This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Bucket List Images.’ (See more responses here.) Since I don’t have a bucket list that posed something of a problem for me, so I plumped for this image of Waipi’o Valley, since I might never see this view again.
Waipi’o is a valley on the northeastern slopes of Kohala Mountain. The valley is about one mile wide at the mouth and about six miles deep with walls that are around 2,000 feet high. It’s accessed by a steep, one-lane road that’s for four-wheel-drive vehicles only. On the left of the top photo, and in the photo to the right, is Hi’ilawe Falls which tumbles almost 1,500 feet into the valley.
Waipi’o means ‘curved water’ in Hawaiian and the valley is known as the “Valley of Kings.” It was the home of Hawaiian royalty until the 15th century and was a stronghold of King Kamehameha, who united the Hawaiian islands under one leader. In its heyday, the valley was home to somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 people.
Those numbers dropped over time, but the valley remained well-populated until 1946 when a magnitude 8.6 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands triggered a massive Pacific-wide tsunami with waves ranging from 45–130 ft. high. Waipi’o Valley was hit by this tsunami, and though no-one was killed, most of the structures in the valley were destroyed. Today, the population is around 50 residents, though many more visit on a daily basis.