Nuʻuanu Pali, Hawaii

Gañac was a very hospitable classmate, he took his time driving me around Honolulu seeing sights that I thought never existed. After visiting the VA Hospital on top of hill we drove around the outskirts of the city and clueless of where we were going I just went with it. We drove up the mountain in wooded area and came across a large parking lot.

On the way

There were tour buses, vehicles and people walking around. We parked and I followed Gañac while taking some pictures. Then we came across the entrance, “Nu’uanu Pali Lookout.” There was a Japanese shrine, rugged mountainside and we finally reached the lookout. The view was breathtaking I felt like we can see the whole island from here. As I admire this view here is some background about this area.

The entrance and viewpoint

“Nuʻuanu Pali is a section of the windward cliff of the Koʻolau mountain located at the head of Nuʻuanu Valley on the island of Oʻahu. It has a panoramic view of the windward (northeast) coast of Oʻahu. The Pali Highway (Hawaii State Highway 61) connecting Kailua/Kāneʻohe with downtown Honolulu runs through the Nuʻuanu Pali Tunnels bored into the cliffside.

The Nuʻuanu Pali has been a vital pass from ancient times to the present because it is a low, traversable section of the Koʻolau mountain range that connects the leeward side of the mountains, Honolulu to the windward side, Kailua and Kāneʻohe. The route drew settlers who formed villages in the area and populated Nuʻuanu Valley for a thousand years.”

Now we know something about the area and we waited for our turn to take pictures at this panoramic view and we asked other people to take our pictures. I can’t help myself from clicking my camera every turn I make because it was easily breathtaking. Unfortunately, other people have to take their turns for the perfect angle that we left the main lookout and walked around.

There are some markers and information about the area, a map and a famous battle that occur in this area in Hawaiian history.

Battle of Nu’uanu – Uniting the Islands

In the late 1700s, Kamehameha I froom the island of Hawai’i, sought to unite all the Hawaiian Islands under one rule. The battle for O’ahu began with the arrival of his forces at Waikiki in 1795.

The Battle marker

O’ahu had been defeated by Maui forces a decade earlier and Maui’s Chief Kalanikupule now led the forces on O’ahu. After many hard-fought battles, he was driven up Nu’uanu Valley to this location. Both sides fought with Hawaiian spears and Western firearms but Kamehameha’s cannon gave him the winning advantage.

The battle, called Kaleleka’anae “leaping of the ‘anae fish), refers to the men forced off the cliff during the conflict. An estimated 400 warriors died in this battle. With Kamehameha’s victory on O’ahu and the signing of an agreement with Chief Kaumuali’i of Kaua’i, he became the first king of the Hawaiian Islands.”

For more information about that battle check this site out. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nu%CA%BBuanu. After reading the inscription we continued to walk around some more and read more details about this place and came across the Pali Road.

Pali Road – From Trail to Highway

Marker of the Pali Road

“The Nuʻuanu Pali has been a vital pass from ancient times to the present because it is a low, traversable section of the Koʻolau mountain range that connects the leeward side of the mountains, Honolulu to the windward side, Kailua and Kāneʻohe. The route drew settlers who formed villages in the area and populated Nuʻuanu Valley for a thousand years.

In 1845 the first road was built over the Nuʻuanu Pali, to connect Windward Oʻahu with Honolulu. In 1898, as this road was developed into a highway, workers found 800 human skulls—believed to be the remains of the warriors who fell to their deaths from the cliff above.

Constructed in 1897 and opened for public traffic in 1898. The road has an average grade of eight percent and is 8800 feet long. The original survey was made by John H. Wilson, under supervision of William E. Rowell Superintendent of Public Works W.W. Bruner Highway engineer both of the Republic of Hawaii. Completion of the job was due to the vision and ability of John H. Wilson and Louis M. Whitehouse. They did the work under contract for the Republic of Hawaii.

This road was later replaced by the Pali Highway and the Nuʻuanu Pali Tunnels in 1959, which is the route used today.”

After doing some research about this area. I found out there were some legends concerning the place. Also, to end this article I saw plenty of chickens running around the lookout. Gañac told me about why they were bountiful in the area. Hopefully, one of these legends can provide an explanation on the event.

The Ghost Dog

There is also a legend that takes place around the Nuʻuanu Pali.  This legend states that when people came across this dog on the Pali, they had to turn back around or else they would not make it up the steep mountain. Because of these events, it is said that coming across this dog would lead to kaupe, meaning disaster.

The Goddesses

Two large stones near the back of Nuʻuanu Valley, Hapuʻu and Ka-lae-hau-ola, were said to represent a pair of goddesses who were guardians of the passage down the pali. Travellers would leave offerings of flowers or kapa (bark cloth) to ensure a safe trip, and parents buried the umbilical cords of newborns under the stones as a protection against evil.

Chickens around the park

According to legend, the pass is inhabited by a moʻo wahine, a lizard who takes the form of a beautiful woman and leads male travelers to their deaths off the cliff, similar to a western poltergeist or mermaid.

Hawaiian folklore holds that people should never carry pork over Nuʻuanu Pali, especially at night. Pele, the volcano goddess, was responsible for preventing passage due to her contest with Kamapua’a, a half human, half hog god, and would not allow him (in the form of pork) to trespass on her side of the island.”

Here the links for more information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nu%CA%BBuanu_Pali

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Nu%CA%BBuanu

Say Cheez!

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