Hidden away down a single road on the East side of this gorgeous island of Molokai is Halawa Valley. After winding round the southern coast you turn a corner and wow!..There before you is a gorgeous landscape and bay that if you pan look inland from, leads upstream through stunning greenery to towering natural waterfalls.
It seems such a peaceful and surreal place. But this place has been the oldest continually inhabited place in Hawaii. People have lived in Halawa Valley since 650 AD. When you look at it you can see why. The valley is deep for protection and the bay is perfect for launching boats. The land perfectly fertile to support them.
In fact, up until 1946 there was a village here with thousands of people. A large community. Then a tsunami suddenly struck, wiping out many houses as well as ruining the land with the salt water. This forced a lot of people to move on and away.
A Cultural Hike Up The Valley
If you want to experience and learn more about Hawaii, the ancient cultures, the people that lived in the area then this is one excursion you cannot miss. Our guide was the well known Pilipo Solatorio, a man with great passion. He was born and raised in the valley and his grandfather taught him the old traditions when he was a child and thankfully he is able to pass history down to us before it was lost.
All the way up the 2 mile trail to the falls you can see signs of an old civilisation amongst the tropical green thick forest. Ancient stone pathways, remains of houses/places of worship and even ancient birthing stones nestled deep in the vines and leaves.
Whilst you are mesmerised with the sights around you, Pilipo has a vast amount of knowledge and tradition to pass on to you along the route. The pride is in evidence from him and you cannot fail to learn. This is not just a tour to see trees and beautiful waterfalls in paradise, this is also a trip for learning about the culture and history.
Suddenly, the trees open, and.. there they are.. the 250-foot Moa’ula Falls. Double tiered falling down the mountainside and into the start of the valley. A sight you can spend hours gazing at, in total peace and only the sound of water falling and birds. And yes, pack your swimming gear as you can swim below the falls in the natural pool that has formed before the river.
The few people that remained in the area after the tsunami used irrigation techniques and the water from this waterfall to bring the valley back to fertile life.
A beautiful day, a learning day, a day many should experience. I love Molokai, and will be back for more I am so sure.
Please note the trail passes over private land and the area is restricted to guided hikes only. The guides make the difference anyway.