The campsite I visited recently is located close to a national historic site (strange to think there would be national landmarks here). The site is called Puukohola, it is a set of three heiau’s or temples that the early Hawaiians used to gather together, prayed and perform human sacrifices to appease their local dieties which were mostly gods of war, of the harvests and of the ocean. These heiau’s were also significant because the main chef of Hawaii island named Kamehameha was the first ruler to unify all the disparate island nations of Hawaii into a unified whole.
A prophecy from a kahuna (priest) advised Kamehameha that if he built this large temple to honor his local diety Ku (the god of war) he will be the first ruler to unite all the warring islands of Hawaii. This effort was no small part to build a large temple due to the fact that it is made entirely of smooth stones which were only available some 20 miles west of the island. An entire sea of laborers were required (in fact the entire population including the chief) and formed a human chain twenty mile long handing rocks from on hand to another and then build an edifice in less than a year and completed in 1791.
All through the building efforts, other local chiefs from neighboring islands hearing that a large temple was going to be built and knew of this significant omen, banded together to attack Kamehameha during this crucial stage. Kamehameha crushed these armies and also his main rival on Hawaii island who knew that his own death would proficised this outcome, he willingly submitted himself to Kamehameha during the celebration of the temples completion, and his body and his chiefs were consecrated at the temple as an offering to their god Ku and eventually Kamehameha ruled all of the Hawaiian islands as a unified whole.
His legacy lives in these monuments and other temples around Hawaii island which attribute this king as a significant leader to Hawaii and fulfilling a great destiny. An annual celebration for King Kamehameha day is celebrated throughout Hawaii to recognize this great leader with amazing garlands of beautiful and scented flowers around his statue and hulas from various dancing troupes are performed and chanted in his honor.
What is really amazing about this area called Puukohola is that it is on the dryer side of the island with an average rainfall of less than 10 inches a year. Hard to believe that a civilization would create a life in this barren lava zoned area with not much vegetation and create enough sustenance to survive in this environment.
I was just glad that the camp site had warm showers, drinkable water, a large community pavilion and cooking pits on each stall and that was roughing it for camping here! Boy, I’m glad I’m living in today’s world and enjoying the sunsets from my simple tent.