Thursday, March 5, 2015

High and Low on Maui, Part IV

For earlier posts in this Maui travelogue, please see Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Here's part four.

Ke ahupuaʻa o Kīpahulu, at sunrise

Hawaiʻi Research Adventure: Day 50

Woke up oceanside, at Kīpahulu campground in Haleakalā National Park. I woke up real early, even before the sun was up.

Dawn, palms, the ocean. Kīpahulu, East Maui

 I was glad to wake early because I wanted to hit the Pipiwai Trail before anyone else. And I did. I had the whole trail to myself all the way, only seeing other humans on the way out. The Pipiwai trail is named for the eponymous stream that it follows—pipiwai is also the name of a plant; it means "to sprinkle/percolate."

The sunrise image at top is from the trail. The trail rises 800 feet in two miles. I was in and out in just over two hours. Interestingly, of all my adventures over five days in Maui, this was really the only hike that I did! And it was splendid.

A huge banyan tree along the Pipiwai Trail, Kīpahulu section, Haleakalā National Park

Waterfalls along the Pipiwai Trail, Kīpahulu section, Haleakalā National Park

At times the trail passed through wild (sugarcane) and other agricultural plants; at times it passed through alien, invasive species such as bamboo; and at times it passed through little bits of native vegetation. Most of all, I walked through (and into) like one hundred spider webs! I was constantly covered in webbing—and sometimes a few spiders, too.
Bamboo forest, Pipiwai Trail, Kīpahulu section, Haleakalā National Park

Closing in on 800 feet elevation... Pipiwai Trail, Kīpahulu section, Haleakalā National Park

Finally, after passing through lots of diverse vegetation (and spider webs, too), the big pay-off was the view at the end: of the 400 ft. high Waimoku Falls. I complained in an earlier post about how underwhelming Mānoa Falls is, compared to the waterfalls I know back home in upstate New York. Well, Waimoku Falls is not underwhelming! The Pipiwai's waters have carved out a beautiful canyon here. It reminded me even a bit of Yosemite Falls in California, although on a much smaller scale.

Waimoku Falls, Ke Ahupuaʻa o Kīpahulu

 After my hike, it was off to spend the rest of the day—my last full day here—in ke ahupuaʻa o Hāna (the district of Hāna). The town of Hāna itself is sort of the center of East Maui, if you can call a town of 2,000 people a center. But it is. Here is where you can get food, groceries, gasoline: everything one needs from the capitalist, trans-local economy.

Hāna has one museum, the Hana Cultural Center. I hoped to visit, but it was closed. So I just poked around outside and took a few photographs.

The Hana Cultural Center

 On the grounds of the Cultural Center are a few interesting historic structures: a courthouse that from 1871 to 1978 served all of East Maui, and a jail that from 1871 to 1997 did the same! It is rare for nineteenth-century wooden structures to survive, but it seems that what preserved these buildings for so long was their functionality. For over one hundred years, rural East Maui residents relied on these buildings to provide "law and order."

The old courthouse (c. 1871), Hāna

The old jail (c. 1871), Hāna

 The other main historic attraction in Hāna is Wananalua Church, built c. 1838. On a Monday, it was completely empty of visitors.

Wananalua Church, Hāna
 
 Inside Wananalua Church, Hāna
 
 That's about it. I actually spent about six to seven hours just chillin' in Hāna town. I got a plate lunch from a food truck, got an ʻono popsicle from another vendor, got snacks twice from two different grocery stories. (Yes, I ate a lot because there was little else to do!) I walked many of the town's streets, and I spent a good few hours down at Hāna Bay, swimming, reading, writing, and just passing the day. This was, all in all (even with the morning hike), the most laid back and relaxing of all five days of my Maui adventure. I really liked hanging in Hāna town and it reminded me of when I lived in Catskill, New York (population approx. 5,000) and similarly had nothing to do on non-work days but just wander around. I like wandering.

Hāna Bay

 Wandering around Hāna Bay, I happened upon a small monument that was not mentioned in any of the guidebooks. It really was off the beaten path. Here it is:

A Hidden Monument: Here was born Kaʻahumanu, wife of Kamehameha?

The monument is on an unmarked trail on the edge of Hāna Bay

The monument reads: "Historical Landmark / Territory of Hawaii / Birthplace of Kaahumanu / Who Was Born in 1768 / And Died in 1832 / Favorite Wife of Kamehameha I / Kuhina Nui 1819-1832 / Queen Regent 1825-1832 / Tablet Erected 1928 by Superintendent of Public Works."

I wonder what in 1928 possessed the Territorial Government (Hawaiʻi was ruled as a U.S. territory from 1900 to 1959) to erect this marker. And why here? And how accurate is the historical marker? Anyway, it's an interesting document in the public history of these islands. Evidently, in the 1920s, the Territorial Government had an interest in promoting a greater understanding of Native Hawaiian history. To what end they did this, I do not know. Someone should go into the territorial government archives and find out!

Okay. One more post left in this series. Till next time.

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