Honoka’a (Kalopa), HI to Honoka’a, HI

6.0 mi / 12.7 mph / 164 ft. climbing
Home: Mai’s AirBNB

It rained long enough yesterday that the gathered momentum kept the precipitation falling all night long. But with our tent sheltered under our private pavilion, we stayed dry. And when we woke up, the sky was dry too, and parts of it were even blue. With no guarantee that it would last, we put on our rain pants and jackets, and took off for a pre-breakfast walk in the 61℉ morning.

That rain gear was necessary, because a drizzle returned well before we completed the mile-long “nature walk” at Kalopa State Park. It likely contributed to the walk being less-exciting than it otherwise might have been, especially because we couldn’t consult the trail guide explaining what all the numbered posts might be telling us about this relatively-native section of forest.

The ferns and Rett’s hood tell you that this is a wet environment, even if you can’t actually see the drops.
The big trees here are pretty unkempt, unlike the austere kauris of New Zealand.
The dark cloud’s magenta lining.
This one wasn’t part of the “nature walk”, it was near the almost military-like “cabins” that are also in the campground.

A father and his two young sons were camping way over in Pavilion #3, but no one ever turned up to Pavilion #2 (even though it was booked…guess I can’t blame them!) We cooked up breakfast back under our personal pavilion; last night for dinner we had shifted over to the covered communal area since it had picnic tables, but with our low Helinox chairs I find it pretty easy to cook on our stove when it’s just sitting on the ground. When we packed everything up though, we did move the loaded bikes over to the communal area so that we could do another hike that might take us past “check out” time.

For this one we skipped the rain gear and instead returned to our still-damp clothes we had been wearing while riding through yesterday’s rain. But rain held off for the 3-mile gulch loop that we walked, so the motion actually helped get our clothes mostly-dry before we returned to the bikes.

Much of this section could have been a US Pacific Northwest (or New Zealand!) forest.
I think this area of the park had a lot more non-native species than the smaller “Nature Walk” area, though as we also saw in New Zealand with the Coast Redwoods, bringing non-native trees to wet temperate locations can make them pretty awesome.
A forest like this isn’t the typical image that comes to mind when they hear “Hawaii”, but it’s cool to see that this is Hawaii too.
At the far end of the loop we saw a lot of these amazing “witch trees” (our name, I still don’t know the species). At first you’d think it’s just a tree with some sort of infection or decay, but with so many that looked like this, I think it’s just their natural appearance.

We returned to our unmolested bikes, pedaled a few strokes to get out of the campground driveway, and then let gravity take hold and suck us down at high speed back toward the coast. The town of Honoka’a is historic-cute, though none of the restaurants at the shop-filled center were open, so we had to backtrack a couple blocks to the Honoka’a Public House for lunch.

Rolling back down from the blue sky to the blue sea.
Honoka’a has an almost Old West feel to it.
The architect of this otherwise-basic building went above-and-beyond and introduced a subtle curve into its structure to match the subtle curve of the road. Closer inspection revealed it to be a bit of an illusion created by just a single bend-point at the center, but even that adds significant complexity and expense.

Over the last week or so Rett’s phone has started randomly declaring that it can’t read its SIM card; it’s likely a hardware problem, but I hadn’t been able to find time to inspect and come up with a solution for the intermittent-but-worsening problem. But while we were eating lunch, her provider (Google Fi) popped up a notification to “finish setting up your eSIM” or something like that. We’d used eSIMs for data in New Zealand, so I had already figured this would be the “solution”, but I assumed it would require talking to (and wrestling with) Google Fi to find a way to persuade them to provide an eSIM. But now it looked like it was happening automatically! Of course the process was still significantly more painful than “automatic” (requiring several attempts, and phone reboots), but it eventually took hold. Yay!

The downside though was that, like many “notifications” that our phones give us, it grabbed hold of our attention and yanked us away from what we would have preferred to have been doing, which was riding out-and-back to the Waipo Valley Lookout. Our return to Internet meant that we were also doing some planning for the next few days ahead, and by the time we were done with lunch, it was already feeling late in the day to do the 17-mile loop, especially since we’d be facing a pretty stiff headwind on the return to Honoka’a. We were able to secure an hour-early (3pm) check-in at our AirBNB, so we decided to just be lazy and call our day done after less than 6 downhill miles.

Our AirBNB was a multi-room house setup, with a shared kitchen and bathrooms, but still more expensive ($123) than most private places in New Zealand. But we had no conflicts in the bathroom or kitchen (where we baked a proper American frozen pizza: DiGiorno Croissant Crust!), and the old plantation-house setup was actually pretty cool.



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