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A rare day on which the falls of Waipuhia are flowing. Where once these falls were a famous site pointed out to tourists, today there is no good vantage point from which to see them, as there is no place to stop and look from the fast-moving Pali highway.


Waipuhia is named in the story of Keaomelemele as one of two guardian maidens living atop the Ko‘olaus that were sent to look after Paliuli. They later returned to their residences atop the mountains. Waipuhia, "blown water," is often called "The Upside Down Falls." These waterfalls, which ought to cascade down the fluted sides of the mountain, are instead often caught by the wind and lifted back upwards, their waters scattered by the winds.

Here is a different story of Waipuhia, from from Raphaelson (1925).



"A boy and a girl lived on these hills. Every day he came and they played together and laughted in the sun. The girl's eyes shone, which delighted her gods, the mist and the wind.

"But they noticed at night when the boy went home, the little girl's eyes grew pensive and sad. So they made a plot one late afternoon.

"The sun was sinking in the west. The mist grew thick on the young boy's trail. He stumbled and fell in the blanket of cloud. The hills were the sea; the sea was the hills. He found himself back at the young girl's door.


Mist on Lanihuli

Mist envelopes Lanihuli.


Upside Down Falls

The falls blowing upwards on a windy day.


"Next evening came and he tried again. He met the wind. Trees dpped and swayed and the stinging dust blinded his eyes. He staggered and fell and stumbled along till again he reached the young girl's door.

"Days and months and years passed by. He became a man. He had a dream. His father's house was caught in a storm. Within, his parents, bent and old, called for his aid.

"He woke with a start, filled with dread, and quickly walked the neglected trail. He never returned."


"Days passed till the lonely girl grew quite forlorn. And then one day, the voice on the wind was the voice of her love. It told how her lover had been lost in the storm that was sent by the goddess of Kalihi pass, who lived in the midst of lehua flowers. These flowers, the voice on the wind told the girl, had been carelessly picked for lehua leis, and no tribute paid.

"The lonely girl bowed her head and wept.

"Her tears were gathered in a silvery thread. Half-way down the cliff they fell, and there they were caught by the god of the wind and tossed into spray by the god of the mist. They were wafted above in a glamorous veil and gently bathed the voice on the wind."


Lehua Blossom

Lehua blossom.
Photo from the National Park Service.


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