Waipio Valley - Valley of the Kings
Trip Start Jan 14, 2013
4Trip End Jan 25, 2013
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We had set up a tour with a local company, which Scott will do with the group in a couple weeks, that runs 4-wheel drive vans into Waipio. We enjoyed the commentary from enthusiastic young Douglas, a local through and through, though his story of Kamehameha carrying off a rock that had to weigh at least 1000 pounds strained our credulity. He deflected any culpability by claiming that “you can believe Hawaiian legends or not – it’s up to you”.
The valley was a favorite haunt of Hawaiian royalty in times of yore, hence the moniker, “Valley of the Kings”
Private property is jealously guarded here - privacy is why people choose to live down such a formidable road - so it’s difficult to stray too far from the county road. We asked Douglas to drop us off where it ended, and we walked back to the beach. Water levels are low due to a drought, so low river levels made for easy fording – chin deep water – and we accepted Douglas' challenge to cross the valley on the public beach and hike the King’s trail that climbed up the far side. The trail continues through six other valleys that cut their way through this unique geological slice of the Big Island. We only climbed about halfway out of Waipio – walking in the footsteps of Kamehameha, who apparently had a very long and deep stride. The king was reputedly a huge fellow – some accounts say 6 feet, 7 inches tall. One of the Kamehameha legends holds that he was hidden here in Waipio as an infant to escape the malevolent attention of one of the Big Island’s chiefs, who had heard a prophecy that Kamehameha would become a mighty chief.
We descended back to the black sand beach and worked our way to the far side of the valley. We’d descended here by van with Douglas a couple of hours earlier, and we encountered him and his daughter again as we ascended by foot, eyes bulging and tongues drooping. This, remember, is the 1 mile long access road with 30% grades.
Back at the top, we collapsed into our rental car, cranked up the air conditioning, and drove off for a stop at Tex’s, a local eatery. Tex specializes in malasada, a Portuguese donut fill with different flavors of delectable, and we plan to lunch here with the group. Since I won't be back with Scott and the group, I opted for two! Yum! Tomorrow, we head for Volcanoes National Park for one of my all-time favorite walks!