also had a friend bringing my Ukulele, her daughter carried it on the airplane for me since I had such a crazy adventure leading up to flying to Hawaii in searching for a boat in the Pacific Northwest.
So when you’re traveling on a shoestring budget (that is if you have a budget) that usually means a backpacking/camping adventure since you can’t afford to stay at hotels and even if you had the money- wouldn’t stay at one anyhow, that is unless your friends let you shower there when they have a room. I was thinking of returning to the remote and rugged Hamakua Coast where I have for the past two years been trying to link up the Lost Trail of Awini between Pololu and Waipio. Twice I was thwarted and spit out of the jungle broken and burnt so I wasn’t feeling that so much. Hilo is just to God damned wet and since the eruption last year there is nothing left in Pahoa to enjoy except maybe Uncle Roberts and that naked hippy gal hopefully touching herself in my absence. I also had to consider my time frame of 10 days and my lack of travel funds.
Packing the backpack in Alaska, I needed warm clothes for Seattle and all the camping gear I would need to go to Hawaii. It seems that I am constantly in between places. I have mail trying to catch me from Utah to Alaska and then back down to Washington General Delivery. I have to be careful as I am now on unemployment and Medicaid which require replies from letters that cannot be forwarded or I may lose my benefits. I always have a friend back in the “Wood” to check my mail for me and notify me if I have anything urgent that may need attention. The friends I had that were also going to the Big Island were working undercover for me as we were making plans to surprise some other Alaskan friends, we have there who had no idea I was on island. The couple I wanted to surprise had let me stay at their house after all that Cancer Bullshit and it was where I was able to convalesce and did a lot of writing. I am very grateful to have people like this in my life.
I had never even contemplated staying on Kona side before, I usually want to get away from it. It’s where most the big hotels are that I so loath and despise. I do remember though from the previous year, those stone ruins of Ancient Heiaus and how it stirred a desire to explore some of these places to learn more about the Hawaiian Culture of long ago. I knew there had to be a way I could take all this into account and have a great adventure, so I started doing research on this:
The Kahakai National Historic trail is 175-mile-long trail located on the Big Island of Hawaii. At the height of its existence, it once encircled the whole Island. Although today it is not yet a continuous trail but can be accessed at several broken segments along the coastline. The trail was established to access the traditional ancient Hawaiian culture along with natural geology on the island and was established in 2000, as a National Historic Trail which is managed under the National Park Service. Ala kaha kai means “Shoreline Trail”. The trail follows the coastline over ancient fisherman’s trails through over 200 ahupua”a, the traditional mountain land divisions. In ancient times travel would often cover both land and sea in canoes for portions of the journey it passes through both public and private lands providing access to numerous beaches and resorts, so that would prove interesting. After researching the trail, I found that there is a State Law that was passed that provides public access to all Hawaiian Trails built before Western Colonization. I have in the past had some interesting interactions with security at a four-star hotel while tramping around the island of Kauai some years prior. I was trying to find a secret beach I was told about by some locals where there was a small cabin built I could find shelter during storms. As I was cutting through a golf course one early morning as I like to do, a couple of security Moke’s on Segway’s started yelling and leaned their electric scooters towards me. Now I have been chased many times in my illustrious career as a vagabond. I have been chased by Cops, Asian Gangs, Black Kids and once by an angry mob of spikes and leather wearing homosexuals in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco. (I was never so scared in my life.) I must admit though I was at first alarmed when I seen those Segway’s burst with uncanny speed towards me but soon found it was all for naught. You see those little electric scooters needed to stay on the golf cart path’s or they would tear up the grass on that 4-star hotels nice golf course. I on the other hand had no such restrictions so I just dipped into the outskirts of the thick jungle. They were not happy that a guy with a huge backpack that could elude them so easily nor could they fathom why he seemingly jumped off a cliff and disappeared. Sorry, got off on another story….
