Skip to content


Day 5: Down the Valley and Up the Mountain

We got up bright and early this morning to challenge the Waimanu Valley trail right next to the house we were staying at:

Waimanu Valley

Waimanu Valley

The trail was… a challenge. Despite being only about a mile in distance, it’s apparently 25″ grade on average, which is ridiculously steep. We started about 2000ft feet up and got down to sea level in about a mile. Also, the “trail” isn’t as much a “trail” as an un-maintained one-lane road that is uneven and rocky. Since it’s a road, 4wd vehicles can actually go down it. And, since it had rained recently, the entire way was slippery as well.

Going down Waimanu Valley road

Going down Waimanu Valley road

The way down was extremely slow-going, as slipping and falling was really easy at certain parts. Though, one nice thing about the slow pace was that you could take your time to enjoy looking out into the valley and ocean:

Waimanu Valley

Waimanu Valley

There also seems to be a small farming village or something in valley?

Very Non Non Biyori

Very Non Non Biyori

When we finally got down, we found that we needed to walk about another mile or so to get to the beach. This walk was a closed road that appeared to have not been maintained in a really long time. Though, this road was thankfully flat and therefore so much easier than the preceding mile.

Eventually, we made it to the foot of the valley and the ocean:

In the valley

In the valley

Apparently near the ocean it’s privately-owned land held by the Kamehameha School or something similar.¬†Apparently things like camping are not allowed.

Private Property

Private Property

When we got down to the beach, there were already a few trucks parked there and a number of dudes surfing:

Surfing dudes

Surfing dudes

They also apparently set up camp at the lake nearby:

I didn't tell anybody.

I didn’t tell anybody.

The lake there is quite picturesque, with sunlight down on the valley and everything and the lake streaming out into the ocean:

Valley lake

Valley lake

Also picturesque were the neat column of Hawaii John’s portapotties just kinda sitting right there in the woods:

Sometimes you just gotta go

Sometimes you just gotta go

After admiring the ocean and lake and valley, we headed back up the ridiculously steep road. Surprisingly, it’s actually easier to head uphill on this trail. It’s definitely more tiring, but not having to worry about balancing yourself and potentially slipping and falling makes it much easier.

On the way up, vans shuttling what appear to be sightseers also started heading down the ridiculously steep, slippery one-lane road. This meant getting out of the way well ahead of time. These vans even went down with open doors so passengers could record the trip down:

Open door in  death-defying van

No, seriously.

It’s hard to see, but the driver here saw me taking a picture and is actually posing with both of his hands in this picture. Kinda ridiculous. Kinda awesome.

After an arduous 45min or so of stairmastering our way up the slope, we got back to the house, showered, and started to make our way towards Hilo. Our route for today can be seen here in pink:

Day 5 Route (pink)

On the way, for whatever reason, there was this pickup truck in front of us with a dog just kinda surfing on top of it:

Pickup-surfing Doggie

Pickup-surfing Doggie

We stopped by Laupahoehoe Beach Park on the northeast shore of the Big Island to check out the awesomely blue water and the ocean scenery:

Laupahoehoe Beach Park

Laupahoehoe Beach Park

There were quite a few people there, also enjoying the scenery and taking pictures of the waves:

Wave-watchers @ Laupahoehoe

Wave-watchers @ Laupahoehoe

Walking around the area, there’s a few weird things that are just kinda there. For example, I have no idea what this concrete thing was. A support beam maybe? Part of a building? But how did it even get there? Either way, it looks like the ocean has claimed it.

Post-oceanic Scene

Post-oceanic Scene

There’s also this mysterious sign thing that just kinda looks out into the ocean. I think it’s a navigation thingy for ships? Not sure.

Ocean-watching Sign

Ocean-watching Sign

After seeing Laupahoehoe (which is a lot of fun to type, btw), we also visited a scenic drive near Hilo that was… meh. I didn’t take any pictures mostly because I was driving.

Getting into Hilo, we stopped by a tourist/shopping center to grab some lunch:

Hilo

Hilo

Hilo’s the biggest city on the Big Island, and it was… kinda weird to see so many cars and people after spending time in national parks and beaches and the like.

We stopped by a place called Cafe Pesto that had a whole bunch of people there. Even had a wait and everything.

Cafe Pesto

Cafe Pesto

I had a BBQ Shrimp pizza that was pretty damn good:

Shrimp pizza :9

Shrimp pizza :9

After checking in to our hotel and settling down for a bit, we headed up the mountains about 9000ft high to visit the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy (aka Great Observatory Onizuka).

Onizuka Observatory

Onizuka Observatory

Apparently, it’s a pretty famous observatory up in the mountains of Hilo. Being really high (up about the rain clouds and everything), it was also really cold. Apparently, we had missed our chance to go up higher (about 12000 ft) where the actual telescopes are. So, we stuck around the visitor’s center:

Onizuka Observatory Visitor's Center

Onizuka Observatory Visitor’s Center

The visitor’s center had a whole bunch of things on sale, such as hot chocolate and instant noodles. They also had useful warnings such as this:

Moo, muthafucka.

Moo, muthafucka.

Luckily, I never ran into (ha!) any of these invisible cows, but the thought is kinda scary. (And the warning is kinda awesome).

Telescope @ Onizuka

Telescope @ Onizuka

We headed back down into town before it got too dark (and my right ear popped from the change in air pressure, ow!) and got some dinner at a place called Ken’s Pancakes that served pretty much everything. I got a Chili Loco Moco that more or less replaced the gravy with chili.

Chili Loco Moco :9

Chili Loco Moco :9

Posted in US Travel.

Tagged with , .


0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.