Saturday, June 15, 2013
Magnificent Molokai preserves and honors the traditional of "old style Hawaii." Accessible by air from Kahului or by ferry from Lahaina, this small, pristine Island is protected by 28 miles of fringed reef on the southern shore and three miles of white sand on the western shore. The world's largest sea cliffs tower above turquiose water and 250-foot jungle waterfall plunges to a pool below. Hiking, mule riding, kayaking and extraordinary snorkeling all open a window onto an Island undisturbed by time.
Hikers are astounded by Halawa's rich flora and beautiful vistas. With many hidden heiau (places of worship), it's easy to see why this is one of the Island's more cultural and sacred areas. At the end of the trail is the impressive, double-tiered 250-foot Mo'oula Falls, a perfect place to rest and have lunch. The hike is fairly vigorous and the only way to explore the area is with a guide, as the trail crosses private property.
On October 11, 2009, Father Damien was elevated to sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. In 1873, Saint Damien dedicated himself to the Hansen's disease (leprosy) patients who were quarantined for life in Kalaupapa. He helped build houses, an orphanage and church while organizing religious associations, a children's band and choir. Saint Damien's influence is felt throughout Molokai where he built several churches. Two of these churches remain, St. Joseph of Kamalo and Our Lady of Seven Sorrows of Kalua'aha, which hosts weekly Sunday Services.
Early Hawaiians had many technology innovations, with one of the most well known being the use of sophisticated aquaculture. Molokai has many well-preserved examples of fishponds, the oldest dating back to the early 13th century. You'll find the most extensive examples of their ingenuity along Molokai's southern shore. Two of the fishponds have been designated National Historical Landmarks, Keawanui and 'Ualapu'e.
Papohaku Beach Park
Want some space for your beach towel? Molokai's Papohaku Beach is one of Hawaii's largest white-sand beaches, so there's plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the ambience. You'll also find a grassy park for picnicking and camping.
Kaunakakai's long wharf forms the Island's main harbor, where you'll find charter boats for fishing, snorkeling and whale watching. The town's commercial strip is a block of quaint shops so unassuming that first time visitors keep driving around the block looking for the brand name stores. Yet Kaunakakai has a little bit of everything, including groceries, hardwared, a pharmacy, a gourmet wine and spirits shops, an art gallery and gift shop.
Molokai's Halawa Valley trail to Mo'oula Falls is a magnificent hike. A guide is required since this trail crosses private lands. Or try a very strenuous hike through switchbacks and scenic cliffs to historic Kalaupapa. Note tha a guided tour is required to enter the peninsula.
Kalaupapa National Historic
Saddle up and journey back in time to learn about Molokai's fascinating Kalaupapa Peninsula. This peaceful national park is a place of preservation and education and is accessible by foot or mule by reservation only for the daily guided tour (Monday through Saturday by appointment only). Your day will start out at the mule corral, where you will meet your sure footed (and big eared) companions for your visually stunning trip down the 3.2mile trail to historic Kalaupapa.
The Kalaupapa Guided Mule Tour will take you downside of sheer cliffs, as you cross 26 different switchbacks and take in magnificent views of Molokai. Hiking down to Kalaupapa with Damien Tours is another option. You'll be greeted in Kalaupapa by a tour guided and learn about the history of this remarkable town. You'll also learn about Saint Damien, the Belgian priest who courageously served the colony.