Continuing where I left off from our epic weekend, Jenny, Annie, Jean, and I got up Sunday morning and began a leisurely drive along the Hamakua Coast north of Hilo. After about two hours we arrived at the famous and rugged Waipi'o Valley near Honoka'a. Waipi'o Valley is the first of nearly ten incredibly rugged valleys that are cut side-by-side along the northern coast of the Big Island. Here's a view from the lookout at the top of the valley:
After enjoying the view from the top, we began the walk down a terrifyingly steep road, averaging a grade of 25%!!! Not a road for the faint of heart or anyone with a two-wheel drive car for that matter. I tried to get a picture summing up just how insanely steep this road is, but I don't think my pictures do it justice (just like the cables up Half Dome- those things are WAY steeper and more terrifying when you get there...)
At the bottom, we walked to the nearby black sand beach where Jenny and I spent thirty minutes debating whether or not to cross the Waipi'o Stream (more like a river if you ask me) at the beach and then actually swimming across. Unfortunately my fear of crossing the stream meant that I was too afraid to take my camera across with me, so I don't have any pictures of the other side. In my defense, the crossing was tricky: I tried to cross in the rapids first, but I didn't make it very far without shoes and since I couldn't tell how deep it was. Next I tried closer to the ocean, where I was scared off by the river dragging me out toward the ocean and the waves pushing me in. I finally settled on just swimming across upstream which was definitely the best option.
After we crossed, Jenny and I walked a half mile down the beach and then scampered about a half a mile up the trail that leads to the next valley so that we could get a view back across Waipi'o Valley- you can (barely) make out the trail in the picture above, cutting across the cliff about halfway up in a sideways V. The view back across the valley was stunning; we could see the 1200 ft Hi'ilawe falls off a side spur of the valley and several other falls cascading into the valley. My lack of a camera was quite a bummer. After we caught our breath at the viewpoint, Jenny and I hiked back down, re-swam across the river, and hiked back up the (crazy steep) road. We got some really nice views as the sun set on our hike back up, and I snapped a great shot of the Rempel gang.
On our way back to Hilo we stopped at Tex's Drive-In in Honoka'a for some malasadas- apricot, guava, raspberry, and bavarian creme. I never get tired of those things, though it's hard to imagine having a bad malasada (they're just deep-fried dough and sugar after all). We got back to Hilo late, where Jenny and I whipped up a delicious dinner, including one of my favorites of the summer: pan-seared Ahi. Mmm.
A special shout-out to Annie and Jean, without whom our adventurous weekend wouldn't have even been possible (or nearly as much fun)!
It's hard to imagine, but this is our last week in Hilo; only a few more days of work and then Jenny and I are off to Kauai Saturday morning!