Back to the Kahakai Trail. Much of the trail receives only limited maintenance and sections have been eroded or developed into roads. So, I knew it would be difficult to find but that’s half the fun, not knowing what to expect. Would there be “NO TRESPASSING” signs on barbwire fences with a beach full of pinkies or tweeker’s in beach pavilions hustling the tourist? Regardless, it was my intentions to get away from all of that. I wanted to go where people don’t like to go because it is such an undertaking just to get there. I wanted to go where the Local’s don’t even go anymore.
It was my intention to find and hike this trail down to Kona from the airport where I could gather provisions to keep me alive on the remainder of my journey. It’s probably only a seven-mile drive on the highway, and meanders more like 14 along the coast as I was about to find out.
When I got off the plane, I was so tired from lack of sleep because the newlyweds sitting next to me wouldn’t quit professing their Love for each other and sharing their everything w/ one another and constantly asking how the other was doing or how they were feeling or if they needed anything. I’m thinking to myself I bet I could get that plane door open and jump out before the stewardess could stop me, dive into the Ocean below and swim to shore. About made me vomit listening to this bullshit. Wait until the Honeymoon ends when they’re on the beach together and she sees for the first time when he is slyly checking out one of these dark scantily clad Wahini’s on the beach. Congratulations! You just married a Dog.
So, after we landed, I checked into one of my favorite hotels on island- that being in between two coconut trees I could hang my hammock, but the perfectly planted trees were too far apart. Not 100 yards away from the baggage claim though did I find some bushes I just let my backpack drop to the ground and wrapped up in my rain fly and fell asleep. I awoke sometime in the night and heard rustling next to my head so I put on my headlamp I never go to sleep without, lifted my backpack and found about 100 cockroaches in some kind of insectoid orgy. I was relieved it wasn’t huge Cane Spider coming to feast on me as I slept, so I just rolled over and went back to sleep. The following day I made it down to Wawaloli Beach Park where I would start my journey. It’s just a mile or two south of the airport. I’ve been to this park before on my previous escapades on the Big I and like the way the breakers hit the rocks here which make huge splashes. There is a lava shelf that fills in at high tide and creates a great Kiki Pond (Kids) and there is nice white sand here with a few trees and picnic tables, outdoor beach shower and restroom where I could load up on water. My backpack was probably about 40 to 45 pounds. It was a dry bag with shoulder straps on it, so not a true backpack in the sense of the internal frame. So, it just basically hung off my shoulders, something I didn’t mind when I was testing it out before I left but something I would come to later hate. I chose this pack in case I planned on doing any boat drop into some remote areas as I have done in the past. They do work well at keeping things dry when your swimming from the boat in huge waves. Nothing worse than getting to a remote beach, miles from nowhere and all your grinds are soaked with sea water. Made that mistake before- never again. I knew the trail meandered through the lava fields, but I couldn’t find exactly where due to all the industrial buildings around the airport. So, I just decided to make my way down the coast, and I would keep an eye out for anything that looked man made in the torn landscape.
This part of the big island is very inhospitable, not only is it the driest side of the island on the islands leeward side but there are ancient lava flows here that make traveling overland difficult. Every step is one misstep from a twisted ankle which would prove disastrous out there. It is also this reason why so many old Heiaus (Hawaiian Temples) and remnants of villages remain unlike the other side of the Island where they get a lot of rain, the jungle reclaiming the footsteps of the past
Do not fall here while gawking at the ocean waves, because if you do you will get shredded by this inhospitable landscape. Some of the lava flow you could tell cooled down very slowly (Pahoehoe) while other flows were very chaotic (A’a) by the features it has left behind. It’s a cheese grader for humans. There were no friendly beaches here either. The ocean crashed into the rocks as she has always done. An ancient battle between the Demi God Sisters- Pele’ and Namakaokahai.
In the mid-day heat I set up my hammock on an old Lanai which is like a porch if you will. The foundation stones of old structures were everywhere. I imagined how many others before me had been at this very spot many years before. They were born, lived and died all within this region. Their bones are the Earth now.
Here I contemplated on exactly what I was going to do with my 10 days here. I had been in contact with my friend from Alaska and asked her if our other friends from Girdwood were going to be on the Kona side anytime soon. She said that they were planning to be at Ho’o kena Beach some five days in the future. So, I thought it would be cool if I just surprised them and I sought to make my way there. It’s probably easier to catch the bus but I never liked the easy ways, that’s for pussies.
