The eastern side of the ancient Kohala volcano is the home of a series of deep lush valleys carved backwards from the ocean by the abundant rainfall brought to that side of the island by the trade winds. Waipi’o Valley is the most famous because of it’s regal history and dramatic 1,000 foot cliffs, which flank the valley floor on either side. Pololu Valley is perhaps a little less astonishing but as far as landscapes go, it is equally as pure.
View from the end of the road, looking down onto the black sand beach that marks the terminus of the valley as it meets the sea.
Looking into the valley from the cliffside trail.
Looking south down the coast. Pololu is the northernmost of the dramatic valleys dissected from the mountain, and Waipi’o (whose outlet is not visible in this photo) is the southernmost. In between these two are several other canyon-like valleys accessible only by foot. I wanted very badly to hike back into those valleys and experience an even purer more pristine landscape, but we didn’t have time. I had to settle for Pololu, which, despite the few other tourists who made the hike down to the beach, seemed pretty unspoiled itself.
Many of these valleys were used anciently to grow large amounts of taro, or more modernly, rice and taro. Today, agriculture is down except for perhaps in the Waipi’o Valley where several Lo’i (taro pond-fields) are still maintained. Just looking back into the Pololu Valley made me want to go build a little shack back in the forest and farm taro for the rest of my life, even though I don’t really like Poi. I guess I just got caught up in the moment and the scenery.