By Christina Winter, Allied Member ASID
On our trip we took a day and had the opportunity to drive on "Saddle Road" from the Kona side to the Hilo side. You must be thinking what is so special about a drive??? But the only real way to take in how dynamic a small piece of land really is...is to drive across. Hawaii has 11 of the 13 climatic zones on the Island and is made up of 5 volcanoes. Each climatic zone has it's own unique ecosystems and weather characteristics. As we made our way the vegetation and geography changed from lava rock, to rolling hills with cows and chickens, to a rainforest with an abundance of vegetation.
Saddle Road runs between the largest volcanoes and is called the "Saddle" because the road between the mountains is a saddle-shaped valley. It crests at 6,578 ft and is 53 miles long. It is a winding, hilly road with blind turns and no traffic. There are no lights and only a fool would drive it at night. It was designed for military vehicles who wanted to get from one side to the next and fast. A simple road but shows how you can never be sure what is around the bend.
Begininning of Saddle Road Kona Side...Lava rock all around
Middle of Saddle Road...not much to see but still beautiful
Nearing the Hilo Side...since the average rainfall per year is about 280 inches everything is lush and very green.