makeahua gulch hike

Yes in my back yard, definitely: canyons, gulches, dry streams, dry water falls within half a mile where I typed. My Sunday foray into the Hawaii desert yielded more surprises like 60 to 100 foot drop from the lips of dormant water falls in the dry Makeahua gulch and it tributaries. My hike started from my place at Kawaihae village. I left with my paints to find a place to sit, look at things and wet paper with colors.  I climbed gradually following a 4wd dirt road into the morning sun. A light breeze instead of the frequent  howling trade winds made for a cooler walk and better condition for painting.  I connected first with the makai branches of the gulch. There the bottom of this bone-dry stream is mainly dirt and smooth blue basalts. Top layers of reddish lava rock and basalt rimmed the stream, rises and fall with the contour.Where water cut through hills, dark brown cliffs formed.

Volkswagen Bug-sized basalt boulders blue gray, smooth and cool to my touch rolled to their position eons ago.  This stream too moved landscape and cut through the ages, the water that careened down its canyon walls propelled rocks and carve deep pools, yet now all is quiet, empty.  Water left behind reminders in clumps of grass caught in branches chest to head high in places as I retraced it upstream. Last week I picked my way up this same stream for another half mile.  I climbed out the sides and walk further up hill to discover the 80 foot tall Kemole Falls. Today I will just paint then explore the down hill part of the gulch.

Adjacent and almost parallel to this stream is a much bigger gulch, more like a canyon, with 100-200 foot plus high side walls.  Its walls and floor are red in contrast to its blueish neighbor.  The red gulch geology is different, its walls are steep and more eroded, crumbly. Its floor is covered with rocks and dry grass, both red and blue held kiawe trees, some are quite old.  I did not expect to see the magnitude of this gulch minutes from where i live. I was blown away.  My preference is the blue basalt stream, it is visually more inviting to explore and to linger under the shade or on its rocks. The blue stream had many protected campsites  to overnight, perfect for starry cloudless Kawaihae nights.

My painting on the other hand was disappointing.