Kauai: Another Hike on the Pihea Trail, 2011
There is one spot on Kauai that qualifies above all others for an obligatory pilgrimage. The view into Kalahau Valley from the heights of the Pihea Trail counts as much as the Grand Canyon or Kilimanjaro as a place you have to see to experience.
Without further ado, here is the money shot.
I have always wondered, and indeed have expressed the thought elsewhere in this web site, whether or not overly visited and photographed sites might lose some of their inherent power, that energy is sucked from the essence of special places by innumerable cameras and gaping tourists. I’m not going to solve that dilemma today, which is probably the only fact I know for sure.
To truly appreciate the Kalahau, the visitor should walk the Pihea Trail. At two miles round trip it is not a particularly long hike, but the ups and downs are stimulating and you always have a shot at falling off the edge if you trip over your shoelace.
2) Looking back at the trail’s beginning as it follows the high ridge-line
Sometimes by noticing the small details we better appreciate the whole.
4) Plant along the same stretch of trail from where I photographed the entire valley
5) A different vantage point
The forest on the South or landward side of the trail is beautiful and seems to be untouched.
6) Inland forest. The trail here is a bit sketchy
7) Another look at the forest
For those who are sick of baking their days away on the beach, coming up here gives you a welcome chance to get into some cooler weather. Indeed the clouds and rain come and go at this altitude with rapid frequency.
At the end of the main trail is another lookout, now mostly grown over.
8) The US government marks the spot, similar to how a dog would do it at a fire hydrant
There are also some marvelous places to see geology in action. Here a slab of the steep slope has suddenly fallen away.
9) We certainly hope no one was underneath when this happened, muttering, “Where’s all that noise coming from?”
Finally we turn around and head back, blown away one more time by Mother Nature and her glories.
10) From the second lookout