Sunday, August 2, 2009

The grand Awa'awapuhi Trail

Kauai's Awa'awapuhi Trail is to tropical ridge hikes what the Golden Gate is to bridges and the Eiffel is to towers—powerfully beautiful and unique. From the road above Waimea Canyon, the trail descends about 1,700 feet over 3.5 miles through a native forest rich with birds before popping out out to a view of the green escarpments of the Napali Coast and the Pacific, still a couple thousand feet below.

Across the steep valley (look for wild goats) is another fabulous ridge which is the end point of Awa'awapuhi's sister hike, the Nualolo Cliff Trail. A trail connects the two ridges, making for a adventure seeker's dream loop hike. Be aware: The trails are not dangerous to the careful hiker, but drop-offs are to be avoided, and after rains, which is often, the packed earth is slicker than snot on a door knob, making slip-and-sits a likely occurrence. Bring a hiking pole. See page 167 of Kauai Trailblazer.