Luckily after a while of living in an area you begin to hear about the lesser known locations, the areas that you only find out about from word of mouth or the odd Youtube video, the secret spots.
Early one morning my brother and I, plus a group of friends, got together to hike the White Road. We started out in Hilo, drove along the coast until we reached Waimea and turned right when we saw the street sign reading "White Road".
This hike does involve crossing over private property, but sometimes the owner sits by the gate and accepts a $5 entrance fee from hikers in exchange for permission to hike over his land. It's a good idea to have permission because if not, you risk facing legal issues related to trespass. This is probably one of the reasons why White Road hasn't been turned into the biggest, nastiest tourist trap on the island. Because you risk trespass...And cliffs.
|Gazing over the cliff edge|
The water was icy cold, and the roof of the tunnel was jagged and uneven. We formed a 'train' (hands on each others shoulders in a long line) and shuffled through them, feeling our way in the dark, shouting directions and hoping not to trip over rocks or bump our heads on the low ceiling. If I had done that hike alone I think it could have been rather nightmarish; walking in a narrow black tunnel half filled with water. The stuff of bad dreams.
Helpful Tip #3: Don't do this hike if you are claustrophobic
After hiking through two of these long winding tunnels we finally reached the water flume!
The water flume is a tall concrete 'slide' that has attracted locals for years. When we arrived we had a quick snack and joined a few other groups that had arrived before us, taking turns to grab hold of a long rope and climb up the steep, muddy slope.
The water slide itself is quite a thrill. It's a fast plunge into a small square 'pool' which is about nine feet deep. The first time I went, the breath was stolen from my lungs as I shot down the slide and plunged deep into the icy water. "Breathtaking" is exactly how I would describe it.
As soon as we exited the tunnels I took off running, and didn't rejoin my group until I had warmed up.
Helpful Tip #4: If you do this hike, TAKE WARM CLOTHES!
On the way back we took a side trail to see a little hidden waterfall. It looked like it was straight out of The Garden of Eden. I'm sure there's a way to get right up to the waterfall, but by this point we were all too cold to swim so we just took a few photos, admired the view and continued on.
We also hung out on one of the cliff edges to rest and have a snack. I could have sat there all day, looking down at the valley below. I could have lived there.
|Blueberries with a view|
There was also this cute, mossy little bridge that we crossed. It probably had a troll living under it.
I highly recommend this hike, in my opinion it is the most beautiful place on the entire island, and it's isolation just adds to charm. Just remember: bring snacks and water, a swimsuit, something to keep you warm, and a flashlight if you don't like walking through dark creepy tunnels in deep water. Maybe a first aid kit too.