For this outing we drove north to keaau. On the journey we talked about Hawaiian native plants in the national park as we drove through, about the volcanic activity at Halema’uma’u and Pu’u O’o, the legend of Ohia and Lehua and a brief history of sugar in Hawaii, and its influence on the town of Keaau. We took a bathroom break in Keaau at Shipman’s park before heading to the trailhead.
On the hike we identified the autograph tree, the hau, banyons, and the group favorite, the strawberry guava. We talked about the old road we were walking on, the kings trail, evidence of old taro beds we saw, and an old world war two bunker that we found near the beach. When we arrived at Haena, we had the privilege to see a giant green sea turtle, beached for an afternoon in the sun; we talked about the predatory threats to the creature (mostly human). We also were able to dispel the myth that the endangered Nene can not fly as two passed overhead. We talked briefly over lunch about how it would feel to be told you had to leave your home, as in the case of when the lands of Keaau were sold to Shipman, or perhaps in the case of lava approaching your village.
After lunch we swam and explored the area where the fresh water springs merge with the ocean. On the hike back the group collected many guavas for the ohana. It was a great hike and a great outing all in all. The group really came together in the last stretch when a student expressed wanting to get back to make an awesome dinner for everyone. All were able to pick up the pace and check almost twenty minutes off our hike time on the way in.