State opens Kohala trail refurbished after quakes
HILO » State officials have reopened the Pololu Trail in North Kohala, part of the Old Government Road that leads to an area called Awini where Kamehameha I was hidden from enemies in his early childhood.
The trail, down a 420-foot cliff face, had been closed since the magnitude-6.7 and 6.0 earthquakes on Oct. 15. Following the quakes, sections of the trail were subject to continuing rockfalls, said Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Peter Young.
Various sections of the trail, which runs in a steep zigzag down the vegetated cliff face, have been rebuilt, Young said Friday.
The trail begins where the paved Akoni Pule Highway ends at the top of the cliff. Hiking down the trail is a favorite pastime for adventurous visitors to the area. Few continue into the rough country farther south.
In 1758, the year in which Kamehameha is believed to have been born, his mother gave the infant to a chief who carried him to safety, through Pololu to remote Awini.
Two other trails damaged by the Oct. 15 quakes remain closed, said Department of Land and Natural Resources spokeswoman Debbie Ward.
Those are Muliwai Trail, which leads to Awini from the south at Waipio Valley, and a portion of the Ala Kahakai (seaside trail) where it was damaged at Puakea, near Kamehameha's birthplace close to the present Upolu airstrip.
Far to the south at Kealakekua Bay, the department eased the restricted area for boaters. Following the partial collapse of the cliff face there during the earthquakes, boats had been required to stay 300 feet from the cliff, but that was reduced last week to 100 feet, Ward said.
Visitors are still banned from the trail that leads past the cliff to flatlands at Kaawaloa and from Kaawaloa itself, Ward said. The area, marked by a monument, is the site where British explorer Capt. James Cook was killed in 1779.