The Tragedy of Sacred Falls, the most beautiful Park on the Island of Oahu
by Mary Ross
Prior to the Mothers day landslide that killed 8 people and injured 50 others, on Mothers Day of 1999, Sacred Falls State Park was my favorite hike on this Island.
Between the Years of 1989 and 1999 I, many of my friends, and my daughters, who at that time were between the ages of 8 and 18, (born Sept., 1980, & Nov., 1981) hiked up to this falls
dozens of times. Probably at least every 3 to 6 months when we would find a time and a group to go with. It was, and is my favorite place to hike on Oahu
The water was much deeper, cleaner and clearer, and the pool at the bottom of the falls, much larger than Manoa
mudhole. Sacred Falls
is stunning. Much more beautiful than any other on this island. The trail itself is much more user friendly, than Maunawili Falls
, which is the second best falls trail on Oahu
Maunawili at that time, could only be accessed by hiking in from the Pali Lookout, or by running through a residential back yard to get to the trailhead from the end of Auloa Rd. (and hoping not to get yelled at by the residential property owner for crossing his yard to get there)
My best friend, Julie introduced me to this hike sometime around 1989. She had already lived here several years before I moved to Oahu from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and she is an adventurous spirited person. Since I've known her, Jules has always known the cool stuff to see and do, wherever she lives. Here, (Oahu), Florida, (before here) and now Henderson, Nevada. That's one of the reasons we're very close friends, more like sisters, both of us LIKE TO FIND THE GOOD STUFF. (Hiking, diving, mountain biking, kayak trips, exploring the amazing beauty of nature, whatever of nature's amazing grace that is
left to us in our constantly modernizing (paving over everything) world.
Whoever you are, who wrote this article for WORLD OF WATERFALLS
, you aren't the only one who noticed that this 1100 ft. waterfall was by FAR, hands down the most beautiful waterfall on this little island. The others, Maunawili
, are alright. This one was truly a gem. Amazing, Amazing.
According to the Hawaii
for Visitors website, "Even before that incident occurred, the park was considered dangerous, because deaths had
occurred on the waterfall trail when flash floods from rain storms in the mountains swept hikers down the canyon."
Shockingly, sometimes the world is not a very safe place. People may get injured or die doing many things. Like swimming in the ocean, for example. Or surfing. Or throwing their body on top of the spouting blowhole. OR walking across a crosswalk without LOOKING CAREFULLY IN BOTH DIRECTIONS BEFORE CROSSING.
As my friend, Vera, said it best. Sometimes stupidity is fatal.
People hiked up into an extremely steep sided narrowing canyon in a State Park. People chose to ignore, dismiss, or accept the risk entailed in entering this canyon, TEN CLEARLY MARKED signs, at or near the trail head, posted by the State of Hawaii, warning of POSSIBLE LANDSLIDES, slippery conditions, and prone to flash flooding, warned of danger. Sometimes the possibility becomes the reality in any endeavor.
A horrible and tragic loss of life ensued, as well as many injuries.
As unfortunate as that tragedy was, I believe that the larger tragedy is the loss of anyone ever getting the (legal) opportunity to hike up into this beautiful canyon in one of the most gorgeous locations on the face of this planet, never mind on the island of Oahu
I wish I had photo images to upload, but this is one I never dragged a camera up to, and now it's too late.