Akaka Falls State Park

Our tour guide Kala helped the guests navigate through a densely vegetated rainforest filled with ginger, bamboo, pink bananas, heliconia, and many other exotic tropical flowering plants.  At the end of the trail, we came to a lookout with an amazing view of Akaka falls and the massive gulch it has carved through the mountain side over thousands of years.  The rivers of Akaka falls are the native habitat for the O’opu (a type of fish) and the ‘opae’kala’ole (a type of shrimp) that are endemic (biologically unique) to Hawaii.  Like many native plants and animals that evolved here in the islands, these two organisms have developed unique characteristics unlike animals anywhere else in the world.  They are both capable of climbing this waterfall (442 feet) by use of a specially adapted suction cup on their bellies.  After a few minutes of standing at the lookout, the sun came out and illuminated the mists at the base of the waterfall which broke out in a vibrant rainbow.  A lucky treat for all of us.

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