Thursday, February 3, 2011

Waipi'o Valley

We spent the last half of our week just outside of Waipi'o Valley on the Northeast side of the Island in the town of Honoka'a.  It is a beautiful area and nicely situated for early trips into the valley.  We decided to take a morning tour of the valley by horseback.  The valley is gorgeous and the horses were fun.  This valley use to be one of the most populated areas on the Island, but the tsunami that hit the area 40 years ago destroyed the homes in the valley.  Now about 50 people live in the valley, a few more work the land and live outside of the valley. 

 The road into the valley is very steep at a 25% grade.  It is paved, but requires a 4 wheel drive vehicle to drive down into it.  If you do not have a 4 wheel drive vehicle you can take a shuttle down or hike it.  It is a mile down, and a steep mile up.  Since we had rented a jeep, we drove down after our horseback tour.  We spent the afternoon walking along the black sand beach and hiking to a waterfall.

One of the beauties of the Island is the waterfalls that usually flow over the valley walls.  While horseback riding thru the valley we saw a few trickles of waterfalls still coming down the walls, but it hadn't rained in a few days and so the falls were quite low.  The largest falls on the Island are located in the valley; Hi'ilawe Falls.  Twin falls located next to each other and 1450 feet high.  We hiked along the stream running from the falls to the beach to reach the base of the waterfalls. We had to cross the stream several times, and swim thru a deeper area at one point, but it was well worth the tricky hike to reach the base.  The valley walls are gorgeous with lush green moss and growth up and down the back walls.  Their are large piles of rocks in the middle that have fallen from the top and settled as an island in the stream.  We hiked in later in the afternoon and had the falls to our selves.  The waterflow was very low and only trickling over the right fall.  It was so peaceful to sit and taken in the beauty of this piece of earth.

Our last night on the Island, it rained all night and into the morning.  So as we decided how to spend the day before our late evening flight home, we knew we had to back down to Waipi'o Valley to see the water falls since more water would be flowing from the rain.  We were glad we had stayed so close by to easily drive back down there.  It was incredible to see the waterfalls flowing with water.  Both the twin falls were flowing, and many falls were flowing over the sides of the valley walls too.  It was beautiful.
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