Born and raised in Hawaii with many aunties, uncles and cousins has its perkes, one of which is knowing of the best places to see and visit. I feel blessed that I have so many relatives living in Hawaii. My Aunty Margaret has a taro farm in Waipio Valley. She took us on one of her daily jaunts which require four-wheel drive down to her taro farm. Taro is the main staple in Hawaiian food and used to make poi. The process itself is a different story. Loo Taro Company is one of the largest suppliers of taro to the State of Hawaii.
Waipio Valley is located on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, near Kukuihaele and Honokaa. One of a few black sands beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii is located in the bottom of the entrance to the valley, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Waipio Valley is one of seven valleys on the windward side of the Kohala Mountains. It has a little more than one mile of beach coastline and is about six miles deep. There are cliffs on each side of the valley, each cliff about 2,000 feet in elevation with countless cascading waterfalls and some of the most interesting folklore. Taro is grown in fields of fresh water at the bottom of the valley similar to how rice is grown. The waterfalls and rain supply the fresh water needed to grow the taro and sustain the verdant lush natural forest, it's a jungle.
The most unexpected beauty is found in Waipio Valley. Known as the "Valley of the Kings", Waipio Valley was once home to many Hawaiian warriors and King Kamehameha, Hawaii's greatest warrior-king. According Aunty Margaret it was a thriving civilization, an area that had several battles with warriors buried in a sacred place near the black sands beach, present day clearly marked burial grounds.
Mother nature mesmerizes you with her beauty at the lookout of Waipio Valley, where most tourists end their tour and gather to take their pictures, missing the beauty below because the hike in and out is so treacherous.
Just imagine dropping 2,000 feet in little over a mile of road that is only one lane. There are three spots in the road which trucks going down stop and yield to upcoming trucks. Only your imagination can depict how narrow and steep this road is and how sheer the cliffs are. At the bottom, some areas of the road had holes two or three feet deep filled with mud and water.
Ohia trees, Gabriels trumpets flowers, Noni fruit plants, Lama Trees, hibiscus, plumerias, lehua trees and kopiko trees cling to the towering cliffs and lush green valley below.
Aunty Margaret's taro farm has 15 separate taro patties, each in various growth stages. Some areas have watercress growing in the troughs of water. During the time my husband and I spent in the valley at her taro farm, my aunty harvested some taro and attended to the ponds to ensure the water flow was not obstructed. She harvested two large stalks of bananas, each weighing about 35 pounds from 20ft high banana trees, yes my 77 year old aunty did all of this insisting that she could do it all herself. My husband did carry the large bundles of bananas and stacked them in the back of her truck only after she washed the stalks in the fresh water creek. Aunty Margaret typically harvests one stalk of banana each week without any assistance.
People on this side of the island respectfully refer to my aunty as Aunty Margaret, she's not their real aunty, she's my real aunty, but I'll share.