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TREX 2018 Day 9: To the Opposite Side

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TREX 2018 Day 9: To the Opposite Side

By Suchan Vivatsethachai `20

Today all TREXers moved to the complete opposite side of the Big Island of Hawaii in Waialea, a city near Kona. After enjoying the tropical rainforest environment for about a week, we finally escaped rain to a beautiful beach with nothing but sunshine. We had to pack all of the sensors and soil samples carefully since we wouldn’t have a chance to collect data anymore. Before I left, I spotted little saffron finch birds, another charismatic beauty of this rainy side of the island.

Saffron Finch in the garden in front of the house.

Scene of Waipi`o beach from a lookout

Before reaching our next houses, we decided to stop midway at a lookout and hike down to Waipi`o Valley. The view from the lookout was stunning enough to make us run down a very steep road to the valley. In the end, some TREXers had a hard time climbing back from about 2,000 feet below where we parked the cars. However, black sand, turquoise sea and a beautiful path with thick green forests all make it worthy to be there. Down in the valley was also a natural habitat of gorgeous human-friendly horses.

A horse in Waipi`o Valley

Finally, after a tiresome hike, we reached our destination, Hapuna Beach state park. We will occupy all of A-shape shelters in the park until we finish our data analysis. The beautiful Hapuna beach was literally five minutes’ walk from the park, making it harder to resist running in the sea. However, with public presentation coming closer, we had no choice but to put all our effort to make all variable data we collected so far most meaningful.

Hapuna Beach state park sign

Shelters inside the park

Every year, a group of MIT students and professors travel to the Big Island of Hawaii to gain fieldwork experience through TREX (Traveling Research Environmental EXperiences). The first TREX trip was held in 2000, and since launching has taken students on research activities in domestic and international settings. For more undergraduate opportunities, click here.