Monday, June 20, 2016

Hawaiian Islands Travel Series: Northeast Maui: Waimoku Falls and Ohe'o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)

Final Day 8: Waimoku Falls and Ohe'o Gulch

A FEW BRAVE SOULS will endeavor to travel the entire Hana Highway, and eventually run full circle. However, after taking it up to Haleakalā and back, it was safe to say we were done. The Hana Highway’s tense turns and one lanes will eventually fray your nerves after a while. As such, we did make one last trip out past Hana to Waimoku Falls, the stunning 400 foot waterfall that is one of the taller ones in Hawaii accessible by foot.

Make sure to save your receipt if you recently visited Haleakalā when gaining entry to this state park. Also, go early! We had one up on other tourists since we stayed nearby in Waiʻānapanapa. By the time we finished the hike around noon, the parking lot was full.

Many guidebooks had recommended Ohe’o Gulch, also known as the Seven Sacred Pools, that Waimea Falls eventually filters into. However, these unfortunately were not as impressive. The water was murky, and there were hoards of people lazing about in them. 

However, Pipiwai Trail, a four mile round trip leading up to Waimoku Falls, is an incredible journey in itself!

The trail opened up less than 1o minutes in to the majestic Makahiku Falls. Mist floated about it, egrets soared gracefully past iridescent rainbows, and a vast valley of lush, green foliage carpeted the earth. We stopped and gawked for a while. Next we arrived at this gigantic banyan tree, an old grandmother tree that was a playground unto itself.


The trail was full of more surprises.  After we switch-backed over several bridges and spotted tinier waterfalls, the trail abruptly plunged into a mysterious bamboo forest. The wind rustled through, making a haunting, rattling song, and I half-expected to see people dancing around like something out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The trail changed to a boardwalk at this point to avoid all of the mud. It was very pleasant and cool.

Lastly, we made it to the foot of the waterfall itself. We were visiting in summer, so Waimoku Falls wasn’t running at its highest. In the spring, people can rarely get close to the falls because there is so much run-off. However, we were able to get up close to marvel and earn incredibly sore necks staring up. I cannot say enough good things about this hike; just be careful and wary of your surroundings when visiting the falls. Falling boulders and cliff side avalanches can happen.

We were ready to drive a little bit further. Thus our journey along the Hana Highway ended here, at a beautiful shady church overlooking the deep blue of the sea. This is where famous aviator Charles Lindbergh is buried. We took our time at Ho'omau Church, sat, breathed, and enjoyed the wondrous majesty that is Maui.*

*Do you have any recommendations when visiting Maui? Share a comment below!

Read more in the Hawaiian Travel Series:
(0) Intro: Welcome to Maui
(1) Day 1: Northwest Maui: Lahaina
(3)Day 3: Central Maui: Paia and Makawao

Disclaimer: the above is presented as fiction, not fact. *Names have been changed for the sake of privacy.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June 2016 Book Review: Laplatia

LAPLATIA, Or, the City that Could Not Dream 

By Alexandre A. Loch 

~Book Review~

Warning! MAJOR Spoilers!

THIS BOOK TAKES AN INTROSPECTIVE LOOK at the lives of ordinary people living in the city of Laplatia. In a dystopian future, the Earth’s energy sources have been depleted. Humanity invents “The Extractors” to process the last form of energy left: dreams. Extractors produce the electrical substance called Fos, which takes a terrible toll on the people. Loch tells the story interchangeably between large, sweeping blocks of exposition to move the plot along and small, microscopic snapshots into seven characters’ lives.

The prose is very concise and clear. The author has an interesting style that pulls you deeper into each character’s head for one moment, but then shoots you back out into the public the next. Various characters have Greek names like Hermes, Thantos, and Ophelia, a lot of whom meet tragic ends, which helps add a sense of dread to the dream-like quality of the book. Some characters are more sympathetic than others. I didn’t find myself particularly attached to any of them, except for Hermes, who had a situation with the highest stakes involved.

At the end, humanity recognizes that they exploited their own souls along with the planet’s resources. However, humanity continues to view itself as “separate” from the planet rather than a part of it, and that it would be better off going back to exploiting the planet’s resources then to recognize how everything interconnects (Loch 116). The people as well suddenly embrace a form of communism in that no one should have more than the other. Of course, this seems all too good to be true. Sure enough, one of the characters becomes restless and makes a fateful decision which starts the cycle all over again.

I liked many of the story’s points like how people all began to sound alike without imagination. Sometimes I felt like there was too much exposition and I wanted more showing rather than telling, but overall, the balance between them was well-done. There are a lot of different avenues for thought in this book, and it’s a great look into Western psychology and how overarching societal decisions impact lives on an individual scale.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. This does not impact my opinion in any way.