White Road Hike

by kenji SAITO on October 2, 2022

Hiking White Road Hike

We woke up in the morning after being starry-eyed last night, thanks again to Grant for the awesome tour of the CFH telescope, to drive all the way to Waimea. There is a large margin of error in the time it takes to get ready, especially when you have three guys in a room versus five girls in a room.

Picked up breakfast at McDonald’s and then somebody had to pick up their wallet back in the hotel room. Somebody ended up waiting longer. There is something called Hawaiian time and it does exist, Edgar.

White Road

White Road

Thanks to Grant for letting us park our cars in his yard. Somebody needs to work on their gluteus maximus so that they can feel their phone in their back pocket the next time and save a phone call.

White Road

White Road

We followed the speed limit and kept it under 25 mph as we exchanged pleasantries with the neighbors walking up the road.

White Road

White Road

A flock of sheep ran to the fence when they saw us coming up the road. Looking for food perhaps? No feeding of the wildlife, domesticated or otherwise. You’re baaaaad.

White Road

White Road

We paid a visit to Uncle Juni and after talking story about the Jacksons, continued down the road.

White Road

White Road

Mauna Kea with her shiny telescopes on the summit was strikingly clear in the background.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Some people were meant to climb over gates and not through them.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

What are you guys doing over there? The gate is open, said the engineer.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Following the irrigation ditch as we meandered on the trail. I have read that some sources claim this trail was damaged by the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake and never repaired. We saw no signs of such trail damage. Maybe the menehunes fixed it at night?

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Trying to find matching handprints. Like match. But for hikers.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Waiting for the rest of the group at the rather large bonsai tree. I didn’t know they made them that big.

Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley

The trail soon took us to an expansive view of the “Valley of the Kings.” Many Hawaiian Ali’i, hereditary chiefs, resided and ruled from here back in the day, including the most famous of them all, King Kamehameha I.

Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley

Photos can’t do justice to this striking and scenic valley carved from the “curved water” that has shaped its character over the years.

Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley

The slopes of Kohala mountain plunge more than 2,000′ down into the verdant valley floor.

Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley

Looking back into the valley.

Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley

A massive trickling waterfall.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

The girls trying not to get their feet muddy crossing a short bridge, even though we are getting wet in the end. Things that make you go hmmm.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Carefully crossing over the slick water pipe braced by trusses for reinforcement and convenient handholds.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Drone view of the group crossing and sitting on the pipe.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

When you talk so loud, it helps to have a pair of airpods. It helps even more if it’s in your ears and not at the bottom of the water pipe. Luckily, somebody could still retrieve it, bum ankle and all.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Drone view showing the pipe over the overgrown gully.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Drone view of the back side of the pipe facing out towards Waipio Valley.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Group photo on top of the water pipe.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

We decided to not go through the tunnel and instead pushed our way through the overgrown trail hugging the cliff.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Building these trails so that the workers could construct the ditches was reputedly more dangerous and terrifying than building the ditch itself as the workers had to work during incessant rainstorms and landslides all along the edge of a thousand foot plus drop. Many pack mules fell to their death off these trails as it was being built.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Roseann leaving the trail for the ditch.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Grant had warned us that the area has been experiencing sparse rainfall as of late, so we were not surprised to find less than white water conditions.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Scott jumped in to check if the pool was deep enough and clear of any obstructions. He did find out it was rather cold.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

I climbed up the side of the 35′ water flume to check out the irrigation tunnel on top.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Going up a shorter flume to check out more tunnels.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Standing amidst this engineering marvel that was constructed back in 1905-1906 at a cost of $650,000 using mainly 600 contract laborers from Japan overseen by Michael O’Shaughnessy, the Irish-born engineer that designed most of the water projects in the islands.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Andrew couldn’t wait for the mattress. Riding it raw.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Somebody made the sign of the cross before they pushed off. Must be the Catholic in them.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

This is the last known picture of Lilyn’s sunglasses, before it disappeared in an explosion of water and sank to the bottom of the pool.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Don’t push me. I’m not ready. I need handles. Not love handles. Now I know how it feels to be a park ride operator.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Tossing down the inner tube and calling for the mattress. Thanks Andrew.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Missed it by that much.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Andrew jumping in one more time, as the water was so clear and inviting.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

This is not Mission Impossible. Abort mission.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

My ears were ringing loudly at the top, but it went away when I slid down to the bottom.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Aida and Tessa still got wet, the gentler version, without being slam dunked into the pool.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Trying to take our group photo from different angles. It didn’t work out well.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Enough pictures already. That’s a wet wrap. We were all freezing down to our epidermis. Time to get moving back to our cars.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

We decided to go back through the tunnel, which was the more direct and shorter route.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Walking through part of the 57 tunnels collectively known as the Kohala Ditch that totaled 26 miles in length and supplied irrigation water to the sugar plantations in North Kohala until the 1970s. The ditch is still being used to supply water to the farms and communities in North Kohala and by tour companies that put paying tourists in kayaks to float through the ditches and tunnels.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Natural skylight through the tunnel.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Exiting the tunnel to the water pipe.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Some of the group chose to crawl through the pipe for the experience. Others chose the contour trail that bypassed the pipe.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Hiking out towards the now cloud covered Waipio Valley.

