The Moon shining through the Koa Trees with my tent in the foreground.
The eerie shadows cast by the moon or were they the Nightmarchers?
A group of us all went camping up to Keanakolou Cabins. Keanakolou (The Three Caves) is about 25 miles, about an hour and a half, northeast of Waimea off a bumpy and dusty 4-wheel drive road. Needless to say the place is isolated, no power, phone, light etc.
There are several cabins at Keanakolu, but I opted to sleep in my tent to hopefully get some shots of the stars and moon etc. Besides who could resist the cool mountain air and only the sound of the wind? I set up my tent at the edge of the Koa forest; the others all bunked together about a football field away inside the main cabin.
On the second night we all turned in pretty early after hiking etc and I headed down to my tent around 10pm. It didn’t take long to fall asleep, but I ended up waking at around 1 am as nature was calling. I reluctantly crawled out of my warm cozy nest and stepped into the cool and windy night. The moon was very bright and shinning through the old Koa trees casting some eerie shadows and the wind was stirring robustly. The stars were also very bright, looking like diamonds, even though the moon was so bright. One of my philosophies about my photography is to always make the extra effort and get the difficult shot. At this particular moment, the last thing I wanted to do was get my camera and tripod out and take some pictures, but that is what I opted to do.
Thoughts about being all alone in the middle of nowhere started to dominate my psyche and I began to remember the stories about the Nightmarchers (My best friend Jonah used to tell stories about hearing the Nightmarchers when he was hiking back from Waimanu Valley.). According to Hawaiian legend, night marchers (huaka‘i po in Hawaiian) are ghosts of ancient warriors. They supposedly roam large sections of the island chain, and can be seen by groups of torches. They can usually be found in areas that were once large battlefields. Legend has it that if you look a night marcher straight in the eye, you will be forced to walk among them for eternity, but if you have a relative taken by them, you will be spared. Hawaiians say that in the presence of night marchers, one should lie down on their stomach, face down to avoid eye contact, stay quiet, breathe shallowly, and don’t move. Some say that they may nudge you to provoke a reaction so they can take you.
After getting several long exposures I had to keep telling myself to just relax, that it was only my mind that was scaring me. Luckily there were no Nightmarchers this time… just in my mind.
What would you do if you heard the Nightmarchers? Do you have any stories about them? Leave a comment!
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