Kauai is the oldest island of Hawaii, and (I’m told) one of the least developed. When we were considering our options for a tropical honeymoon, Kauai won out because everyone said this is where you should go if you want both relaxation and adventure. Also, we would be there at the perfect time for snorkeling (August), as certain other times of the year can make for rough waters.
When we got there, we were both immediately struck by how lush this island was. Living in Colorado is awesome, but when you leave and find yourself surrounded by thick, green vegetation and jewel-blue waters, and your skin feels light from some humidity and a more distant sun… well, you sure know you’re on vacation 🙂
One of the first things we wanted to do was find a hike that would give us some panoramic views. Kauai is a small island (only about 10 miles long), so we figured we might be able to see a pretty good chunk of it with just a little elevation. We started our trip on the east side of the island, at an AirBnb in Kapa’a, and were told by our hosts that the hike we wanted was up Sleeping Giant. They were so right.
There are a few ways up, but our host said we’d get the best views along the way if we started at the Nounou East Trailhead.
Heading up, the humidity was so palpable you could have chewed on it. Kauai is pretty humid in general, but being surrounded by vegetation adds a lot to that. It was a relief to emerge from the denser parts and get gaps in the foliage that allowed some small breeze through.
A little higher up, and we passed areas where the trail opened up wide. I’ve always loved peering out the window of an airplane, seeing the bigness of the world turn toy-sized, then to specks. Climbing this mountain felt a bit like that.
We were essentially zig-zagging up one side of this mountain, so we got better and more expansive views of most of the same landscape as we kept going. It was a really steep trail, so that went a long way to helping us keep pushing up.
And the combination of that red soil with the lush green foliage and bright blue sky… I bet I took close to a hundred photos just on this one hike because I was so constantly struck by all of this. Also taking photos = quick break 🙂
We were also glad for some insider information about the ‘top’ of this trail. It appears to end at a picnic area, and there’s a sign that pretty clearly states you shouldn’t keep going. I can completely understand why stopping here was advised (definitely wouldn’t have kept going if trails were muddy), but we are so glad we continued along this trail. It was a little further along where the views were at their most incredible.
The breeze up there was a literal blast of fresh air from the sticky humidity. I don’t generally get vertigo, but it was pretty intense up there. I sort of draped myself on that big overlook rock as I took photos.
What about you – have any of you hiked in Kauai? Or pushed the limits a little to squeeze the last drops out of an adventure?