hiking kauai’s nu’alolo trail (the na pali coast)

While we were on Kauai I didn’t do a lot of “technical” shooting with widgets, although I always carried everything with me I might want (tripod, various ND filters, grad filters). It was more fun to keep things easy, bump my ISO up a tad in certain situations and revel in the freedom to move at will. I can unequivocally say my best hike on Kauai after two visits has been: the Nu’alolo Trail. If you’re planning to visit Kauai someday and you want to go on a hike with views you’ll remember for the rest of your life- commit the place name Nu’alolo to memory. The picture below is from Nu’alolo, a northeasterly view along the Na Pali Coast. It’s basically four miles down a ridge to arrive at this point. Everything is reversed in this area from what I’m used to on hikes at home: You hike down steep ridges to reach incredible viewpoints. The hard part is the way back.

The Nu’alolo Trail was an 11-plus mile trek for me, I followed what I consider to be somewhat dubious advice and made it a loop journey back up the Awa’awapuhuni Trail (more on that later). If you’re lucky enough to do this hike on a sunny day when everything has had a chance to dry out, you may question some of the horror stories you’ve heard about the Nu’alolo Trail’s difficulty. If you hike down the Nu’alolo Trail when it’s very soggy and try to come back up the same way, you may scream and cuss more than you have in years.

This picture appeals to me because of the surprise factor. There are so many strange and interesting tropical trees on the island but the average person, I don’t believe, would associate pines with Hawaii. The one interesting exception for those who might be at least minimally aware of the flora on the islands, would be the Norfolk Island Pine, which stands out instantly because here they are actual trees, not cute little potted plants such as on the mainland U.S. I sang the praises of the Norfolk Island Pine when I hiked the Okohaleo Ridge trail one evening…..the scattered boughs on the muddy path were the only reason I stayed upright!

And well, just when I started thinking we could be turning a corner in the Special Diseases and Infections Unit, I got a call from Adam’s school this afternoon to please pick up my walking cootie. He took an abrupt unexpected turn for the worse after having a great day, yesterday. He was coughing all day long and then apparently got upset when his friend Dominick slighted him on the playground and Adam cried so hard he thought he’d barf and then it turned out he had a temperature of 101. Adam told me all he had to drink the whole day at school was the juice box we put in his lunch. He does have a horrible barking cough, so I’m taking him to the doctor tomorrow. In the process of coughing up some sticky sputum tonight he ejected his entire dinner. I’m more worried about the fact he rested his mouth and chin on the toilet seat while he delightedly explained to us he was feeling much better after tossing his cookies. The humidifier is puffing hard in his room and he’s still coughing non-stop in his sleep. He’s not extremely congested but it’s the maddening, raspy sort of cough that will drive you insane all night long because it feels like there’s a spider in the back of your throat. These cold viruses are really dogging us so far in 2012. Right about now I’ll take a case of head lice……

One thought on “hiking kauai’s nu’alolo trail (the na pali coast)

  1. I hope Adam gets better soon. Poor guy. Whatever is going around over here hit me last Friday. I’m finally feeling a bit better today. Enjoyed the pictures and words about Kauai. If Dom and I ever go there, you can bet I’ll be asking your advice on which hikes we should take. I remember seeing Norfolk Pine on Moloka’i. They appeared a somewhat-odd inclusion to the tropical locale.

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