November 28-29, 2003 - by David Hoover
Zane and I were wanting to explore the Puna Coast Trail and figured a three day weekend would be the way to do it, setting up the base camp at Apua Point and day hiking west along the trail on the second day.
We had a work/school break in late November, 2003 so we threw some gear into a couple of backpacks and headed down to HVNP on a Friday morning.
After checking in at the park headquarters, getting our backcountry permit and making sure we weren't in need of any last minute items while near a store, we drove down the Chain of Craters Road to the Puuloa Trailhead where we hit the trail at 11:00 am.
Walking west with the tradewinds pushing at our backs, we had an easy hike through mostly newer (early 1970's) pahoehoe lava from the Mauna Ulu flow with some patches of older flows laced with grasses and shrubs.
After a three hours walk (at an eight year old's pace), the trail came down close to the shore, so close that we could feel the sea spray the winds brought us from the huge waves that were pounding the sea cliffs.
We were amazed at the size of the boulders the waves washed up over the cliffs and placed 30 to 50 feet away during times of very high surf.
With the sounds of the tradewinds racing by and the heavy rolling thunder of the ocean pounding against the sea cliffs, we continued walking and within another hour we arrived at Apua Point at 3:30 pm.
We had the place to ourselves and while I was setting up camp, Zane raced off to explore the area and came back with a coconut which he spent the next half hour husking.
Just before dark the winds calmed considerably and we dozed off to the sounds of the surf. Saturday, November 29th: We woke up to a pink/blue sky and calm tradewinds, and (me) a little sore from yesterday's hike in.
After a light breakfast and loading up a daypack, Zane and I left camp at 9:00 am and headed west along the trail to Keauhou Shelter, a distance of three easy miles over mostly pahoehoe, where we stopped at the shelter to check it and the watertank out, then walked the quarter mile down to the shoreline.
There, at Keauhou Landing, Zane went off exploring for another coconut while I checked out campsites for future trips.
At 11:00 am we decided to walk on to Halape and arrived there at 12:30pm.
The trail follows over older lava flows and climbs over a fault line, that at the top, gives a panoramic view of the coast looking east.
No one was at Halape and we walked along the shoreline, me looking at the campsites and Zane looking for coconuts.
At 1:00 pm, we headed back to Apua Point, stopping for a rest at the Keauhou Shelter.
We arrived back at camp at 4:00 pm, having had a nice day exploring the Puna Coast Trail.
Last updated: April 24, 2013