Friday, February 6, 2009
The Sleeping Giant, or Nounou Mountain, is a stand-alone precipice rising above the Coconut Coast of Kapa’a. With three different trailheads, this 4-mile round-trip, 1,000-foot scamper is a fave exercise hike for locals and adventurous visitors. The profile of the giant (with forehead to the left and chin to the right) is an east shore landmark. The main trail ascends to the head, while a side trail follows a skinny ledge to the hair of the chinny-chin-chin. Sweaty palms time. From the top is a 360-degree panorama, but the real show is of the Wailua River, Hawaii’s biggest waterway by far. Its source is Mount Waialeale, the “birthplace of all waters,” which receives 400-plus inches per year. Ancient Hawaiian Royalty settled this river valley first, and used the top of Sleeping Giant to survey the location for seven sacred heiaus (temples) that were sited along the river from the coast to the base of the mountain.