Saturday, June 11, 2011

Waimoku Falls

From Hawaiian BU

I freely admit it- We don't upkeep this thing. A lot of times, both of us go on hikes with many different people, and have done so many the past six months, that I have forgotten which ones we have done, even as a tandem. Chinese BU is way more extreme than I am, but he does have his limits. I've almost given up on him writing about his different exploits, but they are so damn cool and amazing, that I still want to hear about them and read what happened. Even a couple of videos, please Chinese Bu?

Anyway, I decided to write about our visit to Waimoku Falls in Haleakala National Park in Kipahulu. Chinese BU works with 8th graders at Kaimuki YMCA, and he put a lot of effort into planning a trip to Maui for his kids. The things we did on the trip were amazing and fun, and after having talked with the kids about their experiences, I know that Chinese BU's hard work really made an impression upon them.

We stayed at Camp Keanae, and I must tell you, that place is serene, and perfect for the weekend we had planned. If you are a waterfall junkie as much as we are, you must drive the Hana Highway. There are so many waterfalls along the way, it almost feels like a completely different world. For me, it was just an absolute dream, and I certainly will spend a weekend there just doing wateralls.

Getting to Waimoku is fairly simple: just drive the super long Hana Highway, past Hana town, all the way to the Haleakala National Park, and park your vehicle in the main parking area. The park usually charges a fee to park there, but trust me, it's worth it.

To get to the falls, follow the signs up the valley. Because of it's location in the National park, it's fairly easy to get to the falls. I remember hearing stories about people wandering in the bamboo forest and not being able to find it. Don't worry, this trail is just like Manoa Falls, there is no way you can get lost going to the falls. The park has even created a boardwalk inside the bamboo forest for you to easily make your way through.

Also along the way, you can hear the water roaring down the stream to your right. It got me excited, and the 2 mile plus it took making our way up the valley really flew by without strain.
We also were taking many breaks to accommodate our 8th graders, allowing them to absorb the scenery.

You also cross 2 bridges, both with significant drops to the deep water below. I have seen several youtube videos of people jumping to the bottom, but since we had the kids in tow, I wasn't willing to have them jump from the same spot. Gotta be fair when you work with teenagers!

When you arrive at the falls, it is a sight to behold- over 400 feet tall, with multiple streams falling down into a rock-laden pool. There is a hill located to the right of the falls, which you can climb to the top and get a real nice vantage point of the falls and the pool. There were several families that were taking advantage of the pool, and you could tell that some of the really young kids there had made it up on their own power. We even saw a small boy make it up the trail barefoot!

I really found a good sense of peace at this falls. I know I have complained about "tourist" waterfalls before, but I must say that this waterfall really has something special about it that draws you to visit. Maybe if I had easier access to it, I might get tired of it. But I have always wanted to see this waterfall since small-kid time, and I think that has stayed with me throughout the years.

After the visit to the Falls, you must go to the Oheo Pools, better known as 7 Sacred Pools (even though there are more than 7!) There is a nice easy path that leads in the opposite direction from the same parking lot towards the ocean and the pools. These pools are very awesome, and there are many places you can find to jump from and bomb tourists. In fact, they really think you are some type nut, because when I jumped from this one point, all the tourists busted out their cameras and started taking pictures of me. Just be sure you check the pool for it's depth before you decide to jump from one of the high points.

I've got to share with all of you, the Hana coast hands down got the best stretch of waterfalls in the Hawaiian Islands. If waterfalls is your thing, you've got to visit there. And you should really start from Waimoku and make your way back towards Kahului.

I've got to thank Chinese BU for the opportunity to volunteer with his group, and letting me join in on the fun. I think I'm going to write about one more adventure, and then call it a night. Hope you guys stay safe out there in hiking land, and see you on the trails!

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