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Backpacker Magazine – May 2005

Top 3: Native Art Hikes

Explore burial effigies, seven-foot petroglyphs, and images etched in lava as you discover the ultimate mix of manmade and natural beauty.

by: Kelly Bastone

©Larry Ulrich

Puako Petroglyphs, HI

Hike to etchings in lava

The Hike

The Big Island's Kohala Coast is where black lava collides with blue ocean, and where hikers can walk vestiges of the ancient Malama Trail, which once circled the island. The still-intact 3 miles wind through a 233-acre park where early Polynesians etched more than 3,000 images of dancers, paddlers, and fishermen into volcanic rock. The slanting morning sunlight makes them easier to see, but their exact purpose remains unclear. Cover up to ward off prickly kiawe trees, and tread carefully around the 1-inch piko holes in the lava, where parents buried their newborns' umbilical cords to guarantee their long lives. Don't miss a broad, sloping red rock emblazoned with several-foot-high warriors; they may commemorate a great historical battle.

The Find

Snorkel with the sea turtles near Hapuna Beach's coral reefs, then sleep in a rustic A-frame ($20) near shore. (808) 974-6200


The Way

From Kona Airport, go north on HI-19, turn left on Mauna Lani Drive and park at Holoholokai Beach. The Mauna Lani Resort has maps. (www.maunalani)

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