Thursday, March 22, 2012

Aloha to Devastation Trail and Hilina Pali

Kiliaua Iki's eruption in 1959 created the Devastation Trail, which now serves as a living classroom.

The eruption covered the surrounding area with lava and ash.  50 years later, life returns.

Looking north, Mauna Loa (Long Mountain) looms in the distance.

The ohelo berries return to sustain the nene (Hawaiian goose).

Martha Beckwith writes in HAWAIIAN MYTHOLOGY, 

Kaohelo instructs her son Kiha to bury her, when she dies, 'on the navel of your grandmother at Kilauea.' Out of her flesh springs the creeping 'ohelo, out of her bones the 'ohelo bush; other parts of her body are thrown to Maui, O'ahu, Kaua'i, and become 'ohelo bushes on those islands.

Here's historical trivia related to Byron Ledge.  In 1824,

- George Gordon, Baron Byron, died on April 19 in Greece.   His title passed to his cousin, Captain George Anson, Royal Navy.

- While visiting London, Queen Kamamalu died on July 8 and King Kamehameha II on July 14, both succumbing to measles.    Captain Anson, the new Baron Byron, accompanies the bodies back to Hawaii.  From the US Gen Web Project (at this link),

This Lord Byron, a cousin of the poet, visited Hilo and the volcano at Kilauea, where "Byron's Ledge" lies below the Volcano House Hotel.  In 1825 Byron and his men were the first to study the region scientifically. He held instructions to be friendly with the Hawaiian Chiefs but not to interfere with their independence. However, at a meeting of chiefs on June 6. Lord Byron offered instructions, one of which -- trial by jury -- was adopted. 

- Also in 1824,  Kapiolani was a high ranking member of the ali'i who converted to Christianity.   She ate the ohele berries on Byron Ledge without offering them to first to Pele.  Kapiolani encountered a priestess who tried to place a curse on her.   From Sacred Text (at this link),

Then Kapiolani took her spelling-book, and a little book of a few printed hymns, and said: "You have pretended to deliver a message from your god, but we have not understood it. Now I will read you a message which you can understand, for I, too, have a letter." Then she read clearly the Biblical sentences printed in the spelling-book and some of the hymns. The priestess was silenced. 

Unfortunately, Byron's Ledge is closed in part due to the methane gas from the Halema'uma'u Crater.  We walked back to the parking lot and I observed my children walking their own path through life.

We climbed in the Jeep and drove down to the Hilina Pali.  

The road winds through a desert to reveal a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean.

The road ends at the parking lot with several trail heads.  Trails are marked by stone cairns like the one above.

My children played around the rocky area while some hikers came up the trail.  They slept overnight on the beach!

Looking west towards the current lava flow, we see more stone cairns and crashing waves!

Driving back, we passed by the signs reminding visitors that the landscape is fragile and vulnerable.

Despite its fragility, the landscape is still striking.

Even nene find life in lava fields.   Have you visited a desert?  One randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs will win a book choice from my convention stash.  This giveaway is open to all readers.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 24, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 25.


Kim in Hawaii

The footprint trail takes hikers to fossilized footprints from Kilauea's 1790 eruption. A rival chief, Keōua, attempted to challenge Kamehameha in conquering the entire island.  Yet Keōua's forces were caught in Kilauea's eruption, killing one third of his warriors.   The National Park Service provides an excellent summary of how the footprints were discovered at this link.

March Madness continues here at SOS Aloha! All commenters in March will be entered into a special drawing for prizes from RT in Chicago. 3 US, 3 Canadian, and 3 international readers will win a package with books and goodies. Comments can be made at:

- SOS Aloha,
- Aloha On My Mind,
- My guest posts at the Reading Reviewer (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) at

I'll post the winners of March Madness on Monday, April 2.



  1. Simply gorgeous! No I have never been to a desert. I have been to a beach finally! And waded in the Ocean! My boys absolutely love it there.

    Raonaid at gmail dot com

  2. We drove past some desert areas in Arizona.

  3. Oh yeah, I've visited a Desert...and decided to live there. lol I live in las Vegas for some reason of which even I can't understand. I've also been to Death Valley in the winter because I was not going to chance my car breaking down out there in the middle of the summer. No way.

  4. We've been to desert areas of Arizona and Nevada. It's lovely, but I don't think I'd want to live there.

  5. I too have visited when in Arizona. It definitely has it's own charm.


  6. I've never visited a desert. As always, I enjoy seeing all your great photos!

  7. We'be been to a number of places in Arizona and New Mexico that have been very desert like, so if we haven't actually been to the desert, we've been darn close!

  8. I have been to the desert in Arizona. It is so amazing how nature finds a way to return.

  9. I've visited a desert before.

  10. I have never been to a desert. Not sure if I would like too! I don't think I could handle the heat! I'm from the Oregon coast. There is only two temps here cold with rain or cold with wind! LOL

  11. desert definitely has its own charm and one day i will visit a desert:)aretha zhen

  12. I live in the high desert of Southern has its own beauty but I am glad that different landscape is available less than 2 hours away!

  13. love to see that footprint , and knows it that old