We spent the next morning hanging out at Polo’lu watching the sun come up over the valley and shining down upon us in the early hours. Julia and Amelia braced themselves and had an exhilarating morning swim. Jess waded in a little while later and took in the fresh energy from the giant waves breaking just on the shore. After wandering around the valley we decided to pack up camp and head into Hawi for some delicious brunch and locally brewed coffee. MMM… we ended up at the little coffee shop Tyler and I had ventured to a month previous on our trip up north. It was delicious and hit the spot. We were ready to head east for Waipi’o Valley down through the Kohala mountains on 250…
It was the most scenic road to take to the valley. Long expansive stretches of rolling green pastures and farm houses that lead your eye to the magnificent blue colored ocean below. It reminded me of the rolling hills of upstate NY… hard to imagine in this moment that I was in Hawaii…it truly impressed me in all of its diverse nature. The ride itself took us less than an hour but in that hour we had seen the beach, the valley, a quaint town, rolling pastures, mountains, forests, and deserts. The winding road eventually lead us to Waimea, a town known for it’s cattle ranches and is home to Hawaii’s cowboy population. Such a cute little place nestled in between the tall grassy mountain tops. Looking up you could see the clear blue skies kissing the vibrant lime green rounded peaks where they met in the sky. The red and white houses made it look like a still frame from a really old video game.
We traveled on and found ourselves at the end of the road that leads down into the valley.
From afar it’s impressive peaks, lush forest and ocean meet the horizon line and makes for a beautiful view. Down below we knew that the black sand beach, forest, lush valleys, waterfalls and wild horses would be awaiting us. The only route down the mountain to the beach is a 25%-grade road. We were all suited up and beginning to hike down the road when a pick-up truck stopped and we hopped in the back with a drunk, toothless man named Kalani. We all looked out and enjoyed the view as we descended upon the valley. Kalani pointed us in the right direction once we reached the beach. We knew we had to ford a river that met at the oceans edge to get to the other side – so we geared ourselves up and made our way across the slippery river rocks. At times it was a little hard but Jess and I grabbed a hold of each other’s hand and walked through where the colliding water forces met with success.
Although Waipi’o looked a lot like Polo’lu the feeling was quite different, not as secluded and magical but truly beautiful in it’s own right. Julia and I ventured off through the woods to find a decent place to camp for the night. Once we did we went back to gather our packs and our gals and headed to the edge of the forest. Our view was ridiculously nice – as we were just steps away from the ocean. We spent out time setting up camp, gathering driftwood for our fire and wandering about the land. How fortunate we all felt to be here. As the sun went down there wasn’t a soul in sight. We had the place to ourselves. I got the fire started and it took a while to really get it blazing. We all fixed ourselves some PB sandwiches and sat around the fire. The energy was riding high between us all.. we played some games, had a lot of laughs and listened to the ocean hit the shoreline just a few feet away. We asked the Uni to clear up some of the clouds so that we could enjoy the waning full moon. We got a peak of it just before hitting the hay. I climbed down the dark volcanic rock to a spot where I could just sit and be for a little while… it was a most excellent way to end my day.
After I extinguished the fire a bit we all headed back to our respective tents and got cozy. Jess and I reflected a little on the day and nestled in our sleeping bags. I opened our windows just a bit so we could see the stars. I realized in that moment that there isn’t much better than sleeping in a tent next to the ocean listening to those waves crash against the shore…When we awoke that morning we were all feeling refreshed but figured a jump in the ocean couldn’t hurt. We spent a nice long while riding the waves and enjoying the black sand beach. Sometime in the mid morning we packed up all our stuff, forded the river and began psyching ourselves up for the steep hour long climb…. which turned out to be unnecessary. We hadn’t been walking for more than 10 minutes when a family pulled up in a big pick up and offered us a ride back up. It was awesome but almost upsetting because we were pumped about hiking up such a bad ass climb… but how could we refuse?
The drive back to Kona was beautiful and we were even able to stop at a beach for the afternoon before returning the car. Once the car was returned, I started making up some hitchhiking song and dance so we might score a chance at getting a ride back to the farm. It was ridiculous… I had Amelia in stitches. I blame it entirely on the high I had from such a great weekend. A short while later a Russian dude name Uri who had just arrived in Hawaii picked us up at the airport and drove us all way home – it was fantastic! He was a really friendly guy who loved his techno… I was shaking my booty in the back seat all the way to the farm. We made it home just in time for the glorious sunset which pretty much summed up the beauty we had shared on this new years weekend….
photos courtesy of my three gals