Sunday Stills: Recreational

The road down to Waipi’o Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii is steep. The 800 foot (243.84 m) vertical rise averages a 25% grade. At .6 miles (0.9 km) in length, it is the steepest road of its length in the United States. Because of the grade, only hikers and four-wheel drive vehicles are allowed on the road.

Although our shins ached after making the trek down to the bottom, we were rewarded with one of the most beautiful black sand beaches on the island. Waipi’o means curved water in Hawaiian and it’s easy to understand why the gently rounded coastline earned its name.

We found this beautiful outrigger canoe on the beach just waiting to be taken out for some recreational pleasure.

After exploring the shoreline and wandering a few trails that took us further into the valley, we began the slow, calve-challenging hike back up the hill to where we started. (This photo was taken several years ago. Waipi’o Valley is located on the northeast side of The Big Island. The current volcanic activity is located much further to the south.)

Sunday Stills is a weekly photography link-up co-hosted by my blogging friend Terri Webster Schrandt. Each week there is a new word prompt to inspire a shared photo (or photos). Follow this link to learn more about it, see other submissions, and to share your own.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

56 thoughts on “Sunday Stills: Recreational”

  1. This seems like one of those spots in Hawaii that are not ‘actively’ visited by the tour buses. And for that reason alone, well worth the effort to access it and hike out. Beautiful picture!

  2. Beautiful. Many years ago I spent a month in Hawaii bumming around. I loved the big island probably better than Oahu. So many quiet beaches and hideaways. I’ve always wondered if it’s still the same.

    1. I spent some time on the North Shore of Oahu a long time ago but haven’t been back to that island since. I much prefer the relative quiet of The Big Island too. Of course with the volcanic activity, it probably isn’t all that quiet right now.

      1. I was there in the 70s and there were roads that were “flooded” from lava from some activity within the months before. I was stunned at how it broke up the macadam roads as if they were china plates. Also loved Kauai and Maui.

  3. Look at the gorgeous blue sky and the deeper blue water! Stunning. And the black sand beach. This photo was worth the trek down that road and then back up. Thanks for sharing.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

  4. Hi Janis, love the photos and good for you doing the hike to explore further. We have been seeing on the news in Australia a volacanic eruption on one of the inhabited islands in Hawaii. I hope it wasn’t this one!

    1. Sue, yes the volcano is active on the Big Island, but as Janis said, the eruptions and fissures are on the south east part of the island. The smoke may be everywhere. Our little house in up country Hilo, well out of the way, but things can happen!

  5. Janis, what a cool image (and find) of the outrigger just waiting to be played upon! Next time we go to the BI we want to visit some other areas. That black sand is so smooth and amazing looking. Thanks for linking up to #SundayStills!

  6. It’s funny you should write about The Big Island. It’s been on my mind a lot lately with all the volcanic activity. When things happen far away, it feels more personal when you’ve been there. We spent a few days in Volcano National Park and now I wonder what’s left of the places we visited and where we stayed 😕

    Although we didn’t visit Waipi’o, we did swim at a black sand beach further to the south. The black sand is amazing!

    1. When we were there a few years ago, we saw vast fields of old volcanic rock. It was hard to imagine that hundreds (thousands?) of years in the future those fields would be lush and green. I understand that it’s all nature’s plan but it’s hard to feel good about what’s happening now.

  7. Hi, Janis – You are a very talented photographer, and I am glad that you are included your photos in Sunday Stills.
    BTW – I think that I would have been okay with that hike DOWN to the beach…but the hike BACK UP may have killed me!!

  8. Beautiful. That is somewhere I have never been. You were so lucky to visit there before all the recent volcanic activity – every day it seems worse from those volcanic eruptions. I will return here to read about your friend’s link as well.

      1. I agree with the horrible and fascinating aspect … the molten lava crawling along a highway and over a parked car was just amazing to me!

    1. People really miss out when they just visit Oahu and hang out with the other tourists on the beach. We were lucky enough to have a friend who lived on the Big Island who invited us to stay for 5 weeks. It allowed us to really explore the island in all its beauty and wonder.

  9. Difficult hikes are always better with a reward at the end, whether it’s a nice beach or a waterfall. Or a majestic view. This scene reminds me of many areas in French Polynesia, which makes sense. And, the feeling of calves and shins, reminds me of our recent 5-mile walk in the dunes. Great shot! I hope to go to Hawaii one day.

    1. Wow, l can’t believe that I’ve actually been somewhere you haven’t been! I imagine there are people in Hawaii who need house and pet sitting… in fact, I have a friend who does that. I hope you are able to visit the islands one day too.

      1. Yes, I’ve seen quite a few (attractive) house and pet sits in Hawaii, but we can’t afford plane tickets there. One of the reasons we remain in the US to house sit, is because we can just drive there. 🙂 Once we start house sitting internationally (which I hope we will be able to do in the future), it won’t be an affordable lifestyle anymore.

  10. Wonderful mix of exercise and beautiful scenery. Great recreation. That outrigger canoe makes the photo so interesting. Great composition1

  11. Beautiful photo! We loved the Big Island last year. Got to see the lava flowing into the ocean, after a 4.5 mile bike ride to get out there. Like Liesbet says, the reward made the ride worth it. I wonder what interesting things await after this current volcanic activity settles! ~ Lynn

    1. There was some very minor lava flow when we were there, but nothing like it is now. I would have loved to see it flowing into the ocean. I’ve been watching the activity on video feeds and am struck by Pele’s power.

      1. I kind of got a perverse chuckle, wondering who ticked Pele off so badly! LOL! When we were there, a local told us about the TONS of lava that get returned to the Post Office on the Big Island, because people RETURN it to Hawaii after taking a piece home to the mainland – bad things start happening to them, so they send it back! ~ Lynn

  12. For obvious reasons, I’ve been thinking about Hawaii more these last few weeks. I enjoyed visiting the Big Island years ago, but didn’t try to do what you did here. Your photos are lovely, and make me want to return to give it a go. Such a beautiful place…

    1. I love all the different weather and typography zones of the Big Island. You can enjoy the warm beaches in the morning and go snow sking in the afternoon (so they say, I’ve never skied there). And now with the volcanic activity… so much to experience!

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