Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hunting Hawaii - Part II: Waipio Valley

Another unsuccessful hunt - this time for pigs - but a hunt that turned into a fantastic adventure nonetheless.  
(FYI: My plan was to hunt the Kohala Forest Preserve bordering Waipio Valley.  When I realized that the weather was not in our favor for pig hunting, we decided to hike around Waipio instead.  I did not hunt Waipio Valley.)

Our initial early-morning glimpse of the valley as we started down the infamous Waipio Valley road.  Four-wheel drive only...

 1,200 feet of water, cascading into the valley. 

Waipio was once home to the largest population of Hawaiians prior to Western contact.  Now just a couple hundred people live here, living off the land and for many, rarely coming out of the valley.  Why would they?  Water is channeled into fish ponds, taro patches, and watercress pools.  An amazing array of fruit grows unprompted - coconuts, mangoes, guava, papaya, breadfruit, coffee, and more.  And the wild pigs here are supposedly the plumpest of the island.  But I don't envy their mosquito problem!

That's a papaya tree on the right. 

 A hillside of impatiens.

The lower trail meanders along the far edge of the valley.

After finally making it to the black sand beach, we headed towards the cliff.  Waimanu Valley lies beyond.

Crossing the river with a loaded pack on my back and a shotgun in my hands was no easy feat.  Those pesky algae-covered rocks really complicate matters.

 At last we made it to the Muliwai Trail (or "Z trail", named for the zig-zag it cuts in the hillside - look closely at the very first photo).  The first mile takes you to the top - 1200 feet up.  The next 8 miles take you across the top and down into Waimanu Valley.  Today's was only a short excursion - someday I would love to make the trek.

 The view from about one-third of the way up the Z:

Looks are deceiving - more than two-thirds of a mile at 20% grade remains...

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