Hawaii Volcanoes National Park: Explore Kahuku October – December

Everyone is invited to participate in the free guided hikes, “Coffee Talks” and ‘Ike Hana No‘eau Hawaiian cultural programs in the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, from October through December 2017. Visitors can also explore Kahuku on their own on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A visitor explores the Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. NPS Photo Janice Wei

The Kahuku Unit will be open for visitors on both Christmas Eve, Dec. 24 and New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, but no guided programs will be offered.

Enter the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park on the mauka (inland) side of Highway 11 near mile marker 70.5, and meet near the parking area. Sturdy footwear, water, raingear, sun protection and a snack are recommended for all hikes. Entrance and all programs are free.

Participate in ‘Ike Hana No‘eau (Experience the Skillful Work) Hawaiian cultural demonstrations at Kahuku on the third Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to noon, October 20, November 17, and December 15. Programs are free.

Get to know your park and your neighbors and join an informal “Coffee Talk” conversation on a wide variety of topics at Kahuku the last Friday of most months (there is no Coffee Talk in November). Ka‘ū coffee, tea and pastries will be available for purchase. Coffee Talks are offered free on October 27 and December 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Pu‘u o Lokuana is a short 0.4-mile hike to the top of the grassy cinder cone, Pu‘u o Lokuana. Learn about the formation and various uses of this hill over time and enjoy a breathtaking view of lower Ka‘ū. This hike is offered October 1 & 28 and November 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Palm Trail is a moderately difficult 2.6-mile loop traversing scenic pastures along an ancient cinder cone, with some of the best panoramic views Kahuku has to offer. Highlights include relics of the ranching era, sections of remnant native forest and amazing volcanic features from the 1868 eruptive fissures. A guided hike of Palm Trail is offered October 7 & 22, November 26, and December 3 & 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

‘Ōhi‘a Lehua. Learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, the many forms of the ‘ōhi‘a tree, and the new disease of Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Visitors will be able to identify the many differences of the most prominent native tree in Kahuku on this program, which is an easy, one-mile (or less) walk. The ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua program is offered October 8, November 12, and December 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Kahuku ‘Ohana Day. Families are invited for a day of fun, culture and discovery at the Kahuku Unit. Learn about the hidden powers that plants have to keep us healthy through the teachings of Aunty Ka‘ohu Monfort, a practitioner of lā‘au lapa‘au (Hawaiian herbal medicine). Collect seeds from native plants and help park rangers bring new life to Kahuku. Kids 17 and under and their families must sign up by October 13 by calling 808-985-6019. Bring water, lunch and snacks, sunscreen, hat, long pants, shoes and reusable water bottle. Kahuku ‘Ohana Day is Saturday, October 21 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Birth of Kahuku. Explore the rich geologic history of Kahuku. Traverse the vast 1868 lava flow, see different volcano features and formations, and identify many parts of the Southwest Rift Zone of Mauna Loa. Learn about the Hawaiian hotspot and the creation of Kahuku. This guided easy-to-moderate hike is offered October 14, November 4, and December 9 & 30 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

People and Land of Kahuku is a moderate two-mile, three-hour guided hike that loops through varied landscapes to explore the human history of Kahuku. Emerging native forests, pastures, lava fields, and other sites hold clues about ways people have lived and worked on the vast Kahuku lands – from the earliest Hawaiians, through generations of ranching families, to the current staff and volunteers of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Learn about the powerful natural forces at work here and how people have adapted to, shaped, and restored this land. The guided hike is offered October 15, November 19 and December 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Nature & Culture: An Unseverable Relationship (He Pilina Wehena ‘Ole). Hike the Palm Trail and be inspired by a place where hulihia (catastrophic change) and kulia (restoration) can be observed as the land transitions from the 1868 lava flow and its pioneer plants, to deeper soil with more diverse and older flora. Learn about native plants and their significance in Hawaiian culture. This moderate hike is about two miles and takes two hours. The Nature & Culture program is offered October 21 and November 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Realms and Divisions of Kahuku. Experience the sense of place that evolves at the intersection of nature and culture on this moderately difficult two-mile, two-hour guided hike on the Kahuku Unit’s newest trail, Pu‘u Kahuku. Explore the realms and divisions of the traditional Hawaiian classification system at Kahuku. Bring a snack for the “talk story” segment of this hike. Offered October 29, November 11, and December 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Hi‘iaka & Pele. Discover two fascinating Hawaiian goddesses, sisters Pelehonuamea (Pele) and Hi‘iaka, and the natural phenomena they represent. Visitors will experience the sisters coming alive through the epic stories depicted in the natural landscape of Kahuku on this easy 1.7-mile walk on the main road in Kahuku. The Hi‘iaka and Pele program is offered November 18 and December 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Keep up with Kahuku events and visit the calendar on the park website, https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/kahuku-hikes.htm, and download the Kahuku Site Bulletin https://www.nps.gov/havo/planyourvisit/upload/2013_11_05-Kahuku-Site-Bulletin.pdf.

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