Sunday, June 10, 2007

Big Island - Waipi'o Valley

Waipi'o Valley is a gorgeous, remote valley on the north side of the Big Island. It's not easy to get to. You have to drive down a paved but incredibly steep one-lane road that curves along the side of the cliff. Four-wheel drive is a must, as it's a 45 degree angle down.

Once you're down there, it's like being in another world. There are actually about 50 people that live down here, mostly strange recluses that are completely self-sufficient by the crops they grow here. You get the impression that they don't get out much. The dirt road winds through the valley, across rocks and streams. On the ocean side is a beautiful black sand beach. This extremely isolated area had a very unique feel, quite different from anything else we've experienced in Hawaii.

This steep road requires 4-wheel drive, and is the only way in and out of the valley:

The valley floor has gorgeous, lush scenery all around. At points you have to drive through the river, like below. Conor was enjoying this as he pretended to be in a Jeep commercial.
The entry to the black sand beach. Black sand beaches are made of lava. Once the volcano stops creating lava, there is a finite amount of black sand that is eventually washed away forever. That's why Kauai doesn't have any black sand beaches - because it's too old. The young Big Island, on the other hand, has many black sand beaches. It once boasted what was considered to be the world's finest black sand beach. But then it was consumed by lava and lost forever in the early 90s.

Panoramic video footage of Waipi'o Valley from the beach:

1 comment:

Derek said...

What an awesome looking trip and great looking pictures. It looks like it will be harder and harder to come home as time passes, eh?