Outdoor Recreation: Desert Week
Started off with a morning stretch at Big Island Farms after our morning meal going over what we were up to on the weekend; camping, kayaking, snorkeling, beaches, and homework.
Much of the day was spent learning different elements of outdoor recreation; ecotourism, community development, meal planning, and then a lesson on exponential times by farmer Jon. The sky was clear with three Hawaiian hawks squealing above, only a few clouds could be seen floating by.
Honokaa’s cultural center’s Kumu (teacher), Lanakila helped teach us the oli (chant), Hoómana (Wisdom,well-being). We then started constructing an area for peddle bikes to be managed for our community to use. Before another sunny day’s end we planned for our excursion to the desert biome located on the other side of the Kohala mountains.
After a smoothie breakfast we scattered about packing up for the next few days; sunscreen, bathing suite, camping gear, food, headlamps, and and a thin long shirt and pants for the sun exposure. First stop was a drastic change of weather from the farm. Sun was hot but the ocean was perfect. We explored an old loading dock turned beach jumping off of the pile-ons.
Just before Spencer’s beach campground we were able to practice our oli. We stopped at King Kamehameha’s last mission before uniting the islands. He lined up a line of his people across twenty miles to bring smooth river rocks constructing a temple to honor one of Hawaiian’s great god, Ku. Kukaílimoku represents war and prosperity and we honored him leis.
We had some down time at the beach choosing to swim, snorkel, play games, or try to work out our screen addiction. At midnight we woke up to a headlamp hike over to see some speckles of bioluminescence one of the smoothest white sand beach any of us felt.
Many woke up quite tired and slow from a late night, but got breakfast going and prepared for a volunteer day in the dessert. Waikalo Dry Forest Reserve is a sanctuary for many of the endangered plants in the desert giving us a glimpse of a time before the invasive fountain grass took over. we collected seeds and scattered it over the aá rocks in hopes of bringing back the Aáli’l (Dodonaea viscosa), a member of the Soapberry family.
Friday was spent a lot like our Monday. We learned about tips on how to malama aina (environmental stewardship), ecology, and population dynamics having a more macro view of our influence to this planet. The skies had more clouds this day and we helped clear out the famous cane grass around keikie (young) fruit trees planted a handful of moons ago.