The Majesty of Nuuanu

On the island of Oahu, at the farthest reaches of emerald-garbed Nuuanu
Valley is the Nuuanu Pali there\'s a place you can visit to enjoy dense green
forest, spectacular mountain-to-ocean views, and a piece of Hawaiian history.
Nuuanu is an area located on the southeastern part of the island and "pali"
is a Hawaiian word meaning "cliff". Getting there is very simple if
you\'re coming from Honolulu. Get on H-1 freeway then take the Pali Highway
off-ramp. Once on Pali Highway, follow the green signs alongside the road to
reach your destination. The ride should take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Ladies, don\'t wear a dress or skirt when visiting the Pali because it\'s very
windy and you won\'t enjoy yourself if you\'re worrying about strangers seeing
your underwear. Likewise, gentlemen, don\'t wear hats, loose sunglasses, or
toupees to the site because when a strong gust of wind comes along, you may
never see your belongings again. Because of the wind, a jacket or sweater is
recommended. Depending on the season, sporadic showers of rain are also common.
Do bring a camera, for the view is fabulous and you will not be disappointed.

Nuuanu Pali is surrounded by dense forest heavy with moisture. As you travel
up Pali Highway, the houses begin to thin and the greenery begins to take over.
During the winter and spring there are many waterfalls to be seen in the
mountains. The trees, covered with moss and green twisting vines, block out the
sun and civilization. The plants and vines seem to have taken over everything
except the asphalt road being driven on. All of a sudden, the forest ends and a
small open parking lot appears. The lookout is at the end of a paved walkway. On
the sides of the walkway are a couple of vendors. One vendor sells T-shirts and
hands out pamphlets which educate people about the issue of Hawaiian
Sovereignty. The other vendor sells Polynesian arts and crafts. As you stand at
the lookout, look at the knife-edged ridges to your left and right. These
mountainous arms that embrace the windward side as far north as Kualoa and as
far south as Waimanalo are mere remnants of Koolau mountain, they are landward
wall of what once was a massive volcano. Time and ocean tides have eroded and
collapsed the seaward side of the volcano. From the lookout, many towns and
places of interest can be seen. To the left is Kahaluu and the new H-3 freeway.
Straight ahead is Kaneohe and Kaneohe Bay. Olomana and Kailua are to the right.
You can also see Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station, the Koolau and Pali golf
courses, and Kapaa Quarry. The Koolau Mountains are awesome, majestic, and
breathtaking. The blues of the ocean and sky blend together, making it difficult
to tell where the earth ends and where the sky begins. Sometimes, the clouds and
mist drop low over the mountains and sheets of rain can be seen falling over the
land and sea. Double and triple rainbows are also a familiar sight. The cold
wind constantly blows and brings the scent of rain, ferns, and damp earth mixed
together.

Standing there, at the edge of the cliff, watching land, sea and sky come
together and feeling and hearing the whipping wind all around, it is easy to be
transported back to a time before concrete, automobiles, and pollution. More
than 200 years ago, a great warrior chief from the island of Hawaii named
Kamehameha envisioned uniting all the Hawaiian islands. Many chiefs, including
High Chief Kalanikupule from the island of Oahu did not share in Kamehameha\'s
dream and decided to challenge him. In 1795, thousands of Kamehameha\'s warriors
drove Kalanikupule and his army up to Nuuanu Pali where many fell or fought to
their deaths. Later, in the early 1800s, the kamaaina would traverse the deadly
Nuuanu Pali with children, food, and supplies tied to their backs. In 1897, a
highway was built and during the construction, workers found approximately 800
skulls and other bones at the bottom of the cliff - remains of the warriors who
were defeated by Kamehameha. Many more improvements were made to the highway and
now the old road is a hiking trail which branches off from the lookout point.

Category: Miscellaneous