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TREX 2018 Day 9: Valley Girls

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TREX 2018 Day 9: Valley Girls

By Meghan Reisenauer ‘19

Today was quite a day! We moved from our lodging in Volcano to cabins next to Hapuna beach and to get there we drove along the coast, giving us some great views. Our group also made a stop at Waipi’o Valley, a beautiful and scenic state park. The climb down into the valley and back up was incredibly steep and difficult, but the views were worth it!

The valley was once used for taro farming and is still famous for its high-quality taro root. In 1946, a tsunami destroyed many of the houses here and the temple. Since then, many former residents have moved nearby to live in local towns. While we were down in the valley, we saw a horse grazing on the side of the road. Then, a young foal trotted right up to us! We thought it must be the larger horse’s baby, and kept our distance from the two. We named the younger one Hoaloha, or friend in Hawaiian.

Hoaloha on his way to say hello

Down at the bottom of the valley, we went to the black sand beach and enjoyed the sand between our toes. The rest of the day was spent grocery shopping and settling in to our new home at Hapuna. We got a chance to catch the setting sun before it was gone over Hapuna beach. It was another beautiful end to a Hawaiian day.

The setting sun reflected off the sea

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.