"May you always find new roads to travel; new horizons to explore; new dreams to call your own."

Valley of Kings

Valley of Kings

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Sunday I had one of the best experiences of my life.

Before coming to Hawaii I had researched places that I could go to catch the best sunrise. One of the places that popped up was Waipi'o Valley. So we looked up what time sunrise was going to be, and we planned for it.

I woke up at 4AM to take a shower and get ready. I don't mind getting up super early when it is for an adventure. So, we got on the road around 5:30. It actually doesn't take that long to get there from Waimea (where we are staying), but the sunrise and the scenery on the way was so beautiful that we stopped a few times to get out and take some photos.

Stunning...never had I seen the sun so bright.  

Stunning...never had I seen the sun so bright.  

Driving into the clouds...at least it looked that way.  

Driving into the clouds...at least it looked that way.  

By the time we got to the Waipi'o Valley Lookout point it was around 6:50. It was so beautiful from above. We had no idea how beautiful it was going to be from below… But I will get to that later.

View from the lookout

View from the lookout

We had planned to walk down the steep and winding road, but we made it maybe 100 feet before we were offered a ride from some locals. Our knees already hurt, and I had slipped twice so we jumped on the opportunity. TJ, AJ, and Koa offered us a ride in TJ's big truck down into the valley. We had no idea what we're getting ourselves into.

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"The road down to Waipi’o valley is one of the steepest roads in the world. On the steepest part, it rises 800 ft in only 0.6 mile."

It was such a crazy ride down. The truck went through potholes that were feet deep. Did I mention that we were in the back of the truck? We were bouncing all over the place lol! It was crazy. We had heard this story about how someone that was inexperienced tried to drive down the road without four-wheel-drive and their car had gone off the cliff, but they survived because they jumped out. We had no idea if it was true or if it was just something to scare us, but once we got down there to the muddy trail we saw the mangled frame of the car. Wild right?!

Once we made it to the beach at the bottom of the valley, we were relieved, but more so we were stunned at the view. It is so hard to explain through photos and words just how I felt. It really looked like something out of a movie, something so unreal. You could really tell that this was a sacred place. The light was shining on the cliff to our left. The green was standing out so beautifully with the sun beating down on it. The cliff to our right had the sun peeking out from behind it - making it darker and more like a silhouette. There was also mist rising from the bottom the cliff. The best way I can describe it is magical. Oh, and I can't forget about the stunning black sand that sparkles when the sun comes out. If you don't know, the Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanic activity.

Cliff to the left 

Cliff to the left 

Cliff to the right  

Cliff to the right  

"The pounding of the waves on the hardened lava creates tiny bits of black volcanic glass, which results in, with sufficient quantities, a black sand beach."

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My friend, Tessa, took a photo of me while I was shooting.  

My friend, Tessa, took a photo of me while I was shooting.  

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We took some papaya to eat.  

We took some papaya to eat.  

Happiness.  

Happiness.  

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Looking back into the valley  

Looking back into the valley  

Tessa taking it all in.  

Tessa taking it all in.  

This is the most beautiful place that I have ever been. Hands down. It is not only the beauty that pulls you in, but also the energy.

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After the guys were done surfing they offered us a ride back up. First they wanted to clean off the truck. So they took us down even further into the valley. This part was even scarier, the road even steeper.

To clean off the truck, TJ drove through the river. Yes, drove the truck through the river. We entered areas where there were signs posted saying "no trespassing". We were with locals though so were okay. We crossed streams, passed horses and were surrounded by lush greenery. We got to see the magnificent Hi'ilawe Waterfall also. The waterfall drops about 1,450 feet.

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Hi'ilawe Waterfall  

Hi'ilawe Waterfall  

Driving through the water.  

Driving through the water.  

After the truck was clean and the guys had rinsed the saltwater off themselves in the river, we made the journey back up.

It was such an adventure. When it was over we were in shock that that actually happened, and that it all was over by 11am. Crazy! I cannot thank TJ, AJ and Koa enough. It was an experience that we will remember for a lifetime. I have to come back, and I have to go back down there.

It is such a special place. If you are ever on the big island, I recommend that you meet some amazing locals and make the journey down into the valley to experience this magical place for yourself.

Please visit my Instagram page at Instagram.com/elsfaye for more photos of my Hawaii trip. 

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 -Ellie

To read more on the history of the valley and the Kings, visit these pages:

http://www.lovebigisland.com/waipio-valley/

http://gohawaii.about.com/cs/bigislandland/a/waipio_valley.htm

Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea

Pistacia Vera

Pistacia Vera