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there are many places that you can find on your own in Molokai. You do have to be respectful of the land, the sea and the people that you meet. While your discovering Molokai ask the local folks for help and most would be glad to assist you. You'll find treasures here that you probably wouldn't see any where else in the world. If you're staying at a hotel, the concierge will be glad to assist you with what you're looking for.
Updated Oct 23, 2007
Go on a mule ride. Our single reason for wanting to go to Moloka`i was to ride the mules down the switchbacks that lace the 2,200' (670m) high sea cliffs above the old leprosy settlement on the Kalaupapa peninsula. However, this isn't just any old mule ride! This ride takes you down a trail that switches back and forth across the face of the highest sea cliffs in the world! There are some parts of the trail where you have the cliff going straight up on one side of you and dropping straight down on the other. To make the experience more exhilarating, the mules tend to walk right on the edge. There was one part of the trail where, as I looked down the side of the mule, I was looking almost straight down towards the ocean some 1,500 feet (457m) below. The guides told us that if we were afraid of heights that we should just close our eyes and let the mule do the rest. After all, these mules travel this trail every day and know it by heart. When asked if any mule has ever fallen off, the guides reply with a discouraging 'No. Not YET'.
Once at Kalaupapa, you board a bus and tour the entire peninsula which is now a National Park. A man by the name of Richard Marks will be your guide for this portion of the tour. He's both a resident and sufferer of Hansen's Disease. Though cured now, he has no apparent lasting disfigurement. His frankness, witty comments, and wry humor make for a great time.
Here's my video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLLrbSBSk3I
For more details of the tour, go to the website linked below.
Updated Aug 13, 2007
Our guide, Lawrence Aki, also runs the Hālawa Valley Cooperative. This coop was formed to bring the variuos property owners in the valley under one group's administration and help protect the historical aspects contained there.
We met Lawrence at the bottom of the valley access road next to the prominent roofless stone building. It was there that he gave a presentation of the history of this valley.
He had pictures of the valley from 1909 taken from one of the overlooking cliffs that showed the entire valley being farmed in kalo (taro). This was odd because the valley is now overgrown with trees reaching 50 to 60 feet high. He said the cooperative is slowly reclaiming the land from the jungle.
He said that it was by the 1950’s when the majority of families had gone. Because kalo farming is hard work and you are growing food to merely exist, most had sought higher income and the better life that brings from working the ranches and sugarcane fields on the other side of the island. His family, too, left the valley behind when he was 9.
All along our hike we learned plenty about both the land and of our guide. We had described to us the purpose of various archaeological sites we passed and intently listened to stories of Lawrence’s youthful days living in this valley. We learned where he has traveled and of where he now lives. We heard of his trials and tribulations in dealing with the State in proclaiming rights to all the property in the valley (which they finally agreed to). We even got to hear him chant a few lines to his ancestors in his native tongue.
We found this hike to not only be educational, but interesting too. It was greatly appreciated.
Follow this link for my picture slide show, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2A35iaxwZQE
Updated Jun 16, 2007
Molokai is the most traditional island, only 1 out of 70 tourists visits Molokai. There is absolutely not much of tourist infrastructure, but if you rent a car you can explore the island by your self.
worth to see:
-Kalaupapa Peninsula (invitation needed)
-Maunaloa, KFC is the only fast food restaurant on Molokai
-take the flight form Molokai to Maui, you'll see the high and unique coastlines on Molokais northern side and the flat Kalaupapa Peninsula. You'll understand why the ill people could not escape form this place.
Updated Jan 21, 2007
The drive to this waterfall, which is in the Halawa valley, has some of the best scenery on all of Molokai, just don't take your eye's off the road if you are the one driving! Its a one lane , very twisty, winedy road from about the 23 mile mark until the end of the road, which is about at the 25-26 mile marker. This is on the East end of the island. Your drive actually desends down to the foot of the Valley. If you are ambitious you can pay a guide to hike into the foot of the waterfall. I wouldn't recommend, as the locals told us it wasn't too safe with the mariguana "farmers"!
Written Feb 14, 2005
We did the hike down to kalaupapa, which is one of the last known Lepor colony's, left, in the world. It took us about 1 hr to hike down, 26 switch backs, there are steps, but be careful as it is a bit trecherous in spots, a very steep cliff on one side to say the least, but a most spectacular view of the entire penninsula and surrounding sea cliffs. Make sure if you hike it to leave at least a half hour before the mule riders, you wouldn't want to be behind them. Take lots of water to drink and BUG spray, and good hiking runners; you'll need them.If you smoke I would definitly not recommend the hike, rather the mule ride instead. Once at the bottom, you will have to wait for the the mule riders and then when they have arrived you wait for the Damien tour bus, and you will need to present your permit ( to show you've paid in order to enter the colony; can be purchased at the Hotel Molokai) The tour guide is a patient from the colony, Richard, a sweet fellow. He drives the bus and explains, in detail, about the village, its history and the patients that still live there. I found it to be very emotional, sad, but a real learning experience about Leporsy and the hardship that people endured back in the early 1800's.At the end of the village tour the bus drives out to Kalawo Bay and Waikolu Valley: only accessible by the bus tour... an awestriking view of Mokapu and Okala Islands (see my pics under 'off the beaten path', its amazing!) parts of Jerassic Park 2&3 were filmed here.
Updated Feb 14, 2005
This is one of the few Royal coconut groves in the state of Hawaii. It was planted in the 1860's for King Kamehameha V. Many of the original 1000 trees still remain, with the tall royal palms giving a sense of grandeur. Beware of falling coconuts, however!
Updated Sep 12, 2003
The drive along the east end of the island, which is on the way to Halawa valley, has some beautiful spots to stop for pictures; especially of the east end beaches.
Written Feb 14, 2005
These two islands are pretty much unaccessible and inorder to see this view, you have to take the Damien tour on the penninsula at kalaupapa... well worth the day!
Written Feb 14, 2005
Appreciate the little things in life and what nature has to offer. I spotted this on our way to the Heiau.
Written Mar 22, 2003