When it rains in Hawaii, it not only pours, but it landslides, mudslides — whatever you want to call it; the islands’ mountainous terrain has been quite the set-up for natural occurrences like that. The mountains become so sodden with water that eventually gravity gets the best of the terrain, falling to the ground below.
The rock and mud debris does not always fall in the most convenient/safest of places. I have heard about huge boulders that tumbled through homes and sides of mountains that came crashing down onto highways. The Pali Highway on Oahu has had its fair share of work done to its steep terrain. Heavy rains brought down a section of the mountain outside of the windward-bound tunnel. Some trees, rocks and mud fell onto the road; luckily, no one was hurt. My sister actually had a close call driving to Kaneohe one night; she changed lanes as soon as she got out of the tunnel – just in time, too. In her rear view mirror, she saw a tree fall onto the road and the car behind her hit it.
Because landslides have become such a common issue in Hawaii, state officials have invested time and money into putting up protective barriers like the one pictured above. This fence was installed several years ago around Waimea Bay on Oahu’s north shore. I remember that side of the mountain came sliding down into the roadway. Like the work done on the Pali, roads were closed off and traffic backed up. It was not a fun way to spend your day, that’s for sure – since there is only one road that goes around the bay.
Every couple of years, Waimea Valley shuts down the park to reevaluate the surrounding rock walls. It takes about a month for them to complete the job. A month that is definitely worth waiting. The back of the valley is always busy with visitors, especially near the waterfall. It would be devastating if anything bad ever happened. In fact, something similar has happened before, at a public park called Sacred Falls, so we thank Waimea Valley for taking time to make the park safe for everyone.
It is always a good idea to better prepare yourself when visiting a new place, like Hawaii. Whether it is about bad weather or Hawaii’s growing traffic problem. Hopefully you won’t have to experience either while on vacation, but just in case you do, you will at least know what to expect and how to find alternative ways for having fun.
Posted by: Bruce Fisher