Big Island Sunrise – Pololu Valley
Knowing we were still going to be on east coast time, I planned a sunrise photoshoot on the northwest coast of the island. Our destination was the Pololu Valley. Sunrise was to be around 7:00 AM, but of course, we needed to be there early–about 6:15. The location was about an hour and a half drive from the hotel, so that meant we needed to check out of the hotel around 4:45, which, in turn, meant we had to get up no later than 4:00 AM. We were both wide awake at 3:00. We got ready and were out of there ahead of time and started driving north. It wasn’t long before we were away from the city lights and into the dark of the night, driving on an unfamiliar road. Fortunately, the directions were pretty much drive north, make one turn, and keep going until the road comes to a dead end, and it was comforting knowing the GPS would tell you if you got off course, but man, it was dark.
We got to the end of the road and the Pololu Valley Lookout, and it was still dark. We sat in the car for a while trying to figure out what was around us and if it was cloudy or not. The wind was howling outside the car. Denise was happy to find out we wouldn’t start the 2-1/2 mile roundtrip hike down the face of the cliff until after there was some light in the sky. Nautical twilight, and the first glimmer of light, started around 6:10 AM. The sky appeared to be mostly clear but with some clouds, and an interesting morning appeared to be in the offing, even with the wind still gusting. Shortly after Civilian twilight, we started our way down the trail. After getting down the trail a little, the cliff protected us from the wind. We made it to our first switchback and the view opened up as the sun was peeking over a cloud bank over the ocean.
We got to the bottom of the trail and the sunlight was streaming through the trees. Since the tide was in, we were not able to walk down the beach to see more of the valley or the black sand beach. Instead, we walked along the beach back toward the cliff face we hiked down. This part of the beach, which wasn’t very long, had large boulders. We walked along the Pololu Stream until we got to a No Tresspassing sign and we were able to get a brief glimpse of part of the valley. Unfortunately, we couldn’t explore much further, so we hiked back to the car.
On the way up, the wind was whipping up the waves and blowing mist off the top of the waves.
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