We set off from Kehei around 7 am. Somewhere around Paia we realized the bag with all of our shoes were back at the condo. Traffic was busy in Paia so we decided to just keep going. The Waimoku falls was to be our final destination on the RTH.
When we arrived at the park we paid our $10 to get in. Our Haleakala National Park pass could have been used but we were not within the 3 day window. The park pass really just gives you access to the facilities and parking.
From the parking lot you can go towards the Oheo Gulch or on the clearly marked path to the falls.
Tip #1 - Don't think wearing flip flops or sandals will be OK. The trail can get slippery when wet. you are walking up an incline. Some areas are steeper than others.
Tip #2 - Bring band aids for blisters. You have a long return trip walk. A first aid kit would be smart.
Tip #3 - Bring at least one bottle of water for each hiker. We were dehydrated by the end of our hike.
Tip #4 - Bring mosquito spray.
Tip #5 - Never pass up a bathroom opportunity. You could be hiking for 2.5 - 3.5+ hours.
Highlights of the hike:
- Huge Banyan tree
- Magical pathway and feeling you are in a different world
- Bamboo forest (the sound of the bamboo shoots hitting each other from the wind is awesome)
- Makahiku falls
- and of course the Waimoku falls.
Our hiking party consisted of my wife, myself and our two teenage daughters. My wife and I are in our 40's and are in decent shape. My daughters are both fit. At the parking lot the conditions were great. Our decision to hike with flip flops didn't seem like a bad idea (read on).
The trail climbs up the hill towards the falls. There are lots of natural stairs. The ground is often uneven with many tripping hazards (i.e. exposed roots, rocks, etc). Once you get to the bamboo forest (really cool) you do come across a man made path. The path is made from composite boards and is probably about 36" wide. It can be muddy on each side of the walkway as well as a bit of a step down. You must share this path with others coming from the falls.
You will have to maneuver / scurry across two creeks. I had to help my family cross both ways. The rocks in the stream are slippery and the exposed rocks are uneven. Each stream takes approximately 5-7 steps to cross.
Once you get to the falls there are large rocks you must maneuver. This is where the flip flop decision really ended poorly for us. The rocks around the pool at the base of the waterfall are covered in algae and are slippery. My daughter slipped and jammed her toes between two rocks. I feared the worst after just hiking 1.5+ hours in (we took lots of pictures on the way) with no easy way out. Our first aid kit was (you guessed it) in the bag with the shoes... My daughter lost a toenail and scraped the side of her foot. It could have been so much worse. She was able to hike back down on her own. I don't know what I would have done if she couldn't or needed medical attention.
Luckily we found a guide (Luke) from Hike Maui. He was so kind and offered us access to his first aid kit. The flip flops continued to be an issue on the way down as blistered started to develop. We ran into Luke again as he was bringing his group back down the path. He offered more band aids without a blink of an eye. Luke you will always be in our memories for your kindness and caring attitude.
The reason for the details of the hike is two fold:
- Don't take the 2.5 - 3.5+ hour hike lightly
- Be prepared if you are going to hike in. I think if it had rained my story would have likely had more 'twists' (literally).
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