Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ka'a'awa Valley and Kualoa Ranch

They did a have a couple of huts built to show how things might have looked in the old days. There is also a “legend” tour, which I may have to go back and take to find out what I really want to know… or at least to say I’ve heard the tour. They had some native plants around the huts: pandanas to make mats (as in this photo), noni for medicine, etc.

The wrangler at Kualoa Ranch put me on Blu, the lead horse—the one who had just come back from a trail ride. I’m sure he was not any too thrilled about having to turn around and go right out again, however he didn’t protest too much. Rather, he stood still as I mounted him (on the “wrong” side—it’s the way they pulled the horses up to the mounting steps) and plodded along very amicably. He had one speed, which was fine because I could relax and look around. The trail master (on the white horse) had to cut a switch for Craig’s horse, who had decided that he’d rather stay home and watch ‘the game’ than go for a trail ride.

It is said that this valley is the final resting place of over 150 generations of ali’i. Kahekili, the ruler of Maui, asked for no other spot when he came to conquer O’ahu than this because he wanted rights to the whale bones that washed ashore here. Kahahana, the ruling chief of O’ahu, was warned by the priest Ka’opulupulu not to give this spot away or else he would be giving all his authority away. As it turned out, Kahekili convinced the king to kill the priest. Then Kahikili attacked and conquered O’ahu without the bothersome priest in the way.

It is the Valley of the Kings as far as the island of O’ahu goes… many bones of the chiefs are stashed in the caves in this valley. This area was once a pu’uhonua (a place of refuge). It was a residence of chiefs and where they trained the young ali’i. It was also the spot of the beginning and end of the Makahiki procession, in which the king and his retinue circled the island visiting all the villages and collecting taxes. The beach area was also a sacred canoe landing spot and even Kamehameha lowered his sails as he passed.

Kamehameha III sold some of the land to the Judd’s in 1850. Queen Kalama moved to Kualoa after her husband died and tried to operate a sugar mill. Besides the fact that this land is not rich enough for sugar, there was an accident and the workers were convinced that such an enterprise should not be run on sacred land. Eventually the Judd’s bought up over 4,000 acres—pennies on the dollar—and opened Kualoa Ranch. The trail master wanted to talk about movie sets. I was more interested in the spirits and asked about caves and bones. She glossed over that… and I figured they were right in protecting the bones, and that most people would rather be “Lost” than know the history. And so it goes….

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