Halape, tropical oasis.
The volcanoes park is huge and there are many relatively short and easy hikes to explore it. But those were not exciting enough for us. Where is fun in short ans easy? Instead, we paid a visit to the park’s backcountry office to investigate more entertaining backpacking trip opportunities. Though we did ask them to recommend something easier than the Waimanu valley trail. We felt adventurous but still tired.
The consensus was to go backpacking on an overnight 16-mile round trip trail to Halape: a secluded beach lined with coconut palm trees and surrounded by snorkeling pools. We picked a route of moderate difficulty: slightly downhill through lava fields, shrubs and tall grass. The catch? Nowhere to hide from that excruciatingly unforgiving sun. Oh well… We just had to apply a lot of sunscreen and bring gallons of water (2 gallons to be exact).
Ready to roll! On a hot day through long lava covered trail ahead of us.
Well, it was hot! And windy. And tiring. And painful. Remember I mentioned tall grass? I should have worn long pants as we were advised. Interestingly enough, Matt did not get the same reaction to that grass, even though he is the one getting all kinds of reactions to bug bites while my legs get no attention from fauna whatsoever.
Note to mom: то нічого страшного. Трохи попеклася. Швидко все пройшло.
After almost six hours we saw this patch of green with palms. That was our long awaited oasis.
We’ve heard that this beach was the most popular destination for backpackers in the volcanoes park. But not this time. We were completely alone. So we picked the coziest campsite: hidden from the view (I know… There was no one to hide from…), close to the snorkeling pool and the pit toilet (yep, there was a toilet on a secluded beach in the middle of nowhere. And by close I mean few hundred feet away).
Walk to the beach from the tent
We hung out on the beach for a bit after arrival, but it was too hot. So we took a nap.
By the way, that pit toilet was awesome. It had great views.
That night, just before the moon rise, we got to see stars. A lot of them. A lot more than at the top of Mauna Kea. I was so mesmerized by the sky at night, that I almost ignored a slight pinch on my leg while sitting on a rock. I got up, turned on my headlamp and saw a monstrous 4-inch centipede… Matt and I didn’t sit on any rocks on that beach afterwards. And we made sure to zip up our tent tightly.
Sleeping on a secluded beach, with no people for miles was kind of scary. There were lots of suspicious sounds around (more than in Waimanu valley). Thankfully, I was too tired to be scared all night.
In the morning, we woke up because of this bird sitting just above the tent and chirping loudly. It would have been cute if it were not that annoying.
Breakfast, coffee, snorkeling, photography. It was a great start of the day. But we had to go back to civilization.
The return trip was exhausting. The same hot sun, strong wind, and mostly uphill climb. Then it started raining. The further away we got from the shore, the heavier the rain was. And in the last half a mile it was a downpour.
But I managed it, mostly by thinking about beer I was planning to drink at the end. The beer didn’t disappoint.
Coconut Porter by Maui Brewing Company. Excellent brew!