Hawai’i – Saddle Road Part II

The first post about Saddle Road ended with this photo of the Pu’u Huluhulu Cinder Cone (not to be confused with the cone by the same name in Volcano National Park).


My second purposeful trip to Saddle Road — as opposed to driving it just to get from one place to another – was to specifically visit the cinder cone and walk the short trail at the protected site. 

I deliberately took a circuitous route so I could photograph other points and sights of interest (to me). For reference, here’s the route.


I drove along the coast on 19 to the bypass that took me past Waikoloa and onward to 190 where I headed toward Waimea instead of taking the shorter route to Saddle road. That took me into a portion of Saddle road that, while redone and resurfaced, maintains some of the hilly features of the original road as well as some of its one-lane bridges and twisty route. The numbers above reference the locations where I snapped the following photos. 

As usual, the photos can be found on the accompanying SmugMug Gallery HERE. Note that there are more photos on the gallery as some are close duplicates of each other. I could not be bothered to sort them (getting lazy in my old age). 

You might have noticed number on the map above. So, those are areas where I snapped photos. The numbers give you an indication of the approximate location so that, if ambitious, a reader might be moved to use Google’s street view and get a more dynamic experience than I provide here. 

First up, at location No. 1, something I’ve been meaning to photograph in the early morning when the sun really lights up these tufts of grass. 


This was not early morning. More like mid-morning, or even late morning, so please imagine the lava darker and the grass brighter, thus offering an amazing contrast.


Yes, that’s the Pacific in the background. As far as I can determine, we are looking at the 1859 lava flow from Mona Loa. You can see some areas where green vegetation has managed a foothold, but otherwise, it’s lots of grass. No verdant fields these, although they do go a bit green when they receive one of the infrequent dousings from a passing weather system. 

Here’s a view looking eastward, away from the ocean. 


I know what you want . . . you want to better see the grass. Well, here you go. 





Honest, all this looks a lot better shot in the early-morning light. Perhaps, one of these days I’ll do just that. Also, this area is fairly windy. The grass was whipping around pretty vigorously. 

Referencing the above map, after Waikoloa, at location No 2., I managed to capture a small herd of wild goats. 


Not a difficult feat that; them beasts be all over the place. The funny part is that as often as Melisa and I have been on the Big Island, we had never before noticed either the goats or the numerous signs warning of the danger they pose to motorists. 

Here’s a panorama of the entire herd. 


Yes, very windy here as well. Also, if you have a decent Internet connection, Click HERE for the full-size version (6MB)

Here’s another shot . . . not that it shows anything new, but why let captured pixels go to waste?


By the way, I’ve come across more Epic Music I quite like. For instance . . . 

Something for you to listen to in case you are actually reading this and not just skimming the photos.

Moving on to area No. 3, I now share a tree or shrub — not entirely sure how to classify it — that drew my attention. 



What’s so special about it?


Whatever was growing on it, or maybe it was a part of it, looked interesting. Here are a few closeups.





I would make up a clever name for the tree and its growth, but I’m saving my creative juices for the workshop this weekend. 

While I was out of the car and had my camera in hand, I also took this shot. 


I could say I liked the juxtaposition of the deadwood, the clump of grass that had made its home so as to have a vantage point over the surroundings, and the rusting metal fence signifying the temporary and decaying nature of man’s place in this world.  

I’d like to say that, but it really was more that I had the camera out and I said something like “Will you look at that! A clump of grass on a post holding up a wire fence!” . . . Click . . . 

A bit down the road we saw cows walking Indian File. American Indian File, I should say. 


I can’t say I’d ever seen this before. Perhaps it’s a Hawai’ian cows thing. 



I mentioned before that the old part of Saddle Road retains more of the original road. The new part has been leveled and straightened. This is a bit of what the old road looked like, except imagine it with potholes and broken pavement. 


Yes, that’s another panorama. Click HERE for the full version (7MB). 

I will try and get more shots of the road, especially showing the comparison of the old and new road. But, for now, we’ve arrived at location No. 4, the Pu’u Huluhulu Cinder Cone. 

I was remiss in not taking a photo of the whole cinder cone. Honest, I thought I had already snapped a number of them. I had taken photos that showed parts of it, but nothing showing the totality other than the first shot of this post. 

And, just because, here’s another piece of music I’ve come across and that has been added to my playlist. 

Anyway, I did take a panorama of some of the Koa trees near the top. The protected wildlife area is fenced off from the feral goats and boars and it has a decent forest of Koa trees. There’s supposed to be some rare birds in there as well, but I saw no birds during my visit. 

We’ve been shown trees that were identified as Koa that looked vastly different from each other. I’m going by the online inscription in identifying these as Koa trees. Blame the Internet if I am wrong. 


Again, click HERE for the full-size photo (8MB).

