Day 4: SECOND ATTEMPT
Unlike the first attempt, we didn’t bother trying to do a Haleakala Sunrise on this day. Besides, Julie was already getting sick and I opted to start the day a couple hours later at 5am. Nonetheless, redoing the Hana Highway was the order of the day.
It was 7am and once again we were back on the Hana Highway. We knew there was already less water this time around as the Waikamoi Stream waterfall was not visible from the road – unlike two days ago. We also returned to the Lower Puohokamoa Falls, where we found the better vantage point, but the falls had disappointingly low flow.
After this waterfall, we decided to hunt down the waterfalls we managed to miss the first time around. So first up was the Ha’ipua’ena Falls. This one started next to a bridge and it was a short but slippery walk to a rather murky but serene plunge pool with a tiny waterfall spilling into it.
Even though we were here very early, there were still locals that managed to catch up to us. We did what we were supposed to do in letting them pass when we found a pullout. After all, these folks know these roads way better than us tourists, so why make them wait and breathe the exhaust from our rental car for longer than they need to?
Next, we then showed up early enough to claim one of the pullout spots by the bridge for the Upper Waikani Falls (or the Three Bears). And on this day, the flow was definitely low enough so we could tell there were three bears this time.
Beyond this waterfall, we then paid more careful attention to Wailuaiki Falls. It wasn’t until we passed by a bridge and looked over the shoulder towards the gulch did we spot it. So on this one, we went to the nearest pullout to get out of the way of traffic, then walked the road towards the falls for a better look and photo op.
After Makapipi Falls, we then took the ‘Ula’ino Road past a pair of fords towards its end. In this case, we were pursuing the Helele’ike’oha Falls – also known as the Blue Pool. This waterfall was quite memorable because it faced the ocean as its plunge pool was sheltered by loose boulders protecting it from the crashing waves.
The walk to get to this spot seemed pretty easy with a minor crossing where an inlet or stream met the waves, but it was only a short hot to get across this little section before we were home free to get to the falls.
It was a seemingly too-good-to-be-true waterfall as I couldn’t imagine a better situated waterfall!
Next, Julie and I took a brief loop detour towards some beach that was said to have pink sands. But to be honest, we were a little hasty in this search and merely spotted a beach with some rocky offshore islets in the distance. We weren’t sure if this was the beach stated in the Blue Book, but we got our photos, got a sense of the scene, and then left.
Then, we were on the familiar roads leading beyond Hana. This time, when we approached Wailua Falls, we saw that Paihi Falls was way smaller than it was just two days ago! It made us wonder whether this was really a legit waterfall as it seemed to be flowing so well earlier.
Then, we decided to pursue what the Blue Book called the Photo-sized Falls. There was definitely a use trail to get down from the pullout down to the pool beneath the falls. It was a bit slippery and steep, but quite manageable.
I had trouble getting the full length of the base of this cascade on my camera. So I just got my shots of this and left.
Then, we made a hasty roadside stop before a bridge with another waterfall falling beneath it. This one was supposed to be Pua’a-lu’u Falls. We took some hasty shots from the road before someone behind us honked and urged us to keep going.
Just beyond this bridge, there was some interesting shrine (we did notice this two days ago) inside some small alcove perched at about eye-level on the cliff. It seemed like one of those Asian shrines that brought be back to those times my parents took me to Taiwan. But in any case, we didn’t stop and examine this any further and just kept going.
When it was 12pm, we finally made it to Ohe’o Gulch – also known as the “Seven Sacred Pools.” We spent some time hiking to its scenic Lower Pools, where lots of people were frolicking in the waters beneath the picturesque waterfalls.
This pleasant hike constantly had the smell of guava but it also presented numerous waterfalls – both seen and heard.
Along the way, we saw the 200ft Makahiku Falls.
Then, we saw an old banyan tree which helped orient us as we used it as sort of a landmark. Prior to encountering this large tree, the trail was a little confusing as there were numerous paths criss-crossing this way and that. Some of the paths were false, and others led to the same place.
But after the footbridges, we then went into a bamboo forest, which was both memorable but also spooky in its own way.
Finally after the bamboo forest, we made it to the 400ft Waimoku Falls.
That last waterfall was described to us by an awestruck lady as a “spiritual experience.” Along the way, we passed through an eerie bamboo forest, which blocked out sun in some parts and had mysterious knocking sounds throughout. We even got to check out the so-called Infiniti Pool atop Makahiku Falls. Very cool!
Now we saw why Ohe’o Gulch was such a popular tourist attraction.
On the way back, we decided to take a detour towards the top of Makahiku Falls. That was where we were in pursuit of the so-called “Infiniti Pool.” There was a trail that ended right at the stream above the falls, and I guess with a little imagination, we could see why the Blue Bible authors gave this area such a name.
It was a pretty serene scene and we could even hear the hum of planes in the distance seeimingly flying below our line of sight!
Anyways, it was 4pm when we finished hiking and continued towards the unsealed parts of the Hana Highway. Now that the weather was nice today, we could spend some time appreciating the scenery. There was one moment where we liked the view of a particular bay, stopped to take photos, and then were startled when someone behind us angrily honked the horn to get us moving!
Next, we stopped at the unsigned trailhead for Alelele Falls. Julie was tired so she stayed in the car. I grabbed the camera and did the roughly 10-minute hike and scramble.
After taking photos of this waterfall and returning to the car, we continued along the now-familiar unpaved road. And now that the clouds had parted, we could even see the barren slopes of this windy yet leeward side of Haleakala.
When all was said and done on this day, I felt better about our Hana Highway waterfall experience. Still, I knew there were more big waterfalls that we missed. Thus, the double dose of Hana wasn’t enough and I’m still itching to return to Maui and do it again…