Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Walking Picture Tour Part II

And, our final installment for the Kauai trip is now here.  We will return you to your regularly scheduled farm blog after this.  I suppose we may be inspired to do more on this in the future - never say never.  But,  it feels like this is a good stopping point for the moment.  After all, we realize that the pictures will mean more to us than to you because we were there and it includes our 'adventures.'  There is fun in the sharing - as long as you don't wear out your welcome!

Kalalau Sunset
We were lucky to see another sunset from the Kalalau Lookout.  There is a neat phenomenon where the trees on the hills to the West of the lookout turn gold as the sun sets.  I haven't taken the time to identify the very best picture of this, so you'll just have to settle for this one.

Sunset to the West (imagine that!) of the Kalalau Lookout
During Winter months, things aren't always clear enough to experience a good sunset from this spot.  And, in fact, there may have been only one evening that was clear enough while we were there during this trip and we made sure we caught it.  What amazes me most about the Kalalau Lookout is how calm the wind has been each time we've been up there.  I'm sure there must be days or nights when the wind howls, but we sure haven't experienced it.

The Return to the Edge of the World (Waipo'o Falls)
One of the goals I held for myself was to hike the trail to Waipo'o Falls again.  Last time was quite the traumatic experience for me in particular.  Why?  Well, I am not particularly fond of heights and I can say that once you get on top of this ridge, it sure seems like you could very easily take a tumble for a LONG way down.  With Tammy's help, I managed it last time - there's something about conquering one's fear that makes you want to show that it wasn't a fluke.  So, we did it again.  And, it was easier this time around.  Although I did stay further from the edge than many people.

Tammy surveys the Edge of the World
And, once again, we went to the top of the first drop of the 800 foot Waipo'o Falls.  This time around, there was a good deal more water in the stream, so we did not cross it.  I suppose it could have been done, but we weren't in the mood for walking a couple miles in wet boots on the return trip.

The top of Waipo'o Falls
Makaha Ridge Road
Each time we would drive by the intersection for this road, Tammy would say that we should drive down it sometime.  So, on our last day at Koke'e State Park, we did just that.
And, we were rewarded.
There are a significant number of hunters on Kauai that work to control the wild pig populations.  Not only are these piggies used for food, but controlling them is necessary in order to prevent them from tearing up the ground and significantly increasing the erosion and harming native plant populations.  The pigs were introduced by humans (of course).  The reason I tell you this is because this road (and most others) have trails that are primarily used by hunters and are also hiked by people like us once in a while.  We found a short trail at the end of the road that took us to this viewpoint.  Makaha Ridge juts out towards the ocean.  I'd share one of the pictures that had the ocean in it, but it just doesn't show up as well as I'd like, so we'll go with this one.

Power Line Trail
Once we moved to the North side of the island, we worked to explore new things (to us).  One of our hikes was on the Power Line Trail (so called because it was created for maintenance/construction of the power lines from the North to the South side of the island through the interior).

Not a bad looking waterfall!
The hike was a bit less strenuous than some of the ones we'd taken thus far.  But, we'll admit we stopped a bit earlier than we thought we would because the trail was covered by water.  I suppose we could have slogged through it, but it would only remind me of days I have to work in mud on the farm.  So, maybe not.

The Christmas Tree of the Powerline Trail
We found this little tree next to the trail that had been decorated for Christmas.  It looks like a Norfolk Pine and is surely related to them.  We found it amusing enough to take a picture of it.

And, we were able to get a decent picture of the mountains to the West of the Powerline Trail.  It was always interesting to watch clouds gather on the North face. 

Kalalau Trail and the Napali Coast
We got up early to avoid the normal crowds that hike the first segment of the Kalalau trail to Hanakapi'ai Beach.  We succeeded in avoiding most of the other hikers by doing this, but we also dealt with more overcast/cloudy conditions than we've seen at other times. 

Sun hitting the top of a ridge on the Napali Coast
The brilliance of the colors really shows when the sun comes out.  They are muted somewhat when it is cloudy/foggy.  But, the whole thing is beautiful regardless of the amount of sun.

The different colors in the water always amaze us.
This trail is rated as being appropriate for a "Hardy Family," which is a notch less difficult than the "Strenuous" trails like Nu'alolo, which we hiked earlier.  But, frankly, I find this trail to be more difficult because of all of the rocks on the trail that like to try to roll my ankles. 

Well, not THESE rocks specifically
And, like most trails on Kauai, there were ups and downs to it.

How about rocks AND ups and downs?
Kilauea Lighthouse
The lighthouse itself was closed for work to shore up the paths to the lighthouse.  Erosion is doing its work on Kauai.  It's just the way things are. 

So, we went to an overlook that let us look towards the lighthouse instead
The point of visiting was the hope that we would see some whales.  No whales this time around (though others reported seeing them earlier in the day).  So, that was a small disappointment.  But, it was still a beautiful viewpoint and we got to see the Red Footed Boobys that were nesting in the area around the lighthouse.  If you look carefully at this picture, you'll notice the different colors of blue in the water AND the sky. 

Inini Beach
We alternated hiking with trips to various beaches on Kauai.  We did enjoy Kekeha Beach on the Southwest side.  There were big waves and lots of sun and sand there with mostly locals enjoying the surf.  Salt Ponds was a decent place to visit on the South side as well, we could explore some of the little fishy creatures that were in the rocks there.  But, we really enjoyed Inini.

Another farmer selfie?!?
Technically, the water near the beach is a lagoon that is protected by a reef further out.  It was strange how calm the water was near the beach.  Yet, we could still see huge waves breaking on the reef that was about 1500 feet out.  And Rob took great pleasure in disturbing a poor little crab that could rapidly cover itself in the sand.  Ok, he didn't disturb it THAT much.  Just a little.  All in the interest of science.  Or, something.

A Last Hike: Kuilau/Moalepe Trails
On our last full day on the island, we took one more hike.  I'm not sure how to describe the decision making process for us to go on this hike.  Suffice it to say that we started this trip by making sure to space out our hiking trips to allow time for recovery.  After all, this was a vacation, not a boot camp.  Most of our hikes were 4 to 5 hour hikes and some were fairly strenuous.  Since it is Winter, our conditioning isn't what it might be in the Summer.  That, and we don't do so much of the up and down stuff in Iowa for some reason.

Viewpoint towards the Makaleha Mountain range
We'd hiked on Kalalau Trail the day before and Powerline the day prior to that.  So, mentally, we were thinking there wouldn't be a long hike on this day.  But, we looked at the map in a region of Kauai we really hadn't explored much and decided the rating for this trail made it sound pretty easy.

The trees on Kuilau were friendly.
And, for the most part, it was easy, compared to most of the other trails.  There was still a climb (maybe 500 feet or so?).  But, the trail was wider than many and it wasn't covered in rocks.  There were even places we could walk without watching our feet.  That's actually the biggest danger for most of the Kauai hikes.  There is so much cool stuff to look at, you want to keep your head up.  If you keep your head up, you end up tripping on things.  So, it's much safer to walk with your head down and stop as often as you wish to get a good look around.  That does not mean that each of us didn't fall prey to the rubbernecking and then tripping issue on this trail at least once.

We both had a great time on this trip.  Of course, part of it was the location.  But, the biggest thing was the fact that Tammy and I could relax a little and spend quality time together.  Thanks for a great 25th Anniversary trip T!
Aloha Kauai! and Mahalo.

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