First of all, the climate. The humid heat makes movements more strenuous. Also, the paths tend to be covered by the quite intrusive tropical vegetation: the undergrowth ferns hides the tracks and make it a little disorienting. Also the rocks are hidden by vegetation, so the painted signs, if any, cannot be seen. Moreover there is not a valuable service such as CAI (Club Alpino Italiano) who maintains trails and markers.
Fortunately the hikers theirselves put and renew indications with colored ribbons tied to the branches every now and then.
GPS track of Honopu excursion.
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The signaling ribbons (orange and pink) were indeed very useful during the first of our two trips into Kaua'i island. R's son and his girlfriend came with us
Reached the beginning of the path by car, we followed the directions outlined here. You enter the forest, which, in descent, becomes more and more intricate. At one point the path becomes very humid and you end up slipping.
When the forest opens you are on the edge of a steep slope especially, pretty easy to overcome if not for people like me, who have an innate dislike of the precipices. Fortunately it's only a small part, and finally you go back into the forest. At the end the view over the beautiful coastline of Na Pali is breathtaking.
You are on the crest of the hill so, looking to the other side the view opens up to another valley. In the distance it appears Ni'ihau island, the Forbidden Island.
From here the path goes down rather steep (and apparently not very safe), always on the crest. It does not seem to promise a better view of this. Satisfied and aware that the return is quite all uphill, we head back onto the same path.
GPS track of Makaleha excursion (the inaccuracies are due
to the bad satellite receptions in the forest)
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Also interesting, though completely different, was the other excursion.
This time, in addition to the four of us, there were also R's brother and sisters, with their husbands. The guide was D, the brother, which had already come here long ago. The path goes up folloowing a stream, and has several river-crossings and parts with slimy mud. Warned in time by D, we have adapted our equipment to these conditions. Hiking boots were not right: we then purchased the "Tabies", special rubber boots, flexible, with soles thick but soft and covered with a layer of a material similar to velcro. Without this type of footwear it is impossible not to slip. In addition, the adhesion of the rubber to the ankle, similar to the one of a diving suit, helps to lift the foot when it is stuck in the mud.
The humidity is a lot, and after a few hours of walk, it turns into rain. The weather suddenly changes in the islands, so we judge that it is much safer to retrace our steps. Too bad, because D says that in the end of the path (another couple of miles) there is a pond where you can take a shower under the waterfall.
Wonderful excursions. When you go to Hawaii for vacation, you think about beaches and ocean waves, but in my opinion, especially in Kaua'i, the Garden Isle, it is the haunting beauty of the untouched interior to leave you breathless.
There is something intimate in the experience of walking in nature, and it was nice to share it with my in-laws. It feels as if this experiences created a bond among us.