Trip to Iao Valley

So I realized the Lahaina L hike wasn't the first time I explored Maui...oops!

The first little adventure was with Summer, Jeremy and Ronan in Iao Valley :D It was a slightly overcast day, but the valley was still incredible to see.

BLUE SKY! The sun was trying to come out from behind the clouds

Kuka‘emoku (ʻIao Needle) is one of Maui's most recognizable landmarks. It rises 1200 ft. above the valley floor!

"Aside from its natural tropical beautiful, sacred Iao Valley has great historical significance. It was here in 1790 at the Battle of Kepaniwai that King Kamehameha I clashed with Maui's army in his quest to unite the islands. Even with Iao Needle serving as a lookout point, Kamehameha defeated Maui's forces in a ferocious battle that ultimately changed the course of Hawaiian history."

"As one of Maui's most important political centers, many battles took place here. Wailuku translates as the "waters of destruction" referring to its history of battles and floods.Iao is so sacred that the remains of the highest chiefs were entrusted to secret hiding places in the valley. Kaka'e, ruler of Maui in the late 1400's to 1500s, is believed to have designated this valley an ali'i burial area.

In the late 1780's, Kamehameha I from the island of Hawai'i began waging battles to unite all the islands under his rule. In 1790, he landed along Kahului Bay with a large fleet of canoes. At Wailuku, Kamekamha's forces met the Maui forces under Kalanikupule.

This battle for Maui is said to be one of the bitterest ever fought on Hawaiian soil. As the warriors reached 'Iao, their shouts of defiance echoed throughout the valley. Women and children on the mountainsides were witnesses to the clashing of wooden spears, the firing of muskets, and the roar of the cannon. There were so many slain from both armies that their bodies clogged the stream. Thus, the battle was named Kepaniwai or "Damming of the waters." The guns and cannon were the winning advantage for Kamehameha. But he and Kalanikupule were destined to meet again in the battle of Nu'uanu Pali on O'ahu. With Kamehameha's defeat of the forces on Maui and O'ahu and an agreement with Kaua'i, he became the first mo'i (king) of the Hawaiian Islands."

Even though there were so many people around, I could feel the sacred energy and the history, similar to the feeling when you're standing in an old castle or church in Europe and you wish the walls could talk...I wish the trees, the rocks, the river, the whole valley could talk and tell me all the memories it has of the people that called this place home, before it was a state park with a paved walking trail and crowded with tourists taking photos (like me).

After walking along the trail up to the lookout, we headed down to the garden. On the way down, we passed a stream, which is the one referred to above in "the damming of the waters" battle as far as I know. I decided to walk down into the water to get my feet wet and take some pictures. It was VERY cold, but it felt refreshing and woke me up that's for sure! I even took some video because I love the sound of rushing water.

We continued on and as we walked up the steps to the garden, a woman with a goat passed us! Yes, you read that right, a GOAT!!

She even posed for me as she was running by to get to her two-legged mama!

The garden is supposed to be a representation of the plants that were grown here by the villagers hundreds of years ago. The only plant I recognized was taro :P

Here's the view of the Iao Needle from the garden:

Wow, right?! So lush and vibrant!

And I took this photo of one of the rocks in the garden because I thought it was cool...and probably means nothing but who knows? Maybe it was used to count how many days had passed by during one of the wars or to teach math to the kids in the village, or maybe it was made recently...I'll go with the story that it's from hundred of years ago ;)

**info about Iao Valley: www.gohawaii.com, http://www.mauiinformationguide.com/iao-valley.php

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