Another huge benefit to staying at Kipahulu Campground: easy and early access to one of the most popular sites on the ‘Road to Hana” — the pools of ‘Ohe’o Gulch (aka Seven Sacred Pools). Located within Haleakala Park boundaries the Ohe’o Gulch was cut by a rainforest stream over the course of millions of years. Waterfalls pour down over cliffs into large reflective (much more than seven) pools of water.
In the early morning hours there wasn’t a soul in sight. Just us, some big puffy cotton ball clouds, and the calm stillness of the sacred pools.
We drove over the bridge and looked out towards the rugged Kipahulu coastline wondering if we had actually found the pools. Was it possible that an attraction on the road to Hana could be found so easily?
We briefly hiked on a section of the Pipiwai Trail through a forest of magical banyan trees…
…past Hale Ku’ai…
…to a waterfall-fed pool of clear water, just perfect for swimming.
Apparently this area was once home to coastal Hawaiian villages; a lot of their archeological and architectural structures still remained. Pretty cool to think that we camped on the same land and probably woke up to the same beautiful views.
As tempted as we were to jump in, especially given that we had the whole place to ourselves, the morning air was chilly enough to deter us. That, and we were undecided at the time if we wanted to hike more or spend more time at the pools.
Instead we climbed around on rocks and took some mandatory couple’s shots.
Looking towards the coastline the clouds’ reflections created a whole other world below the glass-like surface of the pools as if sky and sea were created from similar entities. In this strange and beautiful world, one could swim in the clouds as a natural infinity pool stretched just to the edge of the water where a border of jagged rocks created a protective barrier from the crashing waves below.
It was a breathtaking spot of serenity; a place we tried to capture via a million an one photos.
The sun peeked out from behind the clouds ever-so-perfectly and we just couldn’t resist snapping a few hundred more photos; some of my favorite from our trip, maybe ever.
We could have spent the entire day here — or at least until noon when the crowds descended. Our moments of peaceful solitude were short-lived as we had to catch a flight back to Oahu later that afternoon. I have no idea what we were thinking dilly dallying the way we did, even hiking a bit on the Pipiwai trail before realizing way late in the game that we should probably get going. I think maybe we thought driving South around the island would be much faster than the road to Hana, especially since we didn’t need to make any stops — except that it wasn’t. We must have finally gotten some kind of reception because after consulting Google Maps we realized we had made a fatal flaw — the fastest and shortest way back to the airport was via the treacherous Road to Hana. Crap.
Sly burned rubber as he sped around curve after winding curve, up and down hills on a road best-suited for a sports car commercial. Meanwhile, I stood semi-hunched in the back of the van, balancing as if on a surfboard while at the same time frantically packing all the crap we had strewn inside our Westie. How I didn’t get nauseous and puke all over the backseat of that campervan I’ll never know.
In terms of close calls, this ranked high on the list. We had *just* enough time to return our campervan at the weird warehouse area, call and catch a cab, and get to the airport in time to check in for our flight back to Oahu.
I don’t think I realized how many photos I took on this trip — but there is an end in sight! That is, until the new blog posts on our most recent trip to Hawaii… though I probably won’t get to that for another couple of years…