Within my backpack was my trustee hammock with enclosed mosquito netting, rain fly, fuel stove, water filter, small first aid kit, an assortment of dehydrated foods, a pair sandals and a ditty bag full of miscellaneous items, long underwear & hoodie (it gets chilly between two and five a.m. hanging in a hammock) I had found an old reed mat that some other tramp left behind so I retied it with beach sage and long grass which would serve me well for insulation. I also found a hideous Hawaiian Shirt, Keen open toe sandals and a Nike sun bill someone left on the beach the night before while watching the Sunset. Mama provides. I couldn’t wait to find unknown treasures and long forgotten beaches. There were many coves, points and bays to go in and out of and explore but most the day was just trying to get from point A to point B. I usually start early in the morning when it was still cool out so to stay out of the heat but sometimes, I would get a late start hiking in the heat so that meant I would be drinking more water which meant carrying more. Water was most of the weight I was carrying to begin with anyway which is seven pounds a gallon. All I know is I was going to try and make it to the old Kona airport beach and I just knew that was south. Keep da’ Mauna (Mountain) on your left and da’ Moana, kai (Ocean) on the right. On day 2, I made it to Pele’s well.
It is a lava tube that goes straight down for about 10 feet before curving 90 degrees toward the Ocean where the waves come and fill the tube and explode into the air. It’s an amazing blowhole hardly ever visited because of the difficult trek through the lava fields that is unless you are on a boat sight seeing tour. here I found a Kiawe tree which has these huge thorns. he missionaries introduced it to the islands to dissuade natives from running around naked and barefooted and has since become a huge problem as a invasive species like Guava and Eucalyptus. As I mentioned earlier my arms and legs were sunburnt unlike the rest of my body which was pasty off white from lack of Sun. So I put on the Hawaiian shirt to protect my shoulders/arms and tied it around my waist like Mary Anne so it would tan my mid section and that’s it. So there I am for all the boat tourist to gawk at and wonder how the hell I got there. After a gorgeous Sunset which required meditation with the crashing waves, that evening the stars came out as I was preparing for the next day’s hike. What a brilliant night sky. Mesmerising.
I headed out early the next morning to stay out of the heat and found some remote surfing spots along Ooma Beach. The local surfing community accessed it by a gnarly 4×4 trail I tried to drive a van rental to last year. They set up all kinds of pop top canopy’s and were enjoying themselves on the waves. I seen some gorgeous young Wahini Mermaid’s out there, and loved the way they looked while paddling out into the waves. Right before a wave crashes on them they push the board down into the water which thrust their gorgeous sun kissed asses up and out for a moment displaying their brightly colored thongs covering their most sacred of places, so not unlike the fleeting moment of the “Green Flash” they would dip beneath the waves and escape it’s wrath. Fucking Gorgeous. Women just seem natural out there on the waves and you see a lot more of them out there than days past. I guess that could be said for a lot of things such as snowboarding and big wall rock climbing. It’s simple physics really as women have light upper bodies and strong lower as to power through and not to mention they are more cautious than their male counterparts. I encourage this type of behavior.
I bumped into a guy there and made some small chat on how far the old airport was while smoking a little weed with him. His hair was sun-bleached blond his beard was long, and clothes look tattered as if he had been out here a while. I knew the look as I once sported it myself years before on a much older island known as the Green Emerald.
He told me if I just kept on going south that would find a foot trail that would pop out at the end of the road where a private community club was and you couldn’t go any further except for on the old trail. I pressed for more info on the “Old trail”, but he had none, so I thanked him and walked into the Private Property I so loathed. Low and behold! Could this be the ancient trail that I was initially looking for? Here it was for the tourist all nicely displayed and not rugged and remote as I desired, WTF?! I followed it for quite some time throughout different types of terrain. until I finally came to the only place I was able to find fresh water which was alongside some outdoor showers for the KOHANAI Private Club Community. They don’t like riffraff like me popping out of the jungle scaring tourist and even though I needed a shower I didn’t want anybody to see that I was there so I drank as much as I could and just filled my water bottles, then I left no one the wiser I was there at all.
