Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wailele Falls

From Hawaiian BU

Sorry for the long hiatus, we haven't been keeping up with the blog. It doesn't mean that we haven't been hiking though. We've actually done a good number of hikes since the last write-up, some of them repeats, and some of them new stuff. Many times, we have done them with groups of people through our YMCA contacts. Alot of times, we have done them without the other brother BU present, which is all good. We are planning to get back on this thing when the schedule allows it, but for now, I'll relate a hike to you all that I just did with my college students the past weekend.

I've always wondered about the stuff that people don't tell you about. Things that are kept out of the public eye on purpose. Stuff not written about in hike books, magazines, maps, etc., yet are whispered about in passing conversations. Its given weird names because, many times, the person relating the story may not have the true info that you need to get better answers. They were taken there by a "family friend", "my neighbors cousin", that sort of thing. It's like a big Jigsaw puzzle where you have to first acquire all the pieces and then try to put the puzzle together, but there is no set way the puzzle fits together. The only way you can know for sure is if you go there yourself, be willing to make mistakes, and try your best to find the true answer.

When we began this hiking Blog, Chinese BU and I had heard about this thing called the PCC Falls. When we did the initial research, no one had written anything in the normal books about this falls. When you looked it up on websites, there was no clear path that anyone would describe to you. There was things like, "Went hiking to PCC Falls, it was super cool!" or, "Turtle Falls was kinda dead today, but the day was beautiful.". No good descriptors whatsoever. One website even called it Waikalele Falls.

After looking at some maps of Laie, I figured out that these people must be referring to a falls on Wailele stream. But that whole property is private land owned by the Mormon church. It seems they lease the lands to farmers, who then farm the very fertile aina with a wide array of crops. If you think logically about this land, there are multiple falls and streams (Laie, Malaekahana, Koloa, Wailele) that feed these lands with water for a bountiful harvest. It began to make sense that if you were not Mormon (I'm not, neither is Chinese BU), you would have no chance of even knowing that this place exists. I wouldn't be surprised if even some hardcore church goers are not aware of this Falls.

The best description I got about Wailele was from a farmer when I took the college kids to Malaekahana Falls. He told me that you had to take the quarry road and look for a wooded driveway towards the falls. Chinese BU and I accidentally did this during our trials of trying to find Koloa. We went up this path, but decided not to go the rest of the way without knowing for certain where it led. The sign on the fences said that you needed permission from Hawaii Reserves, the company representing the Mormon Church, to gain access. I figured they could give me more directions towards the falls when the time came.

Let me tell you something- the people at Hawaii Reserves are great, but they really want to protect the lands that they are charged with preserving. The nice lady there was very polite, but she didn't want to divulge too much information to me. I asked for a map-they didn't have one. She asked what hike I wanted to do. I told her Wailele, and she gave me a kolohe smile. When I looked at the permit paper, I could see why: Wailele was not one of the options of places that one could hike to. Let me explain this to you so you get what is going on. Hawaii Reserves WILL let you hike to Wailele, but they will not tell you how to get there or that it even exists. You have to know it for yourself. She told me to write in Wailele in the section marked OTHER. I got to talk to her later on the phone. She recognized my last name, so I told her who I was related to. Seems she knows my Aunty and danced with her for several years. She also knew my father and the rest of his siblings. I took that as a blessing to move forward with my expedition.

I'm going to end my description of how to get to this Falls here. My students and I were able to find it, and I understand why they want to protect it so much. It is beautiful! A priceless gem, making me think of how special Waiakeakua is to me. I have several pictures that the students took of the place, but I think that I'll wait to post them up. If you want to find it, either I'm going with you, or you need to do the work to find it yourself. Let me tell you, it's well worth the effort. And if you do find this place, make sure you respect it as much as you would any other natural resource that is scarce on this island paradise. Happy hunting!

PS I'll start writing up the other hikes we've done soon. Stay tuned!