Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The long and winding road... through bamboo

The bamboo forest in Kipahulu is one of my favorite places to explore on this island. It is a few miles past the town of Hana and well worth the trip. Below the bamboo forest is what is commonly known to visitors as the Seven Sacred Pools. Funny thing is, there are actually more than seven pools and they aren't sacred. If you get up early and get out to Hana as the sun is just rising like a big orange egg on the horizon, it is well worth the trip.

It is located in Haleakala National Park in the Kipahulu District. The trail winds uphill for about 2 miles so be sure to wear solid toed shoes. It can also get VERY slippery after it rains so grab a hold of tree branches as needed on the way down.

The hike up from the National Park Headquarters takes about 45 minutes to an hour and follows a ridge above the waterfalls cascading down Oheo Gulch. Pretty cool views!

You enter the bamboo forest through a tunnel of bamboo at the end of a bridge over a waterfall. It is almost surreal.
Once inside the bamboo forest, it begins to sway and clack around you, creating a calm serenity that probably made many cultures around the world love bamboo as much as they do. The boardwalk winds its way through the forest until you get to a couple of stream crossings. These are very slippery as well so be sure to watch your step.
Once across the streams you will see above you a 4oo ft waterfall known as Waimoku Falls cascading down the cliff. Pretty impressive! I love to sit along the hillside just listening to the waterfall and watching the rainbows appear and reappear in its mist. It is truly a site to behold for the hearty traveler. What a magnificent way to spend a day!

Safety note: You can usually wade or sit in the shallow pools below but oftentimes there are boulders and rocks that get brought down by the powerful waterfall so you may want to stay a few yards away from the actual heavy flow of water. You don't want to earn a Darwin Award for getting taken out by a waterfall. :-)
A Hui Hou,

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