Great Pyramids of Punalu'u

May 08, 2013

So on Saturday, some friends and I serendipitously met an incredible Ka'u local by the name of Guy, who got involved in our conversation about adventuring on the island. While I don't believe he slept in a hapu'u stump while trekking up to Mauna Loa, he did share a few other locations that he's been to. Guy shared the description of a "pyramid" in the Pahala mountains being one of the primary locations of interest. He described this pyramid as a large triangular hill with a circumference of large ti plants, and a waterfall pouring in the inside of the cave.

I thought that sounded glorious, so I did some research.

After some digging around through historical maps and sections of journals, questioning my boss, looking through some USGS publications by Stearns and Clark, Water Development Reports in the archive, and Dept. of Water Supply's deep well water resources on the island, I've figured out what it is.

It's a 3,000ft cinder cone from the Ninole eruptive series. The "waterfall" seems to be one of two hand-dug tunnels on the eastern side of the mountain facilitating water resources to the lower southern town. Our historical Water Progress Reports from 1926 indicate that the tunnel(s) are the same tunnels we have up in Pahala, having been excavated approximately during the time of the creation of what is now our water system hike. The "pyramid" is a cinder cone with three distinct ridges which makes a resemblance toward a tetrahedron.

Information buzz-kill. Having a pyramid would have been way cooler to have as the third Extreme Picnicking site.

Thanks for being stoked on my rant