Some people explore Hawaii on foot. Some explore by 4X4 vans others explore by air. Yet, you probably won’t find the experience as memorable as exploring by mule ride!
Molokai offers its visitors mule rides down to historic Kalaupapa, located on the central northern coast of the island.
The immergence of leprosy in Hawaii began in the mid-19th century. Due to its isolated location, Kalaupapa was selected as a quarantine site. Those struck with the illness were made to be outcasts. Left at sea close to the Kalaupapa coast, they had to swim ashore.
The pain and sorrow that the situation caused led to Hawaiians referring to leprosy as “Mai hookaawale,” or “the separating disease.”
Though the peninsula has harrowing history, it is exquisitely beautiful and a surprisingly gentle and its story has an hopeful ending as by the mid 1900’s a cure for Hansen’s disease was discovered. Soon, the disease was no longer spreading among Hawaii’s general population. Many patients chose to stay in Kalaupapa even after a cure was discovered, most patients lived a relatively happy life.
Today, leprosy (Hansen’s disease) is fairly easily controlled is not generally considered a threat to public health.
The Kalaupapa National Historical Park was established in 1980 to preserve the sorrowful memories and experiences of those who suffered there. Importantly, the park stands to help remind us of the importance of compassion and understanding as well as and the need to learn from mistakes of the past.
Adventure on the Molokai Mule Trail
Getting To Know Your Mule
The tour begins with a 2.9-mile trail that takes you to Kalaupapa. Before you get on tour way, you’ll need to become acquainted with your mule. In fact, try to remember your mule’s name so that the guides will put you back on the right one for the trip up!
You don’t need to be able to guide a mule to go on this tour. In fact, all you’ll need to do is to sit and enjoy the amazing views. Not only are the mules fully alert and ready to go, but they often known the route very well and are very sure footed.
Before we go on, we should not that if you’re afraid of heights, then this is probably not the tour for you. Yes, you’ll ride down the world’s highest sea cliff’s standing at 1,700 feet with 26 very tight switchbacks to navigate.
Still, if you’re in for being a little adventurous, you’ll experience sweeping vistas of breathtaking, untouched beauty from the thousand foot sea cliffs and lush valleys to the little cays, coral reefs and pristine beaches. You’ll even see lava tubes, rainforests and much more.
How Long Does It Take?
On average, it takes about 45 minutes going down and one hour going up.
Plants and Animals
Like any other nature trail, you expect to see interesting plants and animals. The Kalaupapa does not disappoint in this regard. Here, you’ll find several endangered Hawaiian plants and animals including the Hawaiian monk seal and various species of birds.
When to Go
Guided tours are available Monday through Saturday and includes all entry permits, a picnic lunch and a completion souvenir certificate.
Some time ago, steps were installed at certain points along the trail in an effort top make the trek easier for hikers.
However, the constant thud on the hard surface may result in sharp jerks and jolts that may be a little too much for those with back problems or similar lingering injuries. If you surfer from any such affliction, you may want to consider an alternative means of exploring the area.
Please note that children under 16 are not permitted to participate.
As you can imagine, you’ll have quite some fun trying to keep your hand steady to take photos while your mule navigates the staircases. Of course, you’ll need to be quick with your camera if you want to get some good shots.
How Much Does It Cost?
The price for the mule ride and tour of Kalaupapa is $199 per person.
What To Wear?
– Wear long trousers. – Wear closed toe, covered shoes. – Wear a wide hat and sunglasses.
What To Bring?
– Bring a camera. – Bring sunscreen.
More Information – Molokai Mule Ride Price
Keep in mind that advance reservations are required as space is limited. You can always visit the mule tour website for more information, including price, because it changes overtime.
A visit to the park is regarded as one of Hawaii’s more moving experiences. Undoubtedly, the contrast of beautiful scenery to the somber stories of the quarantine area will stirred emotions. The trail certainly makes for an unforgettable experienced.
For more information, visit their mule tour website.