Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Nualolo Cliff, Kauai

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by welikehike

Nu'alolo Cliff is said to be the best day hike in Kauai, and perhaps, the best in the islands according to Stuart Ball, Jr.'s Hiking Guide to the Hawaiian Islands. The author combines Nu'alolo and Awa'awapuhi Trail resulting in a combined loop trail of 11.4 miles. After reading about it, I immediately started to entertain the thought of a spontaneous trip to Kauai. There were several factors that led me to this outrageous plan. First of all, I was overworked and stressed from last month's craziness at work, and I never felt that I fully rewarded myself for all the hard work. The last two hikes prior to this one was unsuccessful and incomplete due to unfortunate circumstances. My inactivity was starting to make me fat and unhealthy. And lastly, I was so bored and so depressed from being bored, I told myself, "the next hike has to be BIG!" And BIG, indeed, was the next adventure in a place outside of our island borders - KAUAI. I called a few of my hiking buddies, and surprisingly, four responded promptly.

Saturday, June 13...we were all present at 4:20 in the morning as we waited anxiously in the airport lobby for the first flight out to Kauai. We were still in shock and marveled at the fact that we were doing a day hike in another island with only two-days notice. When the moment arrived, as we were lifted in the air, we got a glimpse of the early morning sunrise above the clouds, it reminded me of a familiar scene atop the summit of Haleakala.

After hopping into our rental car and driving through the winding road in Waimea Valley, we arrived at our destination, Kokee State Park, at 7:30am. Just seconds into the hike, we already got lost and had to turn back. We missed the switchbacks to the left, but we definitely made up for lost seconds as we ripped through the descending trail in military pace. There was really nothing to see as we persistently pushed our way to the first lookout. However, excitement ignited as we were provided with small windows of views of the majestic pali cliffs. When the canopies of trees cleared and the views were finally revealed, we embraced the reward of nature's beauty at its grandest scale. Words cannot explain it, but I'll say this..."only a hiker knows the feeling."