Kauai Mishmash 1

NE from our deck with Princeville headland in the distance.

We had rented a 3 bedroom house overlooking a reef break just past Hanalei on the North Shore of Kauai. If you know Kauai at all then you know that there is one road that runs near the perimeter of the island from, lets say, Waimea in the west, up the east coast and west along the north shore to it’s end at Ha’ena State Park. The interior and the NW corner are inaccessible and mountainous. What this all means is that the north shore is great but to get anywhere else it’s a bit of a schlep along the 2 lane road with a maximum speed limit of 50 mph with most of it being less than that.

But I knew that and we were here for 3 weeks to relax, enjoy and simply soak up the environment.  Hiking here is different.  Somewhere along the trail it is going to be wet and muddy. At the end of the hike your legs will ache and you will wonder why. I put it down to the fact that your legs are often tense from negotiating the slippery roots, rocks and mud to avoid falling too often.

On the trail from the river to the “secret” waterfall.

I was really happy to have been able to do the Kalalau trail soon after we arrived (see the previous post) leaving the rest of our trip free of worry as to whether we would complete it or not.

For the first half we had friends Chris, Charley, Tommy and Caroline staying with us and Tommy being an ardent kayaker found a hybrid paddle/hike up to Uluwehi Falls (aka secret falls).

The “paddle head” is at the mouth of the Wailua River about 30 miles south of us. It cost us $110 to rent a double for the afternoon, expensive but then most things are expensive on the island.

Tommy rolling his kayak to the launch ramp.
Launch ramp looking up river.
Paddling up the Wailua.

After about 45 minutes of paddling you come to a fork in the river and keep right after which it quickly narrows and shallows. Pull your kayak to the bank amongst all the other very similar kayaks. I put a rock in ours to prevent someone else mistakenly taking ours back down the river.

Transition from kayak to foot.
Hug the bank and then cross the river onto the left bank.
Because of it’s popularity a raised walkway has been built for most of the trail.
Red Ginger (Alpinia Purpurata) flower.
A collection along the trail.
This is what it’s like.
Small stream crossing close to the falls.
Uluwehi Falls.
Me, on the left, swimming out to the falls.
Coming back.
Kauai wild rooster (at the falls). Story goes that after Hurricane Iniki in 1992 a lot of domestic chickens were released into the wild. With no obvious predator they have multiplied and are now an everyday sight all over the island.
Another pool view.
What is Tommy doing on a rock in the middle of the river? He decided to remove his shoes and keep them dry while crossing the river. With a shoe in each hand and arms outstretched for balance he set out. But he soon lurches from the uneven footing and one arm dunks a shoe while trying to keep his balance. Since the shoe is now wet and his feet are sore he decides to put them back on at the midstream rock.

We retrieve our kayaks and paddle downstream to the fork where we turn right and paddle up to Fern Grotto, a tourist stop for those that take a boat cruise up here. There were no boats so we had the place almost to ourselves.

Fern Grotto.
More vibrant Red Ginger flowers.
The Fern Grotto boat dock and yes, those dark clouds did rain on us for the paddle back.
View looking down on kayakers paddling the Wailua.

One of the first things we did upon arriving at our house was to go for a walk along the beach, in fact this became an almost daily ritual unless we were off to spend time elsewhere on the island. Just around the corner from us was our “private” beach. Frequented by locals and having a reef break that protected the inner reef for us to swim and snorkel in – couldn’t ask for anything better.

Sitting at our beach.
Brilliant sunrise for our first day.
Beach time.
Tide must be in.
An endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal resting on the beach. They are fiercely protected and we must keep our distance while they “haul out”.
It’s a good two miles down to Ha’ena Beach and round the corner in the background is the start to the Kalalau Trail.
We were there.
Now for the walk back.
Like an airship of rain above us.
Houses on the hillside down near Ha’ena.
Our beach.
Such fun.

The shallow reef is great for snorkeling off shore. We also found a resident turtle that was seen a few times.

Reef fish.
Unicorn? fish.
Turtle coming out of his hiding spot.
Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle?
This was on a walk near Kapa’a.
Sunset from Hanalei Beach pier.

More to come …..

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