5 hours from pick up to drop off; 0 – 3 miles RT; Easy – Moderate
Our adventure begins near the mouth of the Wailua River. We will make a quick stop early on at a roadside overlook to observe ‘O’paeka’a (O-pay-ka-a) Falls, a 151-foot bubbling cascade of white froth, tumbling down a wall of dark brown volcanic basalt. The falls are perfectly framed by walls of verdant green vegetation. ‘O’paeka’a means “rolling shrimp,” apparently freshwater shrimp were once seen here in such abundance that they would create a spectacle rolling off the ledge alongside the water into the sparkling pool below.
From here, we will continue deeper into the Garden Isle’s lush interior, until we reach the Keahua Arboretum inside the Halelea Forest Reserve – here the pavement gives way to a rough dirt & gravel 4×4 track. This is the only public road on the island that leads so far inland, taking us very near the center of the island and close to the headwaters of the North Fork of the Wailua River at the base of Mount Wai’ale’ale.