I ran to "the end of the world" in Kona - Personal travel story

Carmen Micsa

With Heather’s help!

Running to "the end of the world" with my new runner friend HeatherPhoto bya woman who was walking her dog and used to live in Sacramento, CA
“In a blaze of musket fire, sacred practices died along with more than 300 warriors. The dead, including Kekuaokalani and his wife Manono were interred in the terraces visible on this lava field.” — Quote on the Lekeleke Burial Grounds

My easy-going and loquacious personality took me from running alone up a steep hill in Keauhou, HI to running to “the end of the world” with a new friend. 

While most people go on family vacations to relax, I wake up early to run, after which I return to my family ready to start our explorations and adventures. I also love to share my discoveries about the new area that we are visiting, such as parks, botanical gardens, and in this case, “the end of the world.”

That morning, as I climbed the last steep hill before getting to our resort, another runner caught up with me and told me: “Great job! I wanted to see if I can catch you.” 

Buoyed by her friendliness, I immediately introduced myself and told Heather, my new instant friend, that I was at the end of my run, but maybe we could run together another day. 

I like to call our quick introduction and warm greeting “the language of running,” which we runners speak as our second language. 

“Huh? What’s the language of running?” 
It’s pace, breath, movement, and using the running jargon, such as GMP (gross marathon pace), elevation gain, speed workout, and so on. 

After we took a quick selfie together, Heather told me that she had a fun running route and that we would run to “the end of the world.” 

“Wow! I would really love that!” I replied, almost picturing myself in a James Bond movie. 

As I ran back to my resort, I was excited to find a new running route with the help of my local friend, but I also could not help thinking of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. 

Peace was what the world needed, not the end of the world! 

A historical signPhoto byHeather Johnson

The history 

While we ran on the rocky trail by the Pacific Ocean that early morning with a few goats peacefully eating grass and leaves, Heather regaled me with the story of this historical place that the Hawaiian people call Kuamo’o Battlefield and Lekeleke Burial Grounds

Heather’s story matched Halvor Tweto’s. He pointed out in his article Kuamo’o Battlefield and Lekeleke Burial Grounds important historical facts:

  1. The kapu, the ancient Hawaiian code of conduct of laws and regulations, added structure to the daily lives of Hawaiians, such as those that protected fisheries from overfishing. While some of the laws were good, it was kapu, for instance, to step on the shadow of an ali’i, or chief, and it was kapu for men and women to eat together. When one of these kapu was violated, oftentimes the punishment was death, although the transgressor was sometimes given the opportunity to receive pardon and sanctuary at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau
  2. “The kapu system helped to make the ancient culture what it was: strong, tough, and resourceful, but also strict, combative, and sometimes brutal,” Tweto pointed out. While some supported the kapu system, once the Hawaiians had more interactions with Europeans, they rejected the strictures of the kapu and sought change, especially after the death of King Kamehameha, who died in 1819. His wife, Queen Kaʻahumanu, and his son, Liholiho, had other plans. 
  3. Liholiho, who had become King Kamehameha II, put an end to the kapu system forever by destroying some temples and ceremoniously eating in public with women. Due to his bold behavior, Liholiho was challenged by Kekuaokalani, a nephew of Kamehameha I, who gathered an army to rise against his cousin, Kamehameha II. The armies battled hard at Kuamo’o Battlefield in the first months of 1820. Kekuaokalani lost decisively, and both he and his wife were killed on the spot along with more than 300 others. The ancient Hawaiian kapu system and religious structure came to an end even before the Christian missionaries arrived in March 1820.
Lava rocks and waves crashingPhoto byCarmen Micsa

The end of the world

“Why is this place called the end of the world?” I asked Heather.

“I don’t really know,” she replied.

According to Fodor’s Travel, the locals call the Southern end of Ali’i Drive the “End of the World.” 

I also discovered more adrenaline-rushing information on The Outdoor project website:

While many visit this site to appreciate this watershed moment in Hawaiian history, today this site is also popular for an entirely different purpose. Take the gravel road through the battlefield and burial grounds and look for a trail that leaves from the right toward the 30- to 35-foot cliffs popularly known as the End of the World. When the conditions are right, this area is a favorite for thrill seekers who can overlook the risks for some airtime and a plunge into the Pacific.
And the risks are real: rocks can shift and move given the powerful surf, potentially ruining the landing; the only way back up is to climb the cliff; the ocean surge can roll or slam you against the jagged rock as you approach it. No lifeguards, distant emergency resources…there are plenty of factors to consider.
The main jumping area is near the cave, but people jump from different areas and different heights at End of the World. You may not find anyone else there mid-week or when the conditions are a little choppy, but expect company when conditions are calm on the weekends.

I could not agree more with staying safe and avoiding the risk of experiencing the “end of one’s world” if the cliff jumping went wrong. 

I also realized that I didn’t do a typical and scenic run that morning with Heather; it was a historical run that was as magnificent as the huge waves towering over the lava rocks as high as a three-story building and crashing down the cliffs below. 

The end of the world meant a few things:

  • Tradition vs emancipation.
  • Kapu ancient religious system vs. new rules.
  • The death of more than 300 Hawaiian warriors was the end of their world.
  • Old world vs. new world
  • Spectacular sunsets like this one that I watched with my family after I told them that I am taking them to “the end of the world,” a place that I found out about during my run with my new fabulous friend Heather. 
Sunset at "the end of the world", Keauhou, HIPhoto byCarmen Micsa

And if you wish to explore Hawaii’s history and beauty and see it differently than a tourist, the Kuamoo Burial Site is located on the North Kona Coast at 78–7101 Mamalahoa Bypass Rd., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740. 

Aloha and Mahalo! May we all treasure peace and keep our world alive, accepting necessary changes that progress mankind and not regress it. 

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CEO/Broker of Dynamic Real Estate, Inc., business owner featured in the Forbes magazine for my outstanding service to my clients. Mom, wife, a published author, Medium writer, poet, marathon runner, rapper, and tennis player.

Carmichael, CA

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