Thursday, May 03, 2012

A Grand Canyon on Kauai

So today was West Kauai - after spending our time over the last two days on the north and east coasts, we headed across the island and up into Waimea Canyon. The "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" is a massive gouge in the earth 10 miles long, 1 mile wide and around 3500 feet deep ... it is a truly remarkable site. The colors in the canyon, the reds of the earth and the greens of the vegetation, are unlike anything I have ever seen.

But I am getting ahead of myself. While we drove up into the canyon early in the day, we spent the morning and early afternoon hiking down Nu'alolo ridge, across the Nu'alolo cliffs trail and back up the Awa'awapuhi trail back to the road, before hitching a ride with some of the hikers we met back to our car.  This hike was tremendous, about 10 miles and as we hiked down and up the ridges from 4000 feet to 2400 feet and back, we passed through a variety of vegetation zones, felt the temperature shift by 5 - 10 degrees and saw some of the most unimaginable terrain I have ever witnessed.

We were actually looking at the mountains and ridges which form the backbone of the Na'pali Coast, which we hiked on Monday. The sheer peaks, covered in a green cloak of vegetation, were like nothing I have ever seen before. We saw giant ferns and a gorgeous ocean blues, heard more kinds of bird songs than I knew existed and were often cooled off by periodic rain showers.

After the hike, we spent some time checking out the canyon, then stopped by a taco stand for fish tacos and burritos, and finished off dinner with ice cream shakes at Lapperts. A perfect day ...

Beginning of the exposed open trail along the bottom of the Nu'alolo ridge trail. 

Enjoying the view into Nu'alolo valley. 

Plants clinging to the edge of the world.

Top view of the Nu'alolo valley. 

A sketchy section of the Nu'alolo cliffs trail - there is about a 1000 foot drop here, and the path is about 2 feet wide. Definitely the scariest part of today. 

Stopping for lunch at the Nu'alolo flats above the valley.

 Looking down on the Kalalau valley. 

At the Awa'awapuhi overlook. 

One of the many feral roosters tracking us during the day. 

Waimea Canyon.

No comments: