A Big Island Adventure - Hamakua Coast - Waipi’o Valley Lookout

Hawaii Blog

En route to Waipi'o Lookout on the Hamakua Coast drive, I could have easily spent the entire afternoon in the ideal and tranquil location that is Akaka Falls. However I felt inspired to head further north, once again intrigued to discover what lay at the end of Highway 19. On the way, Kolekole Beach Park, just south of the 15 mile marker, seemed like a great place to stop for a snack. It's a lovely place to picnic with a extensive grassy lawn and BBQ facilities beneath a highway bridge and by the side of Kolekole Stream. The river-mouth break apparently offers great bodyboarding and surfing, but swimming is dangerous and not recommended.

Refreshed, I continued north and enjoyed more of the winding road crossing rivers and navigating gorges.  Although it was already late in the afternoon, I felt compelled to discover the spectacular amphitheater that lies at the end of route 19 where the road terminates at Waipi'o Valley lookout.  Driving into the unknown, alone, can sometimes feel a little terrifying and a lot thrilling.   I pulled up at a spot just south of Honoka'a and considered turning back.  The thick vog (volcanic smog) seemed to be worsening and it gave the appearance of dusk prematurely approaching.  The sun was not due to set for another 45 minutes.  I had not seen the sun for hours.  I had no clue how long it will take me to get to Waipi'o.  'Do I turn back or keep going?' was the question in my mind.

Something kept drawing me north despite the vog.  As I approached the town of Honoka'a the vog suddenly seemed to lift.  Bright green fields rolled gently into a vista of ocean blue.  The air was clearer - I could breathe again - and a glimpse of sunlight which had been hidden from view all day shone gently through the gap between the clouds and the horizon.

Honoka'a is another quaint town that exudes the charm of an old Hawaii, rural in nature, it's people friendly and welcoming.  An old picture theatre on the main street paints a scene from perhaps an old-time movie.  I wanted to stay and get to know this cute town but the sunset was drawing near and the pull to discover that end of the road destination was unrelenting.

In Hawaii, I experience a unique connection with the land.  A certain place will 'call' me to visit - in other words I experience a magnetic pull like a warm invitation that if accepted brings gifts of beauty and magnificence.  Waipi'o was no exception.  Satisfied at having finally arrived at the end of the road, I relaxed and allowed the vista to take my breath away.  The light of the sunset illuminated the magnificent valley below.  My timing was perfect.  The light of the sun peered through the space between the low clouds and the strip of blue ocean, and illuminated the valley below in pale golden light.  Calm waters of the bay far below lapped at a black-rock shore, and I dreamed of venturing into this wild place where the highway ends and an excellent pair of walking boots is the only form of transportation.

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