Located within sight of Manele Bay on the island of Lanai, is a breathtaking sea tower known as Sweetheart Rock, or Puupehe, the Hill of Pehe.
I had read about this small bit of lava that rests about 150 feet off of the highest cliff on Manele Bay and Hulopoe Beach, but was not prepared for the unmitigated beauty that awaited. I set out from the Four Seasons Manele Bay, walked down the beach and quickly found the hiking trail on the opposite end.
Walking past tidal pools rich in animal life, I turned a corner and there it was, Puupehe. According to legend, on top of the lava tower is the Tomb of Puupehe. Puupehe was a legendary beauty, and the mate of a young warrior named Makakehau. One day, while she was resting in a sea cave, a sudden storm arose and flooded the cave, taking her life. Makakehau was beside himself in grief but rather than bury her in the traditional grounds, he ascended the sheer face of the 80-foot high craggy island, built a tomb for her and put her to rest before leaping to his death in the frothy waters below.
Indeed you can see the remnants of an ancient structure on top of the tower, although not much can be seen from the cliffs opposite. Regardless of whether or not it truly is the final resting place of Puupehe, the views of this remarkable achievement by Mother Nature are well worth the easy mile hike.
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