Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The heart of Kauai island

I was still stuck in bed paralyzed the next morning as Katie and Jenny were getting ready.  I don't know what gave me the will to wake up but guarantee if they didn't wake me up I wouldn't have experienced such a great day on a hike.  The plan was to meet everyone at the trail head by 7:30ish.  So in that time we prepared lunch, ate some breakfast and caught some of the morning news.

We were out the door by 7 and met everyone at the parking lot before the offroad section.  I was quite surprised that everyone was on time, I might have been the only one hurting.  At the parking lot we met two people from Kauai, Dylan and Bear.  They both live their and adventure on Kauai frequently.  I suggest you checkout their instagram because their photos are really good!  

On the trail we started near a diversion.  They use some of the water to power Kauai's electric grid.  I'm guessing a hydro power plant kind of thing.  We were ducking in and out of a trail on both sides of the stream.  It made for a confusing way back but just as long as you follow the stream you'll be ok.  We made our way along the crystal clear stream until we hit our first landmark.  It was dubbed guardian falls and this was our halfway point.  The waterfall was flowing really well into a deep blue pool.  We knew that if we stayed long here we might not make it to our destination, so we pushed on.  We contoured on the left side of the falls and continued upstream. 

Upstream we encountered series of pools and small waterfalls.  The stream was still flowing really well and we saw a few fishes swimming around.  From here we stayed mostly on the stream rock hopping and climbing a few waterfalls.  At no point did anyone have to get in deeper than their ankles but climbing waterfalls is so much fun.  At one point we stopped for a lunch break at one of the deep pools.  I decided to jump in and see what was upstream.  At this point the stream banks became steep and we would have to contour around this part.  After lunch we backtracked a little and found the trail.  From the trail you could see the stream and a few waterfalls doing some twists and turns. 

The trail pushes left and we followed it as we hugged the right side of the valley wall.  We finally came to another 40 ft waterfall with a small pool and we contoured on the right and found a fence built.  I'm guessing to keep ungulates out.  At this point you could see our end point, the weeping wall and the towering 4,000 ft face of the valley.  The valley is enormous and it feels like you are really insignificant.  There was a few ribbons of waterfalls in the bowl of the valley as well.  We continued over a series of hills.  As we got closer the valley wall seemed to get bigger. 

We reached the weeping wall around 11:30 and spent quite a while there.  The last time Cory's group was here it took them way longer and they spent way less time there.  I was happy to get their early to fully experience such a sacred place.  I got to touch some of the oldest rock in the state.  I got to drink some of the most pure water that Hawaii has to offer straight from the rock.  We spent at least an hour there taking pictures and trying not to get water spots on our lenses.  What a great place. 

On our way back near guardian falls we found a little niche where we tubed and cliff jumped.  Cory took some amazing photos there as well.  By the time we reached our cars it was about 4.  We finished a lot earlier than yesterday which made for some group dinner time. 

This was our view through most of the hike.  Stream bed with low strung clouds hugging the mountains.
Stream hopping was the norm. 
We hit our first landmark.  From here on it only gets better!
Waterfalls become apparent on the side of the valley walls.
Deep large pools dot the stream.

Climbing up the sides of small waterfalls were necessary. 
Look how tiny we are in this picture. 

The end is in sight. 
Almost there! 
Picture provided by Cory.  The wall seemed small getting there but when we were up close it was really big!

Surely this is a sacred place.
On our way back we took a little dip.  The water was really cold! Picture provided by Cory

The Heart of Kauai Island from Ryan Chang on Vimeo.

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