They had a historical living park there with some old Hawaiian huts in a garden that were impressive and a display on how the ancient mariners navigated by the Sun and Stars. It is amazing how they mastered the waves and seemingly were much more in tune with the Earth than people find themselves now. I’m always thinking about shit like that. The plight of Man and all. It was these ancient Mariner’s that brought plants like Taro and Coconut to the islands we all identify with Hawaii but was in fact a introduced species like a lot of what we perceive as indigenous.
As I was walking up, I could see that there are high-end homes and multi-level condos in a sprawling golf course alongside which they had planted ornamental bushes to keep rich folk from seeing people that were on the trail to the beach. I can’t tell you how I hate these fucking places. They are huge and out of place here and I have pleaded with my friends who visit the islands to stay away from these facades of Hawaiian Culture and to try going to the real towns with real locals instead. Falls on mostly deaf ears as Ignorance is Bliss. Tourist go to Hawaii and just want to drink Mai Tai’s, forget about their lives back home and lay on the beach all day doing much of nothing. They don’t want to have to go anywhere when it’s all provided for them there at the all inclusive four star resort. Nothing could be further from the truth in what people perceive as true Hawaii and what is. The rich folk live in their little safe communities away from those lowly dark people pushed into even darker remote corners of what was once their own. Discouraged and kept away from all the perfect spots that were once reserved for Royalty now can be had for anybody with cold hard cash.
I was picking up the pace and making myself disappear off the paved paths even though my ankles were sore, the backpack was now pulling me to the ground like a python. After I passed through the main complex of this fake ass private community, I found the most perfect beach that not too many people knew was not natural at all. Little known fact is that the resorts spend millions of dollars to dredge up white sand and put on the beaches for those dumb ass tourist from ho dunk USA to sunbath on.
They had obviously destroyed sacred places to build this Disney-like bullshit. Here were petroglyphs ripped from the lava amongst ruins of where people lived and died now displayed like a museum. Not a “living” museum but a “dead” one. I guess that’s exactly what it was. Yes, there were some interesting signs that told you of how it once was and some of the mitigation measures, they do now in order to preserve these spots but I felt somehow disgusted by it all as well. People get to go to pig roast luau’s where locals have sold there traditions for tourist just like the Alaskan Natives have done up North where they dance in full regalia for the tourist getting off the cruise ships. Maybe I just overthink stupid shit and why should I care about a different culture anyhow right? Yeah, that’s the problem with people, they just don’t give a fuck about each other only their little world and they’re place in it. It’s funny to how these people must have an audience. They are looking around to see who is watching them. It’s all a display for each other and they’re Ego’s.
FUCK HIGH END RESORTS BUILT ON SACRED LAND!!
After escaping those fat ass bright red scabs on the beach slathering themselves over and over with toxic chemicals that kill the coral reef, they all proclaim to love. The corals in Hawaii are mostly dead, that’s what makes White Sand beaches. Most don’t even realize the bleached coral beds that are still attached are dead without color, vibrancy or life, but they are happy to snorkel about with their Go-Pro’s and film countless hours of a few fish within a lifeless sea. The fish populations have damn near collapsed so in order to encourage more fish to stay around the islands for the sport fishermen, the fisheries have put out huge mooring balls that are not for mooring but introduced chains that go to the Ocean floor and has replaced the coral reefs that are dying. This provides shelter for many fish that are damn near extinction. For enough money you can fish for one of these beautiful species on the dawn of extermination to hang on your wall back in Ho Dunk USA.
I came along the section of the trail that was apparent there was ancient work to lay the stones. No one today could build such a thing- economically feasible, that is. Most these sections of the path were created by a King’s Declaration and committed too, by slaves and criminals. That is the only way something of this magnitude could have been built at all. I cant help but think of their plight building a flat surface in such topography they must have worked for years day in and day out.
