Experiencing Halawa Valley on Molokai, Hawaii

in Pinmapplelast year


No one visits the island of Molokai on their visits to the Hawaiian Islands. It is one of the hidden gems that only travelers in the know will ever see. It is known as the "Friendly Isle", yet that isn't the vibe that most tourists get when asking around about traveling here. The disconnect comes from the fact that the 8,000 residents of Molokai have found a way to exist without the need for tourism. This is very different than the other islands. Hunting, fishing and farming still provides the bulk of food for families, some live totally off the grid, in a very traditional Hawaiian way. There are no stop lights, no chain restaurants, and only one hotel on the entire island. The most famous hike on the island goes through private property, so hiring a local guide is a must... which also turns off potential travelers since there are so many hikes on the other main Hawaiian islands that are free to do.

So what is the trick, you ask? How do I see the true friendliness of the 'Friendly Isle?' Easy, you get to know someone who lives there. Get invited to their home. Become a part of the community. And above all, you don't change Molokai, you let Molokai change you. It is a place for gatherings, cultural practitioners, waterfalls, and history. For those travelers willing to go the extra mile, and immerse themselves into island life, it can be an experience like none other.

I have the privilege to take travelers to the island of Molokai every week. We have a cultural immersion with a family in Halawa Valley. The beautiful valley on the northeast corner of the island is covered by a thick rainforest, ancient rock walls left by the last 50 generations of Hawaiians, and backed by beautiful waterfalls falling into sacred pools. Our guests learn about what is truly Hawaiian, not just what people see in the hotel industry. They go through the ancient practice of asking permission to enter the land. We see ancient Heiaus, or temples, and modern taro patches, being pounded into purple poi with tools passed down through the generations.

My favorite adventure here is to hike along the river, crossing several times, on our way up to Mo'o Ula falls. It is the type of scene that everyone pictures when they think of Hawaii, yet we have it all to ourselves. It is a place that less than 1% of 1% of travelers will ever see. Now you are in the know as well. See you in Halawa Valley next time.

Greg Solatario, cultural practitioner and resident of Halawa valley is our guide into the valley's history and natural beauty. Here is blowing the 'pu', or conch shell to welcome us into his home.

Greg's son, Devek, responds in kind by blowing the pu, before performing a chant where he describes who is he, where he is from, what his purpose in coming to the valley, and his family geneology.

birds (37 of 37).jpg
A yellow-billed cardinal is a rare sight.

After two river crossing, an obstacle course of down trees to navigate, and miles through the rainforest, we emerge victorious at Mo'oula Falls. A cool, refreshing dip under the falls is just what our sore muscles need.

I couldn't help but take a selfie in this beautiful location. Can you believe we have this all to ourselves?

Ancient irrigation ditches divert water from the river to taro patches farther down the valley.

The trail crosses the river multiple times, giving us a chance to practice our rock hopping skills.

Beautiful vistas are all around if you stop to take it in.

Excitement as the waterfall finally comes into view.

After a dip in the pools, and a picnic lunch, everyone is feeling ready for the hike back. Only on Molokai can you have an experience like this, while not seeing a single other person.

Hope you enjoyed this look into a secret side of Hawaii.
-Dai Mar Tamarack

Check it out on pinmapple.com here:
[//]:# (!pinmapple 21.16226 lat -156.73068 long Halawa Valley, Molokai d3scr)


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nice place
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