Ka-uhi-‘īmaka-o-ka-lani (‘the observant cover of the heavens’) was a demigod who had come to Hawaiʻi from (Kahiki) Tahiti with the fire goddess Pele and her followers.
When the followers made their home at Kahana, Ka-uhi-‘īmaka-o-ka-lani was sent to the ridge as a watchman to protect the valley – he was turned to stone.
While Hi‘iaka the goddess (Pele’s younger sister) was returning to meet with Pele, as she approached Kualoa, she came upon a mo‘o (dragon) who tried to stop her.
Hi‘iaka crushed the evil mo‘o and left a piece of his tail as a landmark – Mokoli‘i at Kualoa (his body became the foothills below the steep Kualoa cliffs (‘long back’.))
Today, because of the obvious shape of the island, many generally refer to Mokoli‘i island as “Chinaman’s Hat.”
Moving up the coast, Hi‘iaka came upon Ka-uhi-‘īmaka-o-ka-lani. Ka‘uhi looked down “with eye-sockets moist with the dripping dew from heaven.”
He wished to go with Hi‘iaka. He asked her to free him and when she refused, the tried to tear himself loose and rose to a crouching position.
Today, this rock formation is called “Crouching Lion.”
(Note that ancient Hawaiians never had any Lions, or cats for that matter; the context of what you see is not the same as what they saw – today’s reference is based on modern interpretations of the stone formation.)
Just below the rock formation is the former home of George F. Larsen, a Honolulu contractor who emigrated from Norway; the main structure was a family residence in the mid-1920s.
George and Agnes had six children.
George Jr. became the first Chief of Police on Maui in 1939. Stanley rose to the ranks of 3 star general after attending West Point; he fought in the Pacific during World War II. Young Agnes was well known in the 1930s and 1940s as a ceramicist and sculptor.
The house was at first to be their weekend retreat. Later, they lived there full time and the kids commuted over the Pali to Punahou each day.
Mr. and Mrs. Larsen slept upstairs in a bedroom, while everyone else used the Hawaiian style hikie‘e (a large couch – literally translates to ‘upon your bed’) placed around the great room below.
The construction had 12-by-12 timbers, used for the exterior and interior – the massive logs used in the framework were floated to Kahana Bay (‘cutting or turning point’) – the practice of putting the logs in salt water was used to help discourage termite infestation.
In 1937, the home was sold and in the 1940s it became a Roadside Inn.
In 1952, the landmark property in Ka‘a‘awa (‘the wrasse fish’) opened as a restaurant by John Lind (father to Ka‘a‘awa resident, Ian Lind,) back in 1952.
John Lind was in the hotel and restaurant supply business and saw the building and site as a great round-the-island stopover restaurant.
It changed hands after that.
Like many others, while traveling along the Koʻolauloa coast, we often stopped at the Crouching Lion Inn for a meal – and always paused or looked out the window every time we passed “Crouching Lion” (Ka-uhi-‘īmaka-o-ka-lani) as we drove by.