And, what do you know, once again I tried my hand at a vertical panorama.


Like a broken record, click HERE for the full-size photo (10MB).

Here are a few closeups from that tree. It has the same growth on the bark as that tree/shrub, so it must be some type of parasitic plant.



This next shot is from a tree sporting what did not look like Koa tree leaves . . . but it did have nice flowers. 


Its branches also had that fuzzy stuff on them. 


Someday, I’ll look into all this and be able to name stuff hither and fro. But not today. 

As I mentioned before, it’s a short hike, and soon we were at the top. Interesting geological features up there. 





As incredible as it may seem, I took another panorama . . . 


Click HERE for the original size photo. This one is a mite bigger — 18MB.

Here’s another piece of music I like . . . 

We got down the cone on the back of it. The cone itself is surrounded by lava. It’s essentially an island in a lava field. 



As we walked around the side of the cone and approaching the front, one can see a lava run that is now the equivalent of sand and rocks. 


The two trees at the top are the ones shown in the first panorama from this area. 

I should back up a bit and mentioned that the parking lot to this place also serves as a meeting place for hunters. Boar hunters, or as they answered when I asked what they were hunting, “pig” hunters. Anyway, one of the vehicles had broken down, and they were waiting for the repair truck. A young kid that was with them decided to tackle the slide. Indications are that’s a popular thing to do.





The incline is at or close to 45º . . . it looked like fun but someone nixed the idea of me trying it. Something about acting my age and there not being any close by medical facilities. Wives!

The kid was struggling, and had started back down, so I took the opportunity to capture interesting features in the lava field.





When I looked back, the kid was showing a determination I don’t often see in younger generations. 



At one point, he started making serious progress, and I figured out why . . . 


That’s right, he had ditched his slippers and was running up there barefoot. 



Note that while I don’t show it, the run gets steeper up near the top. 

Since I had the telephoto lens on the camera, I shot a few closeup while I waited for him to reach the top. 




By then, the kid had reached the top and was heading back down. Way to miss the finale, Disperser!

We got back to the car and went down the road about a quarter mile, back along the way we had come. There’s an area where tourists vans often stop to look at the lava field and I wanted to see what was special about it. 

By the BIG way . . . there is a restroom right next to the kiosk where hunters self-register. Well, not a restroom so much as an outhouse. For the love of all that is of value in this universe and any parallel universes that might be out there, do not, I repeat, do not approach and especially do not look in there. Bad. Bad things. The stuff of nightmares, I tell you, the sight of it will be. There is a rest area a few miles before you get to the cinder cone. Flushing toilets, sinks, paper towels, and clean. Go there. 

A final piece of music to carry you to the end . . . this is my favorite of the new finds. 

The road you see in these next shots will take you up to the monitoring stations on the side of Mauna Loa, also shown on the upper right of the first of the photos, not quite near the top.



The lava field skirts some other cinder cones, these barren except for some grass and a few rocks.


Now, I snapped a photo using the telephoto and noticed something . . . 


This lava has a shine and coloring that I don’t see on other lava (something else I will have to research). 




I am not happy with these photos because in person the coloring is more visible and it changes with the angle that you view it. The camera just did not pick it up enough . . . here, let me increase the saturation a bit so you can easily see what I’m talking about.


The coloring reminded me very much of what one might see when gasoline is spilled on asphalt or oil. Very interesting. 

. . . as was this . . . 


Obviously, half of the remains of a centaur, a young one, at that. A shame, really. I would not advise other large hoofed beings travel these treacherous fields of uneven and occasionally jagged solidified magma. 

Here, you can see a lone tree making a valiant effort to appear as if it belonged here.



But, the coloring of the lava is what kept drawing my attention. More so because there was a definite demarcation of it. Beyond a certain point, regular, colorless lava. 






. . . but some, sporting iridescent colors . . . 


Let me enhance that just a bit . . . 


The first shot is what the camera captured, but like I said, what the eye saw was closer to the second. 



All in all, we had a nice drive out here. There is something about seeing a field of lava stretching to the horizon. 


Yes, another panorama, this one with both the cinder cone (right frame) and Mauna Loa in it. Click HERE for the full-size version (11MB).

Oh, look . . . another lone tree. That’s two lone trees in one area. 


One final shot of something I thought I would not see much of out here. Like some of the landscape here, this too is reminiscent of Colorado and what we left behind. 


Notice the lower part of the fence is missing. That’s to let the goats, sheep, Nenes, and boar wander freely onto the road where they can be mercilessly moved down by inattentive drivers. Neat!

One final thing . . . I will be attending the convention Thursday through Sunday. I may or may not be willing and able to post something, so make do with what’s here already. Read one of my old stories or read some posts from prior years. It’ll be like discovering a forgotten treasure.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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