Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Iao Valley perch

You don't have to walk far in Iao Valley State Park—1.5 miles round-trip, with 250 feet of elevation—to get to one of the most stunning views in the Hawaiian Islands. The route leaves from the touristy lookout of the Iao Needle and quickly attains a narrow ridge top that drops away to deep stream valleys on two sides (to the waterfall-laced, Wall of Tears on one side and the Kapilau Ridge on the other).

Iao Valley is where Kamehameha the Great in 1790 used newly acquired cannons and brute force to drive Maui defenders into retreat. The stream, Kepaniwai, means "damming of the waters," and the blood from fallen waters was said to have turned the waters red. Some of the Maui men escaped via a treacherous cross-island route to Olowalu Valley.