22 December 2022
(6 miles, + 1,800/-1,800 feet).
Today we went to Waimea Canyon, which is sometimes called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. We picked a popular trail, so we got an early start. The mix of rain and morning sun on the drive created a perfect Hawaii moment.
We were the first car at the trailhead, and at the parking area there is a rain shelter that seems like it might have previously housed some less-than-enthused kids.
There are wild chickens everywhere in Kauai, and one of them decided to join us as we started the hike.
After a mile or so down to a creek and then back up again, we reached the first overlook. Clouds still enveloped the canyon.
The trail ducked back into the forest and then took us to a much more wide-open overlook. This time the clouds cooperated.
The trail crosses the Koke’e stream above the spectacular Waipo’o waterfall that we were later able to see from the road. But you can’t see it from the trail. Some people have tried and died!
So we contented ourselves with the less dramatic but still pretty cascades at the trail.
We had a hard time figuring out where the trail crosses the stream, but we eventually found a way. It was quite a bushwhack, but soon we were back on an established trail. Because it was so hard to find, there was far less traffic here, and the duff on the trail was much nicer than all the mud on the trail leading to the stream crossing.
Near the trail’s high point we stopped for a nice long break to enjoy the view.
The first half of the hike was really nice, but the return was marred by an endless drone of helicopters coming to see Waipo’o falls below.
Back at the stream crossing, we found an easier way to cross, but it involved taking our shoes off.
After the hike we drove around a bit, getting views of the Na Pali Coast and the waterfalls we hiked above.