Day 3 started with yet another amazing breakfast with a beautiful fruit plate and baked oatmeal. Every morning we ate outside on a lovely wrap around porch. We had a view of the ocean and waves crashing against the rocks. We also had different types of coffee every morning that were wonderful.
This was by far the most exciting day for me…I had been looking forward to it since we booked our trip back in October. Today’s activity was taking a mule ride down 1,700 feet of beautiful sea cliffs to Kalaupapa Peninsula via the Kalaupapa Trail, which is about 3 miles long and has 26 switchbacks.
Kalaupapa is a former leper settlement where the state once sent people suffering from leprosy, or Hansen’s disease, beginning in the 1860s. After the disease became treatable by Sulfa drugs, the forced separation was lifted. However, many of the residents remained in the settlement and still live there today. We also visited Kalawao, which was the original settlement on the peninsula. The settlement was moved to Kalaupapa because it had a better climate and was closer to the trail.
Father Damien and Mother Marianne Cope are two of the prominent people who devoted their lives to helping those with Hansen’s disease. Damien ended up contracting leprosy and passing away from the disease. His original grave is located in Kalawao and he was canonized in 2009, becoming a Saint in October of that year. Mother Marianne continued Damien’s work in Kalaupapa. She died at the age of 80 in Kalaupapa and is still buried there today. She was canonized in 2012 and became a Saint in October of last year. If you haven’t read the book Molokai by Alan Brennert, I definitely recommend it!
The peninsula can only be reached on foot, by mule or by small airplane. We chose the mule ride as it seemed like a once in a lifetime opportunity…we were definitely not disappointed!
After getting back to the top we got a certificate that said we completed the trail ride, said our goodbyes, said many thank you’s and headed back to the B&B for a much needed shower. We took a quick shower and headed to Kaunala Bay for a sunset. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see the sunset because it was too cloudy. However, we did see some pretty spectacular waves and people surfing. We then headed back into town and had dinner at Molokai Burger, one of the few places open for dinner that night (but only until 7:30 pm).