Kohala Forest Reserve

Kohala Forest Reserve

Family tree. See the resemblance?

White Road

White Road

On our way out, Uncle Juni wished us well and said we were welcome back anytime. Just to bring our friend, the Jacksons.

Driving back to Hilo, somebody realized that they forgot their pair of boots in the hotel room we had just checked out. Luckily, housekeeping decided it wasn’t their size.

Post hike meal at Van Vietnamese Cuisine where nothing beats a hot bowl of pho after sliding down a moss covered slope and hitting a body of semi-stagnant water. Maybe a cold Coke. Scotty picked up his boots and got dropped off at the airport to make his earlier flight.

All pau

All pau

We had time to kill before our flight, but not enough time for Narnia, so we dropped by Rainbow Falls and Boiling Pots. Swimming in the cold water under a hot sun makes one less receptive to driving their car back to civilization. Dropping the keys in the rocks doesn’t help as well. All in all, awesome weekend with fun friends.

Video by Edgar Gamiao of our hike.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ARz_asrtkk

Photos taken by Aida Gordon, Andrew Green, Edgar Gamiao, Lilyn Avendano, Quan Haberstroh, Roseann Fai, Scott Dea, Tessa Bugay and yours truly. Not necessarily in order.

Note: I have been made aware that some hikers have been using my blog as a hiking guide and getting lost on the trails. Please note that this blog was made to document the hike for the crew(s) that did it. That is why some of my comments will seem to have no relevance or meaning to anybody outside of the crew(s) that hiked that trail. My blog was never meant as a hiking guide, so please do not treat it as such. If you find inspiration and entertainment from these hikes, that is more than enough. If you plan on replicating these hikes, do so in the knowledge that you should do your own research accordingly as trail conditions, access, legalities and so forth are constantly in flux. What was current today is most likely yesterdays news. Please be prepared to accept any risks and responsibilities on your own as you should know your own limitations, experience and abilities before you even set foot on a trail, as even the “simplest” or “easiest” of trails can present potential pitfalls for even the most “experienced” hikers. One should also always let somebody know of your hiking plans in case something doesn’t go as planned, better safe than sorry.

Leave a Comment

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Aida Gordon October 21, 2022 at 11:52 pm

Very nice write-up! So funny although you had to be there to understand the joke! I’m gla I made it to this trip! So fun!

Reply

kenji SAITO October 22, 2022 at 7:55 am

Aloha Aida,
Thanks! Yup awesome adventure that weekend.
Mahalo

Reply

Edgar Gamiao October 26, 2022 at 10:41 pm

Always fun hiking with the 808 Random Hikers. Thanks for the invite! Lmk when you decide to do Blue Hole again.

Reply

kenji SAITO October 27, 2022 at 9:00 am

Aloha Edgar,
Thanks for your company and drone shots. Will give you a heads up when the Blue Hole shows up on the to do list.
Mahalo

Reply

Wahinee01 October 30, 2022 at 3:09 am

So much fun going to another island with fun friends. We should do more other island adventures.

Reply

kenji SAITO October 31, 2022 at 9:20 am

Aloha Tessa,
Yep that was a lot of fun that weekend.
Mahalo

Reply

Bill November 16, 2022 at 10:51 am

Just curious, is this trail open or do you have to bust through No Trespassing signs currently? Did this about 20 years ago and want to go again but keep reading it is illegal to enter. Thank you for any info! :)

Reply

kenji SAITO November 16, 2022 at 1:25 pm

Aloha Bill,
I don’t recall seeing any signs but you should always check as things seem to change from day to day. There is a guy at the top of the hill that “collects” gratuities from the people that hike back there, but the locals that live on the road said they can’t afford to go back there anymore, because “uncle” too expensive. lol.
Mahalo

Reply

Bill November 16, 2022 at 2:30 pm

Aloha Kenji,
Thank you so much for the information! I take it that it is “Uncle Juni” from your photo above who collects the gratuity?? I’ll be happy to give him $20 or whatever to go through his property as long as I don’t get arrested for trespassing!
Mahalo :)

Reply

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