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The KOHALA DITCH has been called a masterpiece by some of those who, over its 114 years of existence, have explored its course from its headwaters in the high forests of the Kohala Mountains to its terminus over twenty miles away in the lowland sugar cane fields near Hāwī . One of those explorers, author Jack London, remarked, “Do you get the splendid romance of it? Look what these engineers have done — reaching out their hands and gathering and diverting the storm wastage of streams over the edge of this valley thousands of feet here in the clouds.” His wife, Charmian later recorded his remarks in her autobiography, Our Hawaii, after she and her famous husband went on an excursion “ahorseback” to the headwaters of the Kohala Ditch in 1916.

Experiencing this “work of man” in the context of its surroundings — deep, impenetrable forests; perched precariously at the edge of precipitous drops of thousands of feet; high in the misty cloud forests of Kohala — one can, as London did, see and appreciate the mystique, excitement, and allure of the grand undertaking, “…done in making the world a better place to live in.” The Kohala Ditch is indeed a masterpiece of the works of man.

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