OHE September 10, 1999 (Waipio/Waimanu Trip--Part 2)

Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 12:27:54 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@k12.hi.us>
To: ohe-l@hawaii.edu
Subject: Day 2 - A Day Hike to Waiilikahi Falls and a boat ride up Waimanu

A passing rain shower woke me early Sunday morning so I sat up and turned on my flashlight. As I read the time from my indiglo watch (2:20 a.m.) I noticed something move inside my tent! I pointed the light at the source of the activity and discovered a mouse with its little eyes stairing back at me! "How did it get in?" I wondered. Upon closer inspection, I found a hole in the bottom of my canvas covering near a few wrapped food items. You can call me a coward or an elephant or whatever but there was no way the small creature and I were going to share the tent. To make a long story short, I ended up taking everything out of my humble abode depriving the mouse of all possible hiding places before it got the message and fled the scene. I finally returned to slumber land at 4 a.m.

Arose shortly before 7 a.m. to a cloudy overcast grey day (somewhat junky weatherwise) but enjoyed a leisurely morning. At 8:33 a.m. Mark and I set out for Waiilikahi Falls while Mike chose to "hold down the fort" to give his knee a chance to recover from the pounding of the two steep descents the previous day. We headed north away from where Waimanu Stream meets the ocean walking along the shore behind the other campsites and the beach. A short distance beyond the last campsite the two of us turned left into the valley. Soon we found ourselves under a canopy of kukui trees. Further ahead Mark and I noticed a smaller waterfall on the steep west wall of Waimanu fed by an elevated spring and decided to have a closer look. It reminded me of the Ka'au Crater cascade but much more precipitous. After acquiring H2O from the water source, I ascended steeply on a muddy trail paralleling the falls with Mark close behind. Despite the fact that the faint trail continued above my position, our curiosity had been sufficiently satisfied so we did an about face and returned to the footpath leading to Waiilikahi Falls.

Although marked with ribbon, an obvious swath guided us to the falls and we emerged from the canopy approaching the pool at 9:24 a.m. Even with the side trip to the smaller falls, the hike from campsite #3 to the pool below Waiilikahi Falls took less than one hour to accomplish. Richard McMahon writes "The valley is best explored from its western side, where several faint trails lead inland. Also from this side, you can hike to Wai'ilikahi Falls, a lovely bridal veil, cascading 320 feet into a magnificent pool. A dip in its brisk water makes the rough, 1-hour hike worthwhile."* Stuart Ball comments "The falls and limpid pool below are extraordinarily beautiful and well worth the walk. Wai'ilikahi means water with a single surface."**

Mark attempted to swim under the falls but failed due to the strong current generated by the powerful cascade. I gained pleasure from the classic sheeting action and, later, took a brief dip myself. Prior to our departure while reclining near the pool, some of the kayakers arrived. One of the dudes got naked (not a pretty sight) and entered the water but a woman waited until Mark and I left before removing her clothes. Bummers!

With Mark leading the way, the two of us reentered the canopy and explored deeper into Waimanu Valley contouring along the slope through low lying vegetation (path of least resistance). We made our goal Kakaauki or Lahomene Falls (the upper section of one of them can be seen from campsite #3) and upon finding Kakaauki Stream, followed the waterway until reaching a delighful pool. We climbed the small waterfall that fed the pool but the next one was too steep and slippery, the near vertical walls of the surrounding narrow gulch made bypassing the falls impossible. Soaked by a rain shower, Mark and I backtracked along Kakaauki Stream but instead of contouring chose to wade in Waihilau Stream toward the ocean. The river never got more than waist deep and contained many prons. At an area of deep mud, I exited the stream climbing out of the river bed to a hunter camp. Mark joined me after he almost got stuck. A freshly cut trail took us back to the stream but we opted to remain in the woods.

I moved ahead of Mark and a short distance from the Waiilikahi Falls trail I spotted Kyle, Evilia Torrez and friends in route to Waiilikahi. We exchanged greetings then I waited for Mark to arrive as the group passed. The two of us tramped to the falls once more to talk story with our fellow HTMC brethren. Kyle told us that despite their late arrival the previous early evening, the trip was turning out fine except for a horrible odor near their camp originating from a rotting pig carcass. If they only knew where it came from! Sunshine appeared briefly but another rain shower encouraged everyone to return to camp.

On the way back, Mark and I paused at the black sand beach, Mark for a swim in the ocean and I just to kick back, blue sky visible over the sea in the distance. After Mark finished catching waves in the shore break, he returned to campsite #3. Meanwhile, I decided to linger, gazing at the towering light green rocky sea cliff, the beach, and the waves breaking off the coast/crashing onto the shore. I enjoyed strolling on the pristine black sand beach at the edge of the shore break, white foam created by the waves crashing onto the beach.

Upon arriving at our campsite at 1:45 p.m., Mike had another fire going and I noticed that rain deep in the valley had caused 4 normally unseen waterfalls to form on the massive vertical wall in back of the valley. Helicopters occasionally flew overhead into the valley to look at the various cascades up close. Mark put a positive spin on the presence of the choppers by saying something like "we must be in a beautiful place if helicopters are buzzing around".

Between 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. Mark, Mike and I took a relaxing boat ride up Waimanu Stream about 200 yards inland of the campsites in the "Sovereign Queen", a metal row bow provided by the State DLNR to ford Waimanu Stream if periods of heavy rain make crossing the waterway on foot dangerous or impassible. The trip yielded better views of Waiilikahi Falls and the massive vertical wall. While in the boat with rain continuing to fall deep in the valley, we recognized 4 prominent waterfalls and 5 others on the sheer pali in back of the valley flowing from the summit to the valley floor. A lovely, impressive sight to behold! At the point in the river where we decided to turnaround, the three of us stopped paddling and let the current take us back to the launch area.

Momentary passing showers fell as we spent the remainder of the afternoon near the camp enjoying the fire and each others company. Before nightfall the mouse appeared close to the fire pit and I exclaimed "There it is! Get it! Kill it!". Later that night on two separate occasions, the furry creature jumped on Mark's leg and scurried over Mike's foot as we sat/stood beside the fire. I played mind games with my two colleagues saying "Watch out! That mouse is going to get into YOUR tents tonite!". Star action was unavailable for viewing until 3 a.m. when the skies cleared. Mike emerged from his tent at about that time and observed a wonderful array of stars overhead.


* McMahon, Richard, CAMPING HAWAI'I: A COMPLETE GUIDE. Honolulu: University Of Hawaii Press, 1997.

** Ball, Jr., Stuart M. THE BACKPACKERS GUIDE TO HAWAI'I. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1996.

== Paka

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