That day I was hiking at a pretty good clip, and the day was getting hot, I found myself with no shade from trees out in the heat. I could feel that my shaved head was starting to burn since the Nike bill only provided shade for my beak and not my skull. Great, now I look like a Fushia Friar Tuck.
I bought some sunblock when I flew out of Seattle which it is not known for. Not only was it a low sun protection rating (30) but it was in a solid form like a stick of deodorant. I had put some on the morning I departed the airport in a rush. Now I could see that I had what appeared to be sunburnt tiger stripes all over my chest where I haphazardly applied the sunblock and the middle of my back where I could not reach felt like parchment. The backpack was digging into my neck and felt as if it was going to cut off circulation to my arms. Up and down- In and out of the coastline I trudged on through the many tidepools of wonder and grasping talons of lava. I could see the thermal illusions rising in the distance and knew I had to get shelter soon.
My lips were cracked, and I was parched having drank most my water during this leg of my journey, the Sea constantly reminding me of my thirst. I was taking mental notes on what I was going to abandon out of my pack when I got to Kona. Did I really need spare batteries for my headlamp, change for the bus, auxiliary battery charger for my phone since I take so many pictures, foot powder, toothpaste & toothbrush, 2 pots rather than one and not to mention I have my shitty cross trainer shoes and a pair of flip flops along with the open toed shoes I adopted. Three fucking pairs of shoes, really? My Possessions have Possessed me. It angers me on how much plastic I carry in the form of containers and food packaging. When your living out of a backpack one realizes how much garbage you produce on a daily basis because its on your back not disposed of so easily in a trash can and forgotten.
When the lava flows finally gave way to grasslands, I knew I had reached the boundaries of Kaioko-Honokohua National Historic Park. This is a wonderful example of ancient ingenuity. Here the ancients-built amazing walls into the bay that caught fish when the tide would come in. It had several huge holding tanks and it was a source of fresh water. It is just amazing how they built square walls with round rocks. All I wanted to do was go into the fresh water lake and drink but it was KAPU (Sacred). I was able to find a waterhole away from the brackish fishpond to use my trusty water filter and get out all the bugs but believe when I say I would have swallowed it without the filter if I had to, I think algae is good for you and small bugs provide much needed protein.
So, it’s day three I believe when I came to a lovely crescent shaped bay and inviting sand beach. I let the backpack fall from my weary shoulders and made my way to the Ocean discarding my sweat encrusted clothes along the way. This was the first spot I had seen where I could enter the water safely. I waded out into her embrace and let the waves take me, it felt Divine. Then I see this local guy making his way to me and he don’t look happy, so I make it back to my shorts. As I’m dressing, he comes up to me and says:
“Ho! You can’t be naked out here! Dis’ is a National Park Brah! Oh, da’ ladies up der, you see, they want to call da’ cops on you now.” Ho!!
I plead I meant no disrespect and just wanted to clean the trail from my body on my trek. He then asks where I came from and I told him. He looked at me hard…
You come ova da’ lava? Why you no drive?……
“Well, I um……..” was all I could come up with.
“Oi’ Do I go to Yosemite or Yellowstone and get naked?” he ask.
“I dunno? I stammered.
“No!! I don’t go down to da’ Redwoods and get naked! So, don’t come ova’ here and get naked!! People gonna think I don’t do my job now.”
He softened up a bit after I ensured him, I meant no disrespect to the ladies, the Hawaiian People or the Mother Goddess Pele and have nothing but great respect for the islands and all its inhabitants. Then he told me I could get water at the Honokohau Boat Marina and if I kept going south, I would make it to the Old Airport Beach and assured me there would be many places there I could get naked.
I let you go wit da’ warning brah but those ladies gonna fry you Cuz, c’mon let’s go.”
Then I was escorted from the premises of KOHANAIKI Beach Park where I then discovered I was not at a remote beach as I thought but a tourist destination for all those old bluehairs that just stared at me with disgust as I walked by hiding my face from those ladies who were giving me da’ Stink-Eye hard. The funny part was as I was walking to the marina I look back to the beach and there is a gorgeous woman lying naked on the beach which no one seems all to concerned.
