Scouting Halawa

The Webelos from Pack 311 of Kailua, Oahu visited Halawa Valley Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. Webelos are Cub Scouts in their fourth year, an average of 9 years old. Throughout our four days of camping, 12 families were continually impressed by the beautiful valley, people, nature, history and activities.  We would like to share what “Pops” Anakala Pilipo and Diane Solatorio, shared with us.

We were treated to stories and customs of ancient Hawaiians, such as the conch shell blowing to announce our arrival, and the sharing of ha, the sharing of breath. As we hiked to the Mo`oula falls in the back of the valley, we learned about the valley’s history, saw heiaus, a petroglyph, bounty of flora, made string from hau trees and learned of the gathering of food for Makahiki festivals.

“Special” barely describes the experience we had with taro. The boys learned to harvest taro barefoot in the lo`i. After cleaning each root in a stream, they used an opihi shell to scrape off the skin. The lessons of poi pounding came after Pops steamed all the cleaned taro. He used his ancestral tools and took the time to work with each boy! Having picked, cleaned and pounded the taro into poi, several boys were surprised to learn how much they liked poi.

Meals and water were brought in by family members. Enhancing the menu was freshly caught fish from nets and venison. Hunting crabs by flashlight is fun, even knowing they will all be released in the end. There was even a beach bonfire night, complete with scary stories and roasted marshmallows!

It was a fascinating trip, one the boys will surely never forget!

Mahalo Nui Loa!

Elisabeth Lemquist


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