I woke Friday morning to the sounds of bunny hunting the yard. We still had failed to catch the little bunny living on his own under the back porch, and La’a had inadvertently let Flower out of the cage she was staying in with the other two babies a few days before. Stacy had the day off, so naturally, she and Sean were out at the crack of dawn bunny-hunting. It was a successful endeavor – they were able to chase the renegade bunny into a hole, which Sean eventually dug it out of and placed it in the cage with its siblings. They all proceeded to chase each other around and fight! We hadn’t seen that before, with any of the baby bunnies we have dealt with, but they ended up getting along eventually. The poor little renegade bunny was bedraggled and skinny compared to the others, but we’re hoping some time with regular food and low stress will change that. Later that day, Stacy was able to catch Flower as well and put her back in with her babies – this is ideal because she really should still be feeding them. We were both quite relieved to have Momma and all the baby bunnies under our control.
Anyways, on to my adventures of the day. I didn’t have anything planned, so Stacy asked if I wanted to tag along with her to Waimea to sit at the Starbucks and get some work done on my blog while she got her hair cut. Loitering at Starbucks is, of course, one of my favourite pastimes, so I decided I couldn’t pass this up. I had plans to catch right up on my blog and get some other catching up on life done as well. I arrived at Starbucks around 10:30 and promptly regressed back to my studenty ways and procrastinated a little by sending emails, looking at photos, and watching an episode of Gossip Girl online. About halfway through this episode, someone sat down at my table. I looked up, and it was none other than Sean’s brother Rhinehart. He was surprised to find me hanging out in Waimea (which is where he lives), so we chatted for a bit about the family’s plans for the day. When he heard I didn’t have much going on, he asked if I wanted to go to Waipio Valley.
“Right now?” I asked.
“Well… yeah. Let’s do something random!” was his response.
I thought about it for a minute, and though I had my productive day all planned out, this was far more appealing. Waipio Valley was still on my list of things to see on the island, and I knew I wouldn’t go alone. Here was a good opportunity to cross that off the list. I dropped Stacy a quick text and we hopped into Rhinehart’s truck. I was a little concerned that there would be a problem with my text and Stacy would show up to Starbucks and worry that I had gone missing. Though I spent a bit of the day worrying about that (I received no response from her before we reached the valley, and there was no service while in the valley), it all turned out just fine.
We stopped for lunch at a little Italian place in Honokaa, then made our way towards Waipio Valley. On that road, we picked up a hitch-hiker that was heading to the valley as well (don’t worry, he just hopped into the back of the truck – we had no real contact with him!). I was amazed when we arrived at the Waipio Valley viewpoint.
After I took my photo, Rhinehart and I climbed back into his truck and made our way down the steep, steep road. I have no good photos of this, but most people don’t tend to do this drive. The road is narrow and steep – you definitely need a 4WD vehicle to make it down. Also, most rental car companies do not cover anything that happens in Waipio Valley, so most tourists stop up at the viewpoint, snap their photo there, and maybe if they are adventurous, hike down the hill into the valley. I would not be excited to do the hike back up, but that’s just me.
We made the descent into Waipio Valley listening to Jack Johnson tunes, which I think is very fitting for a Hawaiian excursion. Anyways, we got down the hill and drove on a narrow dirt road full of large puddles for awhile, but eventually made it to the beach. It wasn’t the nicest day, but it was still an absolutely gorgeous location.
We both flung our sandals off and hiked barefoot through the river rapids and down to the far end of the beach. Waipio Valley is an absolutely beautiful location surrounded by steep hills. This is the type of place I can totally imagine ancient Hawaiians living, never having contact with the outside world.
Eventually we walked back along the beach and got back into Rhinehart’s truck to do some offroading on the other side of the valley. We spent probably an hour and a half driving around randomly down narrow dirt roads, and through streams and small rivers. Many people have houses down in Waipio Valley. It is a beautiful location, but I don’t envy them – based on the rivers we drove through, it would be easy for them to get trapped during rainy times. Many of the houses I saw remind me of small cabins you would see in the Yukon.
At one point, Rhinehart stopped the truck, opened his door, and picked this giant fruit up off the ground, which he then gave to me.
“Thanks… but what is it?” I said.
“Maybe a grapefruit?” was his response.
