Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Nakalele Blowhole, HI

Hiked: 1/2/2017
Distance: 0.5 miles on use trail
Summit Elevation: 209' (high point at turn out)
Elevation Gain: 200'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.16
Round trip time: 20 minutes
Recommended water: 0 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free on Kahekeli Highway (highway 340)
Difficulty: Easy

The Nakalele Blowhole is a geological oddity on the north shore of Maui, just north of Poelua Bay. The ocean dug a hole through the lava shelf and when waves hit the shore, water blasts up through the hole making it look like a geyser. To get to the blowhole, park at the public parking lot on highway 340 and hike a quarter mile down. The terrain is dirt/mud and volcanic rock, dropping about 200' from the highway. There are a couple of light class 2 moves required for the descent, though you can get good views of the phenomenon from higher up. Leisa and Shelby had flip flops and didn't want to make the full descent. Parker and I had tennis shoes, not ideal footwear, but good enough and we worked our way to the level to the blowhole. We stopped 30' short, though several tourists were standing right next to it. An unlucky slip could send you into the blowhole and certain death. One tourist died in 2011 in the blowhole, and a few others have died from falls on the way down, but it is not really more dangerous than most undeveloped coastal areas. The parking lot was almost full, but the hike was not overcrowded. We watched the blowhole explode a few times before returning to the car. It was a cool diversion.

Descending to the blowhole

Pools in volcanic rock

Some of these boulders looked sponge-like, but were sharp and brittle

Looking south to Puu Koae (636')

Parker heading back up

Blowhole slow motion

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