I really believe much of the reason Hawaii is called “The Pearl of the Pacific” is because of their incredibly lush valleys and seemingly countless named and unnamed gorgeous waterfalls! (Seriously! There are still many unnamed waterfalls, and if anybody knows the tally of total falls, please let me know, will you?) Half a dozen of Hawaii’s waterfalls rank among the world’s tallest, Molokai’s Olo’upena Falls being the fourth highest in the world, and (as I would discover), the Big Island’s Waihilau Falls is the 13th. I innocently asked our pilot if we’d be flying over *Akaka or Rainbow Falls, but he just rolled his eyes knowingly and smiled. “Kathi, the falls I’m going to show you will make Akaka look like a tinker toy.” He was so right!Waihilau Falls in the Waimanu Valley is 2,598 ft. high and is composed of three silvery threads of white water cascading down the western headwall of one of the amphitheaters formed by the Kohala Volcano. In the same valley, there are three other waterfalls that are each over 1,000 ft high: Wai’ilikahi Falls, Kakaauki Falls, and Lahomene Falls.If Waimanu Valley weren’t almost impossibly difficult to reach by anything but helicopter, I’m sure it would be a world-famous site. (It’s an arduous 9-mile one-way hike from Waipio Valley to Waimanu Valley, and right now no one is even allowed in Waipio Valley because of Dengue Fever.)That’s why I wanted so much to be able to share my experience with you. However, it was really hard to take good photographs! There was window glare, a distressing amount of vog and general haze that faded the vibrant colors, dive bombs at weird angles, helicopter chop and camera shakeas the world turned and Alan’s stomach churned!
(This picture was taken earlier, while Alan was still holding his own.) Despite taking hundreds of pictures and spending days
trying to clear and clean them up for you, I am very disappointed that my best efforts can give you only a dim, dull, flawed and blurry representation of the grandeur I experienced and know exists. But then, I realized what the Lord really wanted me to share with you. Even the most phenomenal experiences in this life are as but nothing compared to what God has prepared for us in heaven. We read about what it’s like to know God in the Bible, but our experience of his presence and glory is clouded by the world’s haze and muddied by our own impurities.Our life is so challenging that we often fail to experience his grandeur as we pass. In fact, we will never see God’s beauty with perfect clarity until that future day when God redeems all things and makes the world anew!
“But until then, my heart will go on singing,
Until then, with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.”
(—Stuart Hamblen)“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
(*Photo of Akaka Falls used by permission of my daughter-in-law, Brianna. I took the rest during our Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour of the Big Island in January, 2016.)