Kaleleonālani at Mauna Kea

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Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Kaleleonālani is the name of the dowager queen Emma, and it is a name of remembrance for her beloved son who died in 1862 and her husband who died in 1863.

Because of her grief, her brother-in-law, Kamehameha V, sent her to Europe (1865-1866) to assuage her sadness. Kaleleonālani returned with about a miilion dollars (today’s value) to build St. Andrew’s Cathedral but her grief was not quelled. Therefore, Lot (Kamehameha V) suggested that she go to Kauaʻi and climb Waiʻaleʻale as he had done previously.

This is the trip that made Kaleleonālani famous as she bravely weathered the cold and damp swamp of Alakaʻi all night until the dawn when they continued on to Kilohana overlooking Wainiha in the north. She was nicknamed “The royal one who climbs mountains” or “The royal one who ascends mountain ridges.”

In 1882, Queen Emma Kaleleonālani travelled to Kohala and stayed with James Kaʻai, J. Kekipi, and the junior Kamauoha. After three days, they continued to Waimea. At Waimea, they stayed a night at the home of J. Parker. Kaleleonālani told him that she wanted to climb the mountain, to ascend Mauna Kea, and to see Waiʻau (as is pronounced by Waimea folk), a spring-fed lake atop of Mauna Kea.

Kaleleonālani stayed at Mānā with her ladies-in-waiting before the ascent. One of the ladies with her was Princess Likelike.

They ascended by horse as “the royal mountain climber” was accustomed to riding and continued up this tall mountain on Hawaiʻi Island. When they reached the center of the world, a native of Kawaihae, Waiʻau Lima, a relative to Lindsey, took the dowager queen upon his back from this to that side of Waiʻau. It was believed that the waters were life giving. Long live the queen.