Kalaupapa overlook provides a scenic view of the Kalaupapa peninsula some 1600 feet below. Interpretive plaques explain the history of the leprosy settlement below; the town of Kalaupapa can be seen from the overlook.
The peninsula is a lava slab that is surrounded on three sides by the sea, and backed by the world’s tallest sea cliffs which separate this peninsula from the rest of the island. This geography made this the perfect place to isolate leprosy patients from the rest of the islands. Leprosy was spreading through the islands rapidly in the 1800’s, and in 1865 King Kamehameha made it illegal for those diagnosed with leprosy to live anywhere in Hawaii expect here, enacting a law that banished people with leprosy to Kalaupapa. Early on, patients were forcibly taken from their families and dumped off on this remote peninsula without any provisions or help. Father Damien was a missionary who came to help and stayed. He provided a sense of hope and inspiration, besides helping to build homes and gather food. A settlement of survivors grew, and eventually, families could choose to accompany their loved ones to make a home here if they wanted - but they could never
come back. Eventually, doctors learned how to treat and control leprosy, and the enforced isolation and quarantine was ended. Some patients decided to stay in Kalaupapa, and now the government provides food, housing and care is provided for them until their death. Father Damien contracted leprosy 12 years after he arrived in Kalaupapa, and died 4 years later in 1889. Father Damien was elevated to sainthood in 2009 for the work he did for the patients of leprosy in Kalaupapa.
Trips to Kalaupapa can be taken by either hiking down the mountain, or taking one of the famous mule rides down the mountain. Steve really wanted to do this, but I was less than enthusiastic since the trail is narrow, steep, and scary - mountain on one side of you and straight down the cliff on the other. By the time we got around to asking about booking a tour, heavy rains on that side of the island had washed out one of the bridges on the trail, so the ride was closed until next fall. So, the mules get a rest, and I don’t have to deal with my fear of heights. Maybe next time.
stone can be found by walking down a path carpeted by ironwood needles in the Pala’Au State Park, just down the road from the Kalaupapa overlook. Although there are stones like this all over the world, this one really looks like it says. Legend says that women who come here with offerings of lei and money, and stay overnight will soon get pregnant. Right. Anyway, we found the stone, and of course Steve acted like a goof and climbed up onto it and peeked out from the top of it. He looked so funny, we both had a good laugh. And at least we got a nice walk through the forest out of it. This forest is cool and misty, and provides a nice escape from the heat and dry wind that seems common at lower elevations.
Tot: 1.412s; Tpl: 0.066s; cc: 11; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0164s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.3mb