Hawai’i Big Island – Waimea

Day 9 – Laupahoehoe to Waimea – Cowboy country

We watch the sunrise at Laupahoehoe and it looks like the rain has stopped. An officer drives by informing us that maybe we should get going since a crew has just arrived to work on a bridge and the road will be closed until noon. He uses the phrase “If I were you…” but I don’t think he really means it.

Sunrise at Laupahoehoe Park
Sunrise at Laupahoehoe Park

We push our bikes up the hill as big machines come down the road. The highway is not too busy yet and we stay on it until Honoka’a. On the way we stop at Donna’s Cookies to sample a few bits and reluctantly buy a small bag of chocolate chip cookies (they are disappointing). In Honoka’a, at Sweet & Savory Treats, we are told that all savory things are gone and espresso machine is broke. We walk to a store across the street, get a cheese sandwich and a smoothie instead (they are great). This town is the gateway for excursions into Waipio Valley. I’ve heard good things about it but we decide to skip it. Even if we had the energy to ride 10 miles to the viewpoint and back (we do not), we won’t be able to venture into the valley itself and make it back on time; it needs its own day, maybe two.

The road back to the highway from Honoka’a is impossibly steep. Once on the highway we just cross it to the other side and continue onto the Old Mamalahoa Hwy. There is almost no one on this road. Lush and full of trees on both sides, crossing narrow bridges over small streams, a pair of unleashed dogs not sure what to do with us …

Suddenly the view opens up and we are surrounded by grasslands. The sun is strong and wind is behind us carrying us quickly towards Waimea. We reach the cowboy town when school buses begin their rounds. It’s just typical small town traffic, people hurrying in and out of their driveway. We make our way to our inn and settle quickly. The view of Mauna Kea from town is beautiful. We explore small shops and head to BrewHaus to grab a bite. They also make amazing beer.