The next night, a group of us had an argument about what it was… a few people believing grapefruit and one lady being utterly convinced it was a breadfruit. When we cut it open, I think the consensus was still grapefruit but none of us dared to try it. I can’t believe I forgot to take any photos of this strange fruit. But back to Waipio Valley for now…
At one point, we sped through a giant puddle in the road and water splashed everywhere, including right in my open window. Even though Rhinehart’s window was wide open, he somehow escaped the muddy water. He apologized profusely, but I just laughed.
During our adventures offroading in the valley, we came across a few people, several dogs, and some wild horses, one of which came right up to the truck and stuck her head in, looking for food.
We eventually came to the end of our adventures in the valley, hitting a river that the road went into and didn’t seem to come out of at any location. We turned around and made our way back to the road out of the valley. We came upon a couple hikers gazing sadly up at the hill they were about to climb. Rhinehart pulled up beside them and offered them a ride. They both gratefully clambered into the back of the truck, and rode with us to the top of the hill.
I’m definitely glad I was able to do this trip with Rhinehart because, had I come alone, I never would have driven down into the valley, and I definitely wouldn’t have hiked it alone. This was the perfect way to experience Waipio Valley, with the exception that we didn’t bring Rhinehart’s paddleboard… there is a small river by the beach that he says is very good for paddling, which I think would’ve been a blast.
We made our way back to Honokaa, and decided to cruise the Kohala Coast a little bit. He brought me along the upper road from Waimea to Kohala, and when he heard I had not yet seen Pololu Valley, we went in that direction.
We made a small detour to the birthplace of King Kamehameha. As I am learning in my Hawaiian history book, King Kamehameha is perhaps one of the most influential icons in Hawaii’s past. He is the man who brought together the Hawaiian Islands under one ruler and established the Kingdom of Hawaii. Fun fact: his full name was Kalani Paiʻea Wohi o Kaleikini Kealiʻikui Kamehameha o ʻIolani i Kaiwikapu kaui Ka Liholiho Kūnuiākea. I totally copy/pasted that from Wikipedia, because it is a little ridiculous. Anyways, because Kamehameha is such an icon in Hawaiian history, I was surprised to find that his birthplace was not really a well-marked touristy location. We went down a random road through a few fields with windmills, and eventually came to a dirt road.
“Too bad it’s dry!” Rhinehart said. “It’s fun to drive here when it’s muddy – that’s most of the reason I wanted to come here.”
We continued along this dirt road to the birthplace of Kamehameha the Great despite the lack of mud. When we arrived, I was amazed at the location. There were short walls built out of stones right near the ocean, but no building still standing. There was still a very cool feeling in the area. There were a few offerings sitting on a pile of stones outside the entrance. On a clear day, you would be able to see Maui… unfortunately we didn’t have a clear day. The floor inside the rock walls was covered with rocks from a river bed. As Rhinehart pointed out, where did the Hawaiians get these? There was not a river in sight…
After taking in the atmostphere here for a few minutes, we got back in the truck and made our way back to the highway to head towards Pololu. There was one mud puddle along the dirt road, and Rhinehart did his best to get his truck as muddy as possible.
We arrived at the Pololu Valley viewpoint a few minutes before 5PM, and almost did the hike down into the valley, but decided against it. We could probably make it down and back up before dark, but we had already had a long day so made the decision not to risk it. I think this is a hike I will want to do another day. When I have proper footwear. I mean, when I packed for this day, I thought I was just going to spend a few hours sitting on my laptop at Starbucks. I wasn’t exactly prepared for these adventures. So I took a few pictures at Pololu, and then we got back into Rhinehart’s truck so he could take me back to Waikoloa.
After I got home and had eaten dinner, I was exhausted, but Stacy managed to talk me into a game of Scrabble. And again, not just Scrabble, but Super Scrabble the Deluxe Edition. It’s a little excessive. I finally came out a winner though… I think all that practice I’m getting playing Lexulous against Gramma on Facebook is paying off.
To take a note out of Kristin and Justine’s blog (www.wonderandwanderlust.wordpress.com), these are some things I learned today:
– It is safer and more comfortable to off-road without your seatbelt on. It allows your body to move around with out being jolted by the restriction the seatbelt creates.
– 4WD vehicles really can drive through rivers. Who knew?
My favourite thing about today was the fact that this whole adventurous day just happened with a chance meeting at Starbucks. Rhinehart even told me later that was the first time he’d been at Starbucks in at least 4 months. And the only reason he came in was because L&L’s up the way had stopped serving coffee.