22.09.2010 - 22.09.2010 29 °C
We are on the road to the north-eastern part of the Big Island to check out Waipio Valley. We park at entrance to the valley and the view is breathtaking but something smells. Dog poo...on Julie's shoe. Nice.
We start walking down the insanely steep road. At a 25% average grade, with steeper grades in sections, this paved public road is open only to 4 wheel drive vehicles. If classified as a road, it would be the steepest road of its length in the United States and possibly the world. So, we hang out our thumbs and quickly hitch a ride in the back of a pick-up with a local.
Several large waterfalls tumble into the valley to feed the river that we ford to reach the black sandy beach. Fording this river was a new experience as your body was tugged in opposite directions. The freshwater in the river tugged at your body towards the ocean, and the ocean waves pushed your body up the river.
We head straight across the valley floor just to ascend up the opposite side. The hike up long switchbacks is a sweaty one with the sun beating down on us. A decision is made based on advice from our hiking book to stop at the end of 4th switchback, as the view is spectacular.
After snapping some panoramics and breathing in the beauty, we head back down to the valley and across to the road. We have no luck hitching a ride with anyone, as vehicles heading up the road are reluctant to stop due to its steep gradient, so we slowly hike our way to the top.
After reaching the van, Nate savours a Kona beer before we head of to the Hilo market. The market is bustling with street musicians and all sorts of goodies to munch on. Hilo is very busy city, with a cruise ship docked in the bay. We haven't been exposed to city in weeks, luckily our accomodations, Arnnott's Lodge, is on the outside of town. We pitch our tent for super cheap and have a kitchen and wi-fi available for use. This is luxury camping!