Saturday, January 15, 2011

Homeward Bound

Time to head for home. The Po'ouli ("black-faced honeycreeper") carries me from Lihu'e to Honolulu where I'll catch a flight back to Portland. A hui hou kakou malama pono, Hawai'i!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Nualolo Viewpoint

From the end of the Nualolo Ridge Trail, one gets this marvelous view looking up the Na Pali Coast. You can see all the way to Ke'e Beach (where the Na Pali Coast trail begins). I've seen photos from 1913 showing horseback riders enjoying the view from this place. I don't think you could get a horse down here today, though!

Rainbow over Nualolo

From Awa'awapuhi Viewpoint, some of us set off on the Nualolo Cliffs Trail bound for Nualolo Ridge. En route, the typical Hawaiian weather of "mauka showers drifting makai" conjured this beautiful anuenue (rainbow) arching across the Nualolo Valley. Oh, mauka means "toward the mountains" and makai means "toward the sea." Nualolo, I've learned, means "heaped up brains." The Nualolo Valley was once inhabited, perhaps as far back as 600 A.D. which was about the time the Tahitians settled Hawaii in the second wave of Polynesian migration.

Awa'awapuhi Viewpoint

Last day of hiking on the Garden Isle. Drove back up to Koke'e State Park and headed down the Awa'awapuhi Trail (awapuhi = wild ginger). It was foggy at Koke'e but as we descended we broke out into glorious sunshine and enjoyed this stunning view at Awa'awapuhi Viewpoint high above the Na Pali Coast.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Waimea Brewing Company

Time for a post-hike refreshment. A pint of Na Pali Pale Ale at the Waimea Brewing Company.

Waimea Canyon from the Kukui Trail

Off and on rain showers again today. The highlands look a bit fogged in from Waimea, but we drive up to the Kukui Trailhead in Waimea Canyon State Park. It's foggy, but it isn't raining and we set off descending the switchbacking trail into what Mark Twain called the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." We drop below the fog layer and the colorful walls of the canyon come into view; waterfalls stream off the cliffs.

Waimea Plantation Cottages

We arrived at Aston Hotels' Waimea Plantation Cottages just as the sun was going down on January 12. Most of the cottages are from the old Waimea Sugar Plantation; a few were brought in from other plantations. The cottages been restored and provide a unique overnight experience on Kauai's south shore. Here's cottage #54 seen in the morning light.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wailua Falls

The rains over the last few days have made for some wonderful waterfalls. While part of the group is hiking on the Sleeping Giant, a few of us head up to Wailua Falls to watch the spectacle. This is the waterfall from the old Fantasy Island television series. Normally it's composed of two separate streams of gracefully falling water, but today, it's a raging cataract.

The Sleeping Giant

Part of the group sets off on a morning walk up the Kuilau Ridge Trail. After lunch, it's a traverse of Nounou Mountain, commonly called the Sleeping Giant. Off and on showers today; this photo was taken on January 9.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Na Pali Coast

This is one of Hawaii's legendary trails. You can, with a permit, walk it's entire 11 mile length to Kalalau Valley. Amy and I did this as a three-day trip a few years back; we camped at Hanakoa on the first night and at Kalalau on the second, then walked out all the way on the last day. Today, our aim is Hanakapi'ai Beach, and some of the group will push on an additional 4 miles (round trip) to Hanakapi'ai Falls. Even though the falls are only 2 miles from the Hanakapi'ai Beach, Matt reminds us that these are 2 "Hawaiian miles" over rough terrain so the going is slower than most people would expect.

Na Pali Coast Trail to Hanakapi'ai

Magnificently sunny day today! Off to the end of the road at Ke'e Beach (Haena) from where we head off on the Na Pali Coast Trail bound for Hanakapi'ai Beach and Falls. Despite the rain over the past few days, the trail is in good condition.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Volcano Spiced Walu

From Koloa, it's back to the Coconut Coast for a welcome dinner at Wahooo Seafood Grill (yes, there are 3 "o"s in the name) . Here is the "Volcano Spiced Walu" (escolar, or "Hawaiian butterfish").

The Old Koloa Church

The old Koloa Church in the erstwhile plantation town of Koloa was established by Congregational missionaries in the early 19th century. It looks like it belongs in New England!

The Hapa Road, Poipu to Koloa

We travel by vehicle from Kawailoa Bay to the Spouting Horn as the sun breaks through. Under blue skies we enjoy a walk on historic Hapa Road to the old plantation town of Koloa. Here, seen from the Hapa Road, the roof of St. Raphael's Catholic Church (founded in 1841 and the oldest on Kauai) peeks above the brush and cactus.

Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail

Off to Poipu to hike the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail from Shipwrecks Beach almost to Papa-mo'i Point. It's a showery day, but it's still lovely. They tell us there's snow on the ground in 49 or the 50 states. No snow to be seen here! Just tropical rains, so how bad can it be? Here is lovely casurina-shaded Maha'ulepu Beach. The Waiopili Stream enters from the left.

Makauwahi Cave

The group gets to visit a portion of the limestone sinkhole known as Makauwahi Cave where paleo-ecological and archeological excavations are underway. It's a showery morning, but the rains let up and allow us to enjoy a dry lunch under the casurina trees at Kawailoa Bay. After lunch we push on toward Ha'ula, but a drenching rain forces us back at Papamo'i Point.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Morning on the "Coconut Coast"

Today, the group assembles at the Outrigger Waipouli Resort on Kauai's east coast--the "coconut coast." Most of us go out to enjoy dinner this evening at the Hukilau Lanai next to the Coconut Marketplace. Great fish selections including fresh opah (moonfish).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

From Papa-mo'i Point, Maha'ulepu Trail

In the afternoon, a walk on the Maha'ulepu Heritage Trail on the coast east of Poipu leads me to Papa-mo'i Point and lovely views of sea and mountain. Then, a quick visit to Koloa town rounds out the day.

Awa'awapuhi Valley

An hour and a half later I am at Awa'awapuhi Viewpoint for more glorious Na Pali Coast views.

Nualolo Cliffs

Early morning drive to Waimea and the little Obsessions Cafe run by Dennis Okihara. At 6:45, a classic "loco moco" (hamburger patty, fried eggs, brown gravy and 2 scoops rice) + a cup of Black Mountain coffee from Kauai gets me fired up for the day. Up to Koke'e State Park to check out conditions on the Awa'awapuhi-Nualolo Loop Trail. 2 hours of hiking brings me to the Nuaolo Lookout where I am met with a fierce little squall...pounding rain and zero visibility. After 10 minutes of this, the rain stops, the clouds part and the cliffs of the Nualolo Valley and the Na Pali coast come into view. The little washout on the Nualolo Cliffs Trail is not a bad as the warning signs suggest.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pono Market, Kapa'a

Once on Kauai, I zipped off to Kapaa's Pono Market for some local snacks, but it was too close to closing and the cupboard was bare. Alas!

Hawaiian Birds

Hawaii bound from PDX on Hawaiian Airlines. Their B-767 'Akekeke carries me to Honolulu; then the B-717 'Apapane whisks me to the island of Kauai. Hawaiian Airlines names their wide-body 767 jets after Hawaiian sea or shore birds (mostly) and their smaller inter-island jets after Hawaiian forest birds. 'Akekeke is the ruddy turnstone (Arenaria interpres), and 'apapane is Himatione sanguinea, a beautiful red bird that feeds on nectar from the ohia-lehua tree.