Double Standards Hot Chicks Never Have to Worry About!
Now I refilled my water bottles at the marina watching all the tourist cram onto some sight seeing boats that only rich white guys seemed to own. Not one local Hawaiian had a tourist operation at the trendy marina with all it’s quaint little shops and bars. I am seeing a trend here.
This next section of coastline was north of where the old airport runway used to be so I knew I was getting closer to Kona. This part of the hike made the first section look like child’s play as the lava ungulate over and over making traveling very difficult. It was very hot that day as well but nowhere was there any kind of shelter, I had to press on through the mid day Sun. The beach sage tangled my feet and my ankles were sore I felt as if I had just walked through the Gobi desert. When I seen a park bench and a outdoor shower I damn near cried aloud as I knew I has made it to the park on the outskirts of Kona. I ran up to the shower pushing kids and old people aside so I could drink directly out of the shower head. Locals stared at me like I was an apparition of long dead Elders. I just stood there gulping down water until I could drink no more then lay in the shade of a palm tree, take off my shoes to let my feet breathe and think about my next move.
First on that list was to charge my cell phone/Spare battery as they went dead from taking so many pictures. I found a electrical outlet at a softball diamond so I hooked my phone up and sat at a picnic table while it was charging. I noticed a person sleeping in the dugout and some weird lady pacing back and forth along the runway as she made her way towards me. She yelled:
“I’m going to sit at this table and don’t give a fuck what you think!”
I replied “Go ahead” unplugged my phone and started walking into town. I could see all the street people that lived on the outskirts in their little shanty tarp homes. It’s sad really how some people live over there. I am used to seeing all kinds of people living in the streets but when I see whole families out there I can’t help but wonder how they ended up in such dire straights. Some people have kids living like that with them. I see the parents get the kids ready for school from a tent and eat breakfast on a park bench, a stark contrast to those rich white folk in their Private Communities. Sad.
People who visit the islands don’t think about how difficult it is to make ends meet over there for the locals. Minimum wage is all the high end resorts pay and many find that they need more than one job just to make ends meet. I guess living in Paradise comes at a high cost even for those who were born there.
I picked up some things from the store I would need to make it down to Ho’ Okena which was another 20 miles south of Kona. I walked down the Ali’i Drive (Road of Kings) I found a public beach where I could plug in my phone and make a few contacts. One being a organic marijuana grower that grows the best bud I have ever smoked. His two main varieties were Strawberry Cough and Lemon Chem Cookies which is a hybrid of Lemon Haze, Chem Dog and Girl Scout Cookies. Mmmmmm good. As I was waiting for my phone to charge I noticed this strikingly gorgeous woman. She was standing there in her G string taking some selfies along the beach then looking about like she was lost so of course I just acted like a “local”. I introduced myself and became her photographer for the day. She was so beautiful. Most likely of some Slavic decent, brown long hair, pouty lips and bright blue eyes with a body that was mesmerizing. We watched the Sun set and then said our goodbyes. I would have given anything to just be with her a little longer but she had a plane to catch that night
I hiked up into the high country the following day and made it to where my buddy worked to get a ride further south from him. He could not believe that I had walked that far and just thought it was cool I was doing it at all and was more than happy to part with some of his awesome flowers. I prepared to make my way down to the Ocean and surprise my friends, as I was walking down the long and winding road a small pickup full of locals picking Noni truck pulls over to give me a ride and I smoked them out.
I finally make it to my destination and wait to surprise my friends who have no idea I’m even on the island. As they were unloading their van with camping stuff I approached them with a map hiding my face and with my best pigeon ask if they knew the way to Girdwood! They were all dumbfounded. How the hell did you get here they asked? Our other friends showed up as well and we spent a few days together checking out the south side of the island together,Why would I spend 7 out of 10 days hiking in the blistering heat over lava, when I could have simply stayed on the beach you ask? Because there may be a day where I am too old and broke down to do stuff like this anymore and I am filling up my memory bank so I can remanence about my times as a wayward vagabond.
Besides I like getting lost and have to make my way to that wahini in Pahoa