What's up everyone, hope summer has been kind and allowed you to hike the trails of Oahu. As usual, both of us at 2-BU are busy with the YMCA, but we always seem to make sure we plan hiking into the programs we run. But we were finally able to find a day that both of us could hike and we chose to attempt Kaliuwa'a (again!)
We have both tried on many occasions to get to the falls, but each time we have been met with either a guard or some maintenance guys, and have been forced to find alternatives. I have discovered that others have been able to get there without interference, but that wasn't our luck previously. If you have never been to Kaliuwa'a before, it's probably been for a good reason. Located behind a closed state park on the road to the North Shore, you are not supposed to go and hike to this place, due to a very big tragedy that occurred there on Mother's Day in 1999. I leave you to find out more on your own if you must know the details.
Since that time, I guess they have a guard that watches over the place that gives out trespassing tickets if you are found there. It must be cheaper paying this guy's salary than what it costs for, other expenses. So each previous time we have gone, we have encountered this person, blocking our way. We figured that you had to go early in the morning, on a weekday, when no other person would hike the trail. We also ensured that we didn't park right in front of the park (big tip!) so that the guard did not think that someone was there. We decided to park at the stretch of beach, right before the Greater Mt Zion Church, and walk towards the park entrance.
Kaliuwa'a is not a long hike, but you do spend a good 15 to 20 minutes on the dirt road past the yellow gate until you reach the first dry stream crossing, and discover the actual trail. Several things you should keep in mind if you decide to do this hike-
1. You will be trespassing on private property, and if you encounter the guard, you most likely will have to take the hit, so hike this at your own risk. Not only were we concerned going into the trail about meeting the guard, but coming out of the valley as well. Kaliuwa'a is a gulch hike, and there are really no alternative paths you can take safely to escape the guard's notice as you exit. We encountered the guard twice right at the beginning of the actual trail, smart buggah!
2. Because it is a closed hike, it hasn't been maintained in years, and there is alot of overgrowth in some areas. The problem is compounded by the fact that there are no ribbons to mark the path, since they probably don't want you going deep into the gulch. But if you got good instincts, use some common sense, and keep communication good with your hiking crew, you should be ok. For the most part, you can see which way you should go, just remember to keep following the stream up the valley. When you see the signs saying "Park Closed" along the way, you know you must be getting closer.
3. Beware of Falling Rocks! This is a gulch hike you are doing, very similar to Ma'akua (read our blog about that adventure). Even a rock the size of a quarter falling from that height can do major damage to you. We were very fortunate on this day that nothing fell on us, and I pray for you if you decide to try this hike. Take this warning under serious consideration.
The valley is very fertile! I was amazed at the amount of Mountain Apples bursting from every tree we passed. We also found Kukui Nut, Guava, Torch Ginger, and Avocado in abundance as we progressed towards the falls. I also have a feeling that there is a healthy pig population back there, just because there are probably no control mechanisms in place. I'm fairly certain you could survive there for a long time if the situation warranted it.
One other thing- you could feel the "mana" in this place. It is very strong, and rightfully so. I really don't want to elaborate about it, but if you are familiar with the Hawaiian history of the place, as well as the recent catastrophe that happened there, you probably understand what I'm referring to. We both decided not to swim at the falls, which is a big thing for us, since we swim at every falls we go to. It just didn't feel right, for either of us. Maybe next time.
The falls is beautiful, and exactly as I remember it from the last time I went there (around 1996). Personally, it was an experience I was ready for, and I look forward to completing it again sometime in the future. Gotta thank Chinese Bu for taking videos of the trek, and I hope he attaches his completed version here in the near future. Hope everyone out there stays safe, and we'll see you out on the trails. Aloha!
Sacred Fall video
Sacred Fall video