Smorgasbord Guest Post – Ka’lkena O ‘lai State Park on #Maui by Marsha Ingrao

Delighted to welcome Marsha Ingrao today with a wonderful guided tour of Ka’lkena O ‘lai State Park in Maui.

Visiting Ka’Ikena O ‘Iao State Park in Maui, HI is one of the must do activities if you love gardens and easy hiking. You can do a quick hike in 20-30 minutes or enjoy every detail and take several hours.

If you are Hawaiian, it’s free, but tourists pay only $5.00 per car to park, and you can stay as long as you like.

By the time you reach the parking lot, you already have a magnificent view of the famous Iao Needle. And the young ones want to push forward up the broad path.

The official Iao Valley State Park website lists the amenities as a Scenic Viewpoint, Trash Cans, a Walking Path, and Restrooms. So you won’t want to miss these. It’s a long walk.

Iao’s Unique History

Somebody in the group always wants to stop and read the historical markers. Usually, that’s me. If you don’t learn anything else about Hawaii, you will probably recognize the name of King Kamehameha I. The battle of Kepaniwai took place here in 1790 with King Kamehameha I defeating the Maui army. No doubt they did not want to give up the beautiful island and fought bitterly to save it.

Although Kamehameha had guns and cannons, the waters churned with casualties on both sides. Women and children watched the massacre from the hills.

Leaving the history behind, three couples of us started up the broad path together. The climb was easy because all frequently stopped to take pictures. That’s a sneaky way to catch your breath without anyone noticing that vog and the steep climb made breathing laborious.

Vog results from the smoldering volcano ash from a nearby island. It’s no healthier for you than smog or smoking, but we stood and breathed it in for a while just to get a feel for the place.

As we worked our way closer to the 133 stairs up to the Needle Scenic Viewpoint, a young man worked his own guns. We paused to enjoy the fitness show for a while and take pictures.

When we finally reached the Viewpoint, we were hardly any closer to the Iao Needle than we had been 133 steps before. That’s not to say it wasn’t worth the climb. Nothing obscured the view. We were done hiking anyway, so we sat down to enjoy the shaded rest area.

There are trails you can take to the top, but we didn’t follow the signs advertising trails to tourists.

On the way down our party of six didn’t even try to stay together. I got sidetracked by a spider web sparkling in the sun that wouldn’t cooperate when I tried to focus in on my camera.

What a journey down, gravity pulling you down speeding up every step until you’re almost running by the time you reach the bottom if you don’t make it a point to stop along the way. Burning calves demanded me to rest and photograph the ferns and other greenery. It wasn’t raining while we were there, but with this lush vegetation, you could well imagine that it should have been.

At the bottom of the stairs, the path led beside a stream with rapids. In every park with natural water features, people do dumb things. Children here frolicked in the water with no lifejackets.

Water-related accidents commonly cause of death in parks, forests, and waterways. Many drowning victims had engaged in activities as innocent as wading, taking photos or playing beside the stream bank.

For example, one girl had her dog on a raft and pulled it back when it got too close to the rapids. Would it do any good to yell at her and tell her not to do that? None of our party did.

What would you do if you saw something you thought was cruel or at best stupid behavior in water?

Beware of Five Water Hazards

  • Cold water. Even warm water can cool your body temperature if you get caught in it for a while.
  • Rapid currents. If you slip or lose focus, the current may trap you under water or cause you to fall and break or sprain a bone.
  • Swimming without a life jacket in a stream is dangerous. Using a life jacket goes without saying for children. However, parks also find adults who have gotten trapped when going over rapids even if they had been good swimmers.
  • Don’t wade upstream from a waterfall even if the water seems calm.
  • Park officials suggest that you stay on trail or walkway. Often people wear inappropriate hiking shoes such as thongs or sandals. Wet debris is notoriously slippery, and poisonous plants sometimes lurk just off the path.


What other rules or advice would you give your children if you go on a hike near the water?

Is this visitor looking for the Needle? He’s not even close to the Haystack let alone the Iao Needle! He probably knows more about the trees in Hawaii than I do.

It surprised me that there were so few flowers in this park. Iao Needle State Park luxuriously green, overflows with ferns.

On the way back up from the stream we noticed that Mr. Fitness had disappeared. Fortunately, no bodies had floated down the river as we watched the kids playing in the water. Wherever he was, it looked like he littered and left behind some valuable items of clothing.

Maybe he had turned into Spider-man.

Our trip culminated back in the parking lot where the state bird had taken ownership of the grassy picnic areas. We relaxed for a while in the shade while some of our party visited the amenities one last time before we drove away.

Hope you enjoyed the gardens of the Iao Needle State Park. Be sure to visit it yourself as these pictures can’t do it justice.

My thanks to Marsha for this wonderful glimpse of this spectacular park and mountain.

About Marsha Ingrao

Marsha is a retired teacher and History Consultant for the Office of Education for Tulare County in Central California.

My first novel, Girls on Fire, a romantic comedy about three women in their early sixties looking for new loves, will come out as soon as my editor sends me back the final edits to make. Three blogs keep me busy the rest of the time I sit at my desk.

In the past year, I have focused more on writing, blogging, and photography for newbies and non-professional bloggers. I write about those topics on this blog, Always Write.

Marsha is author of Woodlake (Images of America)

About the book

Known as the area “within the magic circle,” the Western town of Woodlake, along with its surrounding valley, is rich in both natural resources and hardworking citizens who are proud of their heritage. Most Tulare County towns sprang up along the Southern Pacific Railroad. Woodlake, designed as a tourist town, drew together farming communities, consisting of people too busy raising fruit and cattle to create a town. Starting with Thomas Henry Davis in 1853, settlers established farms and ranches, which attracted Los Angeles millionaire Gilbert Stevenson when he arrived in 1907.

Approved by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on October 3, 1911, the world-class tourist town named Woodlake grew from Stevenson’s imagination into reality. Led by the strong sales personality of its founder, Woodlake grew quickly, yet it remained a Western town, retaining reference points to the early communities that visitors would not find on signs. Visitors to Woodlake today will find Woodlakeans still doing what attracted Gilbert Stevenson: raising cattle and growing citrus within protection of the Sierra Nevada and foothills.

All author’s proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Woodlake High School Foundation.

One of the reviews for the book.

Wonderful book of Woodlake history. It’s a treasure! I bought three so my kids have their own copy. Grandson loves it! It’s heritage!

Buy the book from Amazon:

Connect to Marsha

Websites: Blogging tutorials and personal posts:

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Thank you for dropping by today and please feel free to share.. thanks Sally

24 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Guest Post – Ka’lkena O ‘lai State Park on #Maui by Marsha Ingrao

  1. Fabulous to see Marsha here today. What a beautiful trip that must have been Marsha. And wow, those were a lot of steps to climb, lol. That’s my dream to one day visit Hawaii. You are fortunate to live a lot closer to it than I do. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Guest Post – Ka’lkena O ‘lai State Park on #Maui by Marsha Ingrao | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Ancestry DNA Results, Ultimate Bucket List and Black Cats | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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