Pu'u Hinai
Pu'u Mau
Pu'u Kolekole
Muheenui
Poopoomino
Kuili
Pu'u Oo

Sat, Jan 11, 2020

With: Eric Smith
Ingrid Dockersmith

Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

Continued...

We returned to the west side of Hawaii for the second day in a row in order to escape the nearly continuous rain that was pummeling the Hilo side of the island where we were staying. We found overcast but dry conditions, excellent for hiking and giving our boots a chance to dry out. All of the day's summits were short excursions, the longest taking but an hour. Still, with seven summits in total, we kept ourselves busy for much of the day.

Pu'u Hinai

This cinder cone is located near the town of Waikoloa, south of Waikoloa Rd. An unsigned gate was locked at the pavement, so we walked the dirt road south from there, about a mile to Pu'u Hinai. A spur road leads to the west side of the cone where a quarry is found, currently dormant. We walked by some heavy equipment to climb from the northwest side, up an old track no longer used. The summit featured an HTS survey monument from the 1930's, one of many that were erected on the islands at that time. Decent views from the summit.

Pu'u Mau

The next four summits are all found in or around a pair of golf courses that were built in Mauna Loa's lava fields on the south side of Hwy19. Paved Kaupulehu Rd runs south from the highway to the Nanea Golf Club, the more isolated of the two courses. Pu'u Mau is found well outside the golf course on the south side of the access road. We parked off the pavement and hiked through moderately high grasses to reach the base of the cinder cone. The lava fields are have numerous lava tubes, some of which are very deep and a little unsettling when you realize they are partially hidden by the grass. Ingrid was particularly nervous about this area and gave the open lava tubes a wide berth. The slopes of the cone itself had less grass and were easier to navigate. It took about 20min each way.

Pu'u Kolekole

This lava cone is found on the edge of the Nanea Golf Course. A rough utility road branches off the paved access road to follow power lines heading east. We parked when we were northwest of the summit at its closest point. Unable to find a place to park off the road, we managed to turn the vehicle around and left it in the middle of the road, figuring the odds of someone coming by in the next 30min were extremely low. The summit overlooks the tees for the 9th hole and amusingly has a small green patch of artificial turf at the very summit for those looking for an extra challenge. A gravel cart path winds its way to the top from the usual tees located below. A party of golfers were teeing off below when we reached the summit and they seemed about as amused to see us as we were to see them.

Muheenui

This summit lies within the second of the two golf courses, the exclusive members-only Kuki'o Golf Course designed by Tom Fazio. So exclusive, you don't need a tee time, just an expensive membership. A decent gravel/dirt service road run along the eastern edge of the course just outside the property boundary. It can be accessed from several points along paved Kaupulehu Rd that we'd used for the previous two summits. A maintenance road runs along the south side of the course that can be used to get closer to Muheenui. We parked outside the course property and then walked the maintenance road on the south side. Ingrid got nervous about this part of the adventure and decided to wait for us back in the jeep. Not a bad idea since we might need someone to bail us out of jail. A very long fairway lies between the maintenance road and our summit. We first tried to go around the east side of this fairway but found a deep, rough crater in our way unless we chose to walk on the edge of the fairway. The latter seemed too open to observation. Instead we walked to the southwest corner of the course and around the left side of the fairway where the green is located. Once inside a gate (latched, but not locked), we were able to follow the SW Ridge up to the summit. We could easily have been spotted on the grassy ridgeline, but nobody would have been able to keep us from the summit at that point. We walked up to the highpoint where we found a few golf caps left on a pile of lava rocks, perhaps as a memorial to lost friends. We snapped a few pics and returned the same way, nicely finding we didn't cross paths with any of the few golf parties on the course nor the course marshall (if they even have one - I suspect the course is so exclusive that they don't even bother to police it). Ingrid was glad to see us return, saving her the trouble of explaining to her husband why she needed money to bail out her brother and his friend.

Poopoomino

This was the easiest summit of the day, found on the eastern edge of the same course as the previous peak. The summit is just outside the property boundary and easily reached in a few minutes from the service road to the east. It's really just a small rounded mound of bare red earth overlooking the undeveloped lava fields on one side and the golf course on the other.

Kuili

This moderately-sized cinder cone is located in Kona Coast State Park. Popular trails lead to the summit from the south and northwest. Knowing nothing about these when we drove in, we simply parked off the pavement on the northeast side and went steeply up the grassy, somewhat loose slope to the top. Only upon reaching it did we note the easier ways. The concrete base of the HTS survey monument is all that remains, the pole with fins attached now missing. There is a nice view of the Kona coast to the west. We descended the trail to the northwest and walked a short distance back along the roadway.

Pu'u Oo

This small cinder cone is located across the highway from Kuili, inside the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery. The cemetary was closed, but we found a woman with the gate code entering while we were parked across the highway. Ingrid ran across the highway to talk with her, gaining her trust to allow us to enter as well. We drove to the parking lot and respectfully found our way to the east side of the cemetery where a trail leads one around the summit and eventually to the top. The hill has been irrigated and a huge assortment of native plants reintroduced. Ingrid knew the names of many of these and would point them out as we walked by. The summit has a modest view overlooking the park, built among the otherwise stark lava fields. We returned to the jeep and left before the other woman had finished with her visit.

Pu'u Kohala Heiau National Historic Site HP

We drove about 45min north along the coast highway, intending to visit a few more Pu'us before returning to Hilo. We had little success, finding those we were interested in on private property with no easy access. We then visited this historic site but found that it was closed. We noted that the highpoint of the park as described on the peakbagger site is found along the highway near the entrance. We visited this point to check off another box, then headed back to Hilo.

Continued...


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