Hello Friends and Family,

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Moloka`i Seeing Deeply #3

On the third day of class, another student (also named Dave) and I left the Hui early to make the arduous trip to Halawa Valley on the east end of Moloka`i. In the previous issue where I mentioned this same destination, I neglected to talk about the only road to get there. The further you go the more sections you encounter which are barely the width of one vehicle — and if you look down though the seaside window all you see is ocean, even if you are looking straight down. I had driven it two days earlier and when Dave offered to drive, I quickly accepted to his offer. At least it is paved the whole way.

We arrived at the beach-side park at the mouth of Halawa Valley at the appointed time but did not see Joshua, the fisherman who I met two days previous and who was to guide us to the waterfall. We met a few other folks who told us that Joshua went to town but would be back shortly — and to just relax for a few minutes until he arrived. Shortly thereafter, another fellow approached us and asked if we were waiting for Joshua. He said that he was Joshua's brother-in-law, Julio — and if Joshua did not return within a few minutes, that he would guide us to the waterfall instead.

So he led us to his home, a wood-frame structure without electricity, where his mom came out to greet us and offered the loan of a walking stick — which I graciously accepted. We waited a few more minutes but finally, Julio suggested we go since he did not know when Joshua would be back and he didn't want us inconvenienced further. So off we went. We had only gone a short distance when the valley opened up in front our eyes and I captured this scene which was even better than the view we had from the beach. Wow!

As we hiked up the trail, we encountered huge trees that blocked the sun, making the journey comfortably cool. Most of the original forests of Hawai`i have been cut down so you do not often see trees of this size. Awesome!

Of course, the waterfall is the source of water for the streams that we hiked along for a good part of the trip. The light trickled through the arboreal canopy producing numerous spots of incredible beauty.

These same streams are tapped by the people living downstream to provide water for their taro patches and other crops as they try to live in the old style, living off the land as did their ancestors.

The hike up was only a couple miles of moderate effort but what a reward at the end — Mo`oulua Waterfall. The name means "red lizard" although I don't know how the name was attached to this beautiful cascade. Words cannot do it justice — so I'll stop typing and let you soak it all in.

Shortly after we arrived and I got my tripod set up, Julio jumped into the water and swam to the other side, where he proceeded to climb the rock wall to a small ledge and jump in. We asked him how often he comes up here and he said that he is here nearly every day. On days when he is not playing tour guide, he brings a book and reads in the blissful solitude.

The photo to the right is a closer view of the top.

And on the left, a closer view of a choke point at the midpoint where the beautiful violence of falling water is most evident.

And it would not be an Eddie Soloway workshop without an "artistic" shot — where I moved the camera down at about the same speed as the falling water — the slow shutter freezing the water (sort of) while the vegetation blurs along side.

Surprisingly, the spectacular waterfall we saw in front of us is actually the lower falls — the upper falls is barely visible through the trees. No, we were not tempted to hike up there.

Just below the pond at the base of the waterfall begins the rapids. This is another "Eddie Soloway" artistic shot — one that I rather like.


And if you look downstream there are large rocks impeding the path of the water answering the call of gravity.

And if you look closely, one of these rocks had a petroglyph. I initially thought this looked like a modern effort but Julio said he believed it to be ancient. He also indicated that this is the only one he knows of on all of Moloka`i. For lack of a better name, I call it "The Rainbow Warrior".

Alas, all good things must come to an end, so we began our hike back down to the shoreline. Along the way, I happened to look down and see the most colorful mushrooms I've ever seen. Seeing Deeply!

Near the bottom, we ran into a person we had met when we first arrived this morning. He (Lawrence on the left) and our guide, Julio (on the right), agreed to let me take their picture. As I was chatting with Lawrence, I mentioned my visit to Mo`omomi and he said that he used to work for the Nature Conservancy and was the curator for that preserve. He is now living and working in Halawa Valley — to help preserve the old lifestyle that I mentioned above. We were privileged to see the tiered taro fields, with water flowing from one to the other to provide the type of flowing water irrigation that taro requires. We also saw the banana trees, papaya trees and other crops that, together with fish, provide the people of Halawa Valley their sustenance.

It was a real pleasure to meet these folks and gain an insight into their way of life — one that they are working hard to maintain. They (and others) say that they don't want Moloka`i to become like Maui and thus resist the exploitation that has become so detrimental to Maui (where they say they don't want to be like O`ahu).

Curiously, a few days later when I arrived on Maui, I was checking out the new TV in the condo and ran across a station broadcasting a show about Moloka`i — and there was Lawrence talking about the land and the people and the history. It's a small world.

This day was the highlight of my trip — awesome scenery and wonderful people. It nourished my Hawaiian soul — remember that I was Hawaiian in a previous life.


Life is good.

B. David