Wednesday, June 9, 2010

On the Sleeping Giant's Face




Inland from the Coconut Coast of Kauai near Kapa'a rises the familiar profile of "the Sleeping Giant," a stand-alone ridge that is the Nounou Mountain Forest Reserve. Three rural neighborhood
trailheads lead to the "forehead" (most-westerly part) of the Giant, ranging in round-trip distances from three- to seven miles and gaining from 800 feet to a grand in elevation. It's on the tourist radar, but mostly used by locals like for an exercise romp.

There's one narrow and hands-on trail section just before the top (pictured), but it's not dangerous. At a tiny saddle near the top (the Giant's "nose"), you can scramble across to the chinny-chin-chin, where a treacherous freefall awaits. Fee-fi-foe-forget it!

For the descent, you have a choice of a mauka view toward Waialeale or the big seaward vista of Wailua (also pictured). Pages 81-82 of the Kauai Trailblazer has the pros and cons of the three trailheads, plus driving descriptions.