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Kaua’i Day 6

Waimea CanyonToday is a big wave warning in effect and Zulah is not feeling well (I hope it is just a cold, given that we snorkeled in Hanalei Bay yesterday during major runoff from the previous rain) — so not a good day for snorkeling. So we decide to explore the island’s mountainous regions. It takes us about two hours to get to Waimea Canyon, also called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific — a surprisingly well-deserved title. In some ways Waimea Canyon is even more beautiful than Grand Canyon because of its different shades of rich greens and the glistening streams of water. We watch helicopters fly through the canyon below us and hover at a huge waterfall. This is tempting us to book a ride as well. However, I’m against helicopter rides because they support an industry that introduces noise and pollution to the most beautiful places.

Waterfalls in Waimea CanyonAfter enjoying the overwhelming beauty of the canyon at the lookout (movie) we head over to the Koke’e State Park. The main attractions here are the Kalalau Outlook and the Alakai Swamp. The swamp is a haven for rare indigenous plants and birds. But first we stop by at the museum which provides us with maps and information about the current trail conditions. Here we find out that the best time for the Kalalau Outlook is in the morning, and that the Mohihi Road — a hilly dirt road that leads to the Alakai Swamp Trail and the Kawaikoi Stream Trail is only safely passable up to “slippery slope” shortly after the trail head at the eastern end of Berry Flats Trail. Walking the slippery slope and the loop over Alakai Swamp Trail and back on Pihea Trail is about seven miles.

We head over to the Kalalau Lookout which offers a stunning view of part of the Na Pali coast (which today is pummeled by huge waves). The road to the Pihea trail head east of the lookout is closed so we have to walk. Zulah and I both very much dislike walking on asphalt — but we finally make it to Pihea. I discover a few goats at the extremely steep cliff below us.

North end of Pihea TrailGoatKalalau Lookout

After a about a mile into Pihea the wind and the fog (movie) is really getting to Zulah and we decide to turn around and try out trails in the swamp. Zulah is not feeling like hiking at all, so she drops me off just above the “slippery slope” if Mohihi Road. Walking the road to the trailhead takes longer than expected and so I only get to see a little bit of the southern end of the Pihea trail. There are lots of cherry-like fruits on the ground but they seem to have multiple seeds. There is also plenty of evidence for pigs — they have been literally ploughing the ground at various parts of the trail. On the way back I meet a German couple at the Alakai Picnic Area, and I manage to catch a ride with a couple from Los Gatos back to the top of the “slippery slope” where is Zulah has been waiting for 30 minutes.

Pihea Trail at Kaiwakoi StreamPihea Trail south endFern unrolling new frondPink Passion Flower

I am dead-tired by the time we arrive at home. I don’t know how I manage to write this blog entry, especially since I had to rewrite half of it after a Firefox crash.

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