If you have yet to experience the wonderful pleasure of hiking or biking the private five mile Wai Koa Loop Trail behind the mini golf in Kilauea, I recommend you set aside an hour and a half and do it. I set out with a couple of friends this last week on this adventure and it was a feast for the eyes from start to finish plus we got some exercise to boot.
The trail starts pretty steep and it’s muddy so it is important to have good brakes and gears on your mountain bike. It then flattens out to a grassy road and meanders through miles of back country land past a dog park, a community garden, the largest Honduras mahogany forest in the world with over 80,000 trees, fish ponds; one with a little pagoda and beautifully placed moss rocks, (The ponds are full of fish including tilapia, bass and koi.) We then rode past fields and orchards including guava and avocado. We also passed a large white tented facility where hydroponic lettuce is grown. We turned and came upon a spectacular view of the west Makalea mountains in the distance. It is amazing just how much farming is going on in this vast stretch of land Mauka (towards the mountains) of Kileaua. I had no idea! The trail is a wonderland but the best was yet to come. At one point we were told to park our bikes ( a bike stand was provided) and walk down a path. As we rounded a corner at the bottom all of a sudden we were transported into a manicured garden with a meandering brook, rock work and woodwork from a bygone century with a picture pretty waterfall at the end. It was simply breathtaking!
The gardens behind the dam continue the serenity of the landscape with a large buddah placed just as you enter the upper area on top of the dam. It is such a peaceful powerful spot.
There is even a little gazebo to rest in, out of the sun while listening to the sound of the water gently flowing over the dam.
Even though I felt transported back to old Hawaii there is a sign at the end of the grassy area above the dam that is a reminder that the present is not far away. Beyond the sign you can look around a corner and up a hill to see new constructions on a giant new home near completion.
The Wai Loa dam and gardens is one of those rare and unexpected places that transported my soul to a higher place and made me feel happy to be alive and living on Kauai. I can’t wait to make another bike excursion into the back country of Kauai and revisit this peaceful garden sanctuary from a distant time. Have you ever been hiking on this or other Kauai trails? If so, I would love to hear your stories, please feel free to leave me your comments.