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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.


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