Monday, December 1, 2014

Hawaiian Petroglyphs

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

By far, my most favorite hike was out to the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs, located just before you hit the ocean, along the Chain of Craters Road.  This is very sacred ground to native Hawaiians and once again, I find myself in awe that we are allowed to explore such a hallowed site.

Signs along the boardwalk explain that these rock carvings contain an historical record of the Hawaiian culture.  This particular lava flow is between 400-700 years old; however, families continue to this day to come out here for ceremonies.  It is easy to imagine the spirits of their ancestors walking hand in hand with them, rejoicing in the birth of each new child.

Indeed, of the 23,000 petroglyphs in the area, 16,000 are intimately related to birth.  The holes in the hardened lava rocks are called "pukas".  The umbilical cords of a newborn child were placed in them in the hopes that the spirits would bless each child with a long and prosperous life.  Looking closer, you realize each puka is distinct.  Some are shallow; some are deep.  Many of them have intricate designs around the holes, which are unique to each family.

 I remained a bit emotional for the rest of the day.  Seeing petroglyphs always does this to me.  Ancient rock carvings connects me to the past and makes me feel blessed (for want of a better word) that I am a part of this incredible world.  If even for a blink in time.


  1. How gorgeous. I didn't even know about this place til I read it on your blog. Hawaii sure does surprise. I hope I can go there soon.

  2. I hope you get there, too. This was my 4th trip to Hawaii and I hope it's not my last. It is truly an enchanting place!