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By Donnie MacGowan

The Men of Tour Guide--Everett Maynard and Frank Burgess: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The Men of Tour Guide--Everett Maynard and Frank Burgess: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

On Friday, in observance of the first day of Spring (or perhaps in simple surrender to an early bout of Spring Fever), the Men of Tour Guide decided to ditch the office and go do some field work in Kohala (he means they loaded up the Rav 4 and went on a Road Trip). You can read a site-by-site description of this road trip here.

Before the morning sun had even cleared Hualalai Volcano, we headed north on Highway 19, the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway. Waiting for the first blush of spring warmth of the day to arrive, we passed through Kailua Kona, drove by Kaloko Honokohau National Historic Park and past Kekahakai State Bach Park hoping to find some early morning light on Anaeho’omalu Bay, near the Hilton Waikoloa Resort.

Anaeho'omalu Bay from the south: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Anaeho'omalu Bay from the south: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Anaeho’omalu (or “A-Bay” as the locals call it) is a stunningly long, perfect crescent of coral sand and is an iconic Hawaii Sunset Photo site. Being there early in the morning, the beach was welcoming in its emptiness.

Anaeho'omalu Bay From The North: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Anaeho'omalu Bay From The North: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Heading back into the now bright morning sunlight, both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, topped with snow, were soaring up in to the spring air.  Although we wanted to capture some video and still photos of the snowy peaks, we pressed on to our next destination, Waialea Beach (or Beach 69, named after the number on the telephone pole at the parking lot).

Anaeho'omalu Bay From The North: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Waialea Beach From The South: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Everett on Waialea Beach, looking south: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Everett on Waialea Beach, looking south: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Waialea is a more interesting beach than Anaeho’omalu, with clearer water for snorkeling, fewer people and lots of rocks and cliffs to explore.

Leaving Waialea, we took some time to shoot the big, snow-covered volcanoes–our pictures do not do justice to the majesty and uniqueness of snow clad peaks on a tropical island.

Mauna Kea From Pu'u Kohola; note observatories on the summit,almost 14,000 feet above: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Mauna Kea From Pu'u Kohola; note observatories on the summit,almost 14,000 feet above: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Mauna Loa From Kohola: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Mauna Loa From Kohola: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Our next stop was at Hapuna Beach–widely regarded as the finest beach o the island of Hawaii.

Hapuna Beach from the south: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hapuna Beach from the south: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The beach is over a mile long and the water here is turquoise and very clear. Except at either end where there are rocks, however, the snorkeling is disappointing, as there are few fish (they don’t live over sand–nothing to eat).

Hapuna, Hawai'i's busiest and most popular beach: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Hapuna, Hawai'i's busiest and most popular beach: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

But for a restful day sunbathing, swimming and just enjoying the water, you cannot beat Hapuna…

Our next stop was at Pu’u Kohola, but we didn’t take any pictures–we just used the restrooms at the National Park. You can see a short video about the temples and the park here. From Pu’u Kohola we went to Lapakahi State Historic Park, the site of a 600 year old Hawaiian Fishing village…again, we didn’t take pictures, but you can see a short video about it here (that’s also me playing ukulele, guitar, bass and tambourine in a early attempt of mine at recording and stacking several tracks of music…).

We pressed on up the Kohala Coast, seeing many Humpback Whales–because they were a ways out to sea, we only got very marginal pictures of them.

Kohala, a Humpback Whale from shore: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kohala, a Humpback Whale from shore: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Next we drove into the Hawi-Kapa’au Twin City Metro Area to visit Everett’s friend Richard and take some photos.

King Kamehameha Statue, Kapa'au: Photo by Donald MacGowan

King Kamehameha Statue, Kapa'au: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Hawi Fisherman's Trophies: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Hawi Fisherman's Trophies: Photo by Donald MacGowan

We next drove out to the end of the road to look at Pololu Valley, and although we didn’t need the photos, we couldn’t help taking some.

The Head of Pololu Canyon on Kohola Mountain: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

The Head of Pololu Canyon on Kohola Mountain: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Pololu Canyon and Beach: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Pololu Canyon and Beach: Photo by Donald MacGowan

From Pololu Valley we drove out to Keokea State Park–the nearest public restrooms–to eat lunch and there was this incredible surfer dude riding wild waves in very shallow water and not 30 feet from the rock sea wall–seeming very dangerous, his rides were both skillful and beautiful to watch.

Keokea Park and a Very Brave Surfer Dude: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Keokea Park and a Very Brave Surfer Dude: Photo by Donald MacGowan

The next leg of our drive took us up Kohala Mountain on the Kohala Mountain Road…this is actually the place we really needed some photo coverage (it’s usually raining) and we had just stunning weather and views.

Kohala Mountain Road: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kohala Mountain Road: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kohala Mountain Road boulder and field: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

Kohala Mountain Road boulder and field: Photo by Donnie MacGowan

We drove down the mountain through the cow pastures, decided to skirt Waimea town and headed to the coast where we checked in at Kua Bay to see what was cookin’.

Kohala Mountain Road Sentinels: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Kohala Mountain Road Sentinels: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Kua Bay from the north: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Kua Bay from the north: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Kua Bay is a lovely, but tiny, dot of white sand caught in a crescent-shaped pocket along the rough, raw lava coastline of North Kona. It wasn’t quite time to light the barbecues when we got there, but we definitely found “what’s cookin'”

Kua Bay Sunbathers: Photo by Donald MacGowan

Kua Bay Sunbathers: Photo by Donald MacGowan

As the locals say: “Lucky we live Hawaii”, eh?

A fully described scenic drive with road log for this trip is available; please go here.

For more information on touring Hawaii in general and touring the Big Island in particular, please visit www.tourguidehawaii.com and www.tourguidehawaii.blogspot.com.

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