Paradise isn't always pleasant.
You're camping along the beach on the west side of Big Island, enjoying the good company, delicious BBQ, cold drinks and the sound of the ocean. But then the inevitable happens, your camp fire begins to dim and you need to search the dreaded kiawe (“kee-AH-vay”) forest for more wood. Anyone that has experienced this knows what Im talking about. The kiawe tree is one of the most ruthless trees on the planet. It grows aimlessly, out of the jagged lava fields, intertwining its branches with itself and its brethren to create a nearly impenetrable defense network. Each limb is covered with ruthless spines. Of course, you go into battle totally unprepared - board shorts, worn slippers and if your lucky, a dim flashlight. Those that stay back at the fire can surely hear the curse words being murmured in the dark as the kiawe tree makes its mark upon flesh. Once you make it back to the camp fire with your prized wood, you spend the rest of the evening pulling thorns out of your slippers, cautioning everyone to go easy on the firewood for they are going to get the next load.
Photos by: Brad Fyffe, Kevin Repan, Danny Bolton
Words by: Kevin Repan