Half way between Koloa and Waimea is the valley of Hanapepe, which affords some of the most remarkable views that there are upon the island. After passing Wahiawa, a fertile tract of country, partially overgrown with wild sugar-cane, you come suddenly upon the brink of this valley, which on both sides present steep and precipitous banks of many hundred to some thousand feet in height, and accessible only at a few points. As they approach the sea, the valley widens and they decrease in height, presenting perpendicular masses of red lava columns, pierced by many caves. A fine stream runs through the valley, on either side of which are situated the little plantations and numerous patches of kalo, which affords sustenance to the inhabitants of this quiet retreat.
Their principal hamlet is clustered under the shade of the cocoa nut trees at its mouth. The natives of all the islands seem very generous to prefer the hot and barren seaside, to the cooler and more verdant situations farther up the valley.
This is probably for the sake of the fisheries, and the sport of sea-bathing to which they are passionately addicted and a pretty sight it is, to see youth of both sexes on their surf-boards, sporting as freely amid the heavy rollers, as if they knew no other element. At one time pushing their boards before them as they advance seaward, diving beneath each curling wave, until they have reached the outer extremity of the breakers; then throwing themselves flat upon their support, like a boy upon his snow-sled, they dart inshore with the rapidity of lightning, upon the crest of the waves, merrily shouting all the while, dashing and splashing along, till within a few feet of the rocks, on which with your breath half held from fear, you have been momentarily expecting them to strike to risk of life and limb; but which by a dexterous movement of their limbs they avoid, and pull out to sea again, or throw themselves from their board, which is thrown up by the spent wave, almost at your feet. Formerly old and young engaged in this sport, but now it is a rare sight.
Hanapepe valley, like most of the others extends inland until it reaches near the centre of the island. As it recedes from the seaside the mountains become higher and more precipitous, varying their form and appearances at almost every turn; at time presenting darkened and narrow gorges, through which the river rushes with great violence then expanding into vales of moderate width affording sufficient room for a few houses with the cultivated plots about them. At the head of the valley the scenery is sublime in the extreme. The rush and flow of boiling lava while dame Nature was engaged in piling up the mountains which form the back-ground must have been terrible. Some appear to have been cast up at one convulsive throe, presenting bold and gigantic fronts. Others seem now to be struggling for existence among rivals which crowd and press them down. In some places they push boldlyAdzes Pi'ila up, then, as if wearied by the effort, they rest. At others they were overwhelmed by some more powerful torrent of lava, or have cast back its streams in burning billows which broke, and cooled into many singular shape. They are to be seen in all forms which the fiery liquid assumes when they turned from its course by intervening obstacles or dashed aside and scattered far and wide by the shocks of earthquakes, and the rocky sides of the mountains show now how their irregular piling and distorted veins, the directions which liquid lava took after it found a vent from its original bed. At some points the mountains appear to have been rent violently asunder, presenting sides of uniform appearance. At others, the lava in its downward course, seems to have suddenly cooled on either side of the stream, while the interior flowed on, until it discharged itself into the sea, where it formed shoalsAdzes Pi'ila which are now overgrown with coral. Such is the fact with this valley, Waimea, Wailua and others. In all of these a rich soil has formed, which is now covered with a heavy growth of timber, and dense masses of mosses and ferns.
The rock over which the cascade at Hanapepe falls, is of itself a curiosity. Its height is about two hundred feet, and its shape circular, and its sides of smooth indurated lava, columnar and overhanging the summit. It seems as if the lava in rushing swiftly on had suddenly recoiled, the upper crust and body of it cooled in its first position, while all beneath flowed away, leaving the projecting mass to sustain itself as it best could.
Hanapepe valley which formerly contained a numerous and warlike population, is rapidly becoming depopulated. Its inhabitants are leaving it for more eligible sites for procuring work; but the principal cause is the number of deaths, which in proportion to births of late years has been eight to one.