We spent about an hour here before we left for other falls. This place was totally secluded for the time we were there. We took some pictures and around it then and we swam to the waterfall. Although it may look shallow around the edge of the pool, it is quite deep below the fall, say around 8 – 10ft. For a minute, we didn’t want to leave this hidden paradise but we have more places to visit before dusk.
Photography Tips: back then, I had my Fujifilm S7000, an advance point-and-shoot with fewer functions compared to an SLR. With the limited function, I only have a minimum aperture of F11 and a minimum iso of 200. This is a major drawback which make slow shutter photography impossible in the broad daylight for capturing the water fall with shutterspeed of 10-15 seconds. The slow shutter technique is often used to create the silky look on moving water like waterfall and river. To counter this drawback, I use an Hoya ND400 filter to block most of the harsh sunlight and this allows me to shoot this photo with a 15 second exposure time.
The next set of waterfalls lays on the border of Haleakala National Park, towards the end of the Road to Hana. In contrary to the single waterfall from the Blue Pool, this place is a showcase of a series of 10 – 15 waterfalls in various sizes. It also comes with a bonus, a bamboo forest like the ones you have seen in the movie, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Where scene of the duel between Zhang ZiYi and Chow Yuan-fat). To see them, it comes with a little price – a easy 4-mile round trip hike. This trail leads visitors to the giant Waimoku Fall – the water curtain that rises 400ft tall from very bottom. The waterfall is the main attraction of the aerial tourism in Maui. When we were in front of the waterfalls, we saw more than 5 choppers visiting this giant beauty. A 10 minutes of helicopter ride with less than 1 minute to spend in front of waterfall can easily costs 200$ per person. If you have a day to spend, I highly recommend this hike to witness the beauty in person without any time limit.
The trail is called Pipiwaii Trail and it is right next to the National Park’s parking lot. Just less than a mile after the starting point, you will see the first waterfalls, the Makahiku Fall, a 180 footer. This is one of the kind waterfall because of the infinity pool on top of the fall. By taking a hidden trail, it will lead you to your very own, all natural made, granite pool with the ocean view. When we got to the trailhead of the hidden trail, it was purposely blocked by branches. While we were reading our map to see if this was the trail, a national park ranger stopped us and asked where we headed. By looking at the towel we each carried, he soon figured out that we are looking for the infinity pool. Then he told us a shocking story – not long ago, a father fell to his death while rescuing his daughter who was swimming in there. The daughter survived when the father pushed her to the side of the pool just barely a few feet away from the fall. It was already too late for the father.
Although this is an awesome hidden spot, it comes with hidden dangers when swimming in it. Try to stay away from the fall and watch for increasing water level in the pool. Any signs of it means the possibility of flashing flood from the rainfall in Mount Haleakala. There were stories posted at the entrance of people who swam in there got swiped away by the flash flood and fell to death.
So how did we end up here? Well, we had to promise the ranger not to swim in there first and then he showed us the trail. When we were done taking the pictures, he saw him working near by the pool and he told us that he was there to make sure we will be okay. What a nice guy!
The next stop was the bamboo forest, once we got here; we saw waterfalls one after another and we saw several daredevil tourists diving from the top of the 10-15 ft waterfall into the pool below. Once entered the forest, we noticed that we were hiking in a totally different place. There were no other vegetation but bamboo and it brought a feeling of tranquility and unity. This was a contrast to what we have seen a mile back where the trail was decorated by hundreds of different types of vegetation. We saw see guava and passionate trees with fruits all over the ground and birds were hopping all over the place to look for the freshest treat. But here in the bamboo forest, it was dead quiet. The only sign of life was the hikers and the bamboo army. The overgrown bamboo covered the sky and stole the most valuable resources for photosynthesis. On the way back, it was only 4pm but it was so dark and we had to use flashlights.
Once we exited the forest, the very last waterfall appeared right in front of us. The giant of the island stood 400ft high and her height turned the falling water into the finest mist which we felt it hundreds feet away. This was the power of the Waimoku fall. We crossed the creek and went straight for it. Besides the fine mist, the sound of the waterfall was loud enough to block the conversation between us. But we were speechless and awed by her beauty.
We spent about 30 minutes here to rest and eat some snack and of course, to capture a few shots of the fall and then called it a day. The long and winding Hana Highway added another 3 hours to our drive time. We didn’t get home ’till 11pm.
Food / Lodging
Unfortunately, the options for food and lodging is limited on this side of the island. Hana is the only town that provides both. We had our lunch at the Hana Ranch and it was not good. I would recommend to bring your own food and cooler. There are a few hotels here but the price range is higher than that of Kihei. This place has a lot of point of interest and if you really want to explore, it will take more than just a day. We didn’t finish visiting all the places on our list and we were regretted that we didn’t spend a night there. For those who enjoyed to explore, I will recommend to make this a 2-day trip.
The points of interest along the Hana Highway are not marked for most of the time. We used the information form a book titled “Road to Hana, Mile by Mile” to locate the POIs. The tips here are using the mile marker signs alongside the highway to find these locations.
Always watch out for flash flood when swimming. Know your limit. Swimming in moving water is different than that in flat water.
Watch out for thieves and pickpockets! Our rental car was broken into and Cora lost her bag and I lost my water camera. We rented a Jeep Wrangler and although it looks pretty cool and rugged to drive around, the soft-top roof and zippered window are a major design flaw. The thieves who stole from us opened the window by simply unzipping it.
Kayaking, horseback riding, and hiking in the Yosemite high country. This will be the best place to avoid the crowded lower valley and a seldom traveled place with absolute serenity.