Wow, what a great day. The hike was AWESOME! Go the top of Wiemea Canyon at the end of the road and hike along the top of the Napali coast, looking down into the valleys (think the opening scenes of Jurassic Park), hen the trail turned and went into the Alakai Swap to the Kilohana lookout. It's an 8 mile round trip and the terrain changed all the time. It goes from clay to forest floor to swap. Most of it is up and down, luckily the last mile, just when you didn’t think you can't take it anymore, is pretty flat. I really suggest this hike for anyone who makes it out here, is in pretty good shape, and loves to hike. It’s definitely a workout and at 4,000 feet elevation the air is a little thin. Makes me appreciate living at sea level.
Starting out at the top of the Napali coast is beautiful. Thankfully yesterday was dry, making the hike easier, but I didn’t get the rainbows I saw last time. It's an awesome view. Check out some of the pictures of the valleys then back across the swamp. After about a mile along the ridge, you turn and drop into the swamp. From above it looks like a forest, but when you get down into it the floor is really marshy. It’s also cool to think you’re hiking through the highest swamp in the world - a place that gets between 300 – 400 inches of rain a year. There are ferns and orchids everywhere. You’ll see a few in the pictures. A lot of trees thought the first half of the swamp, then you climb higher and the trees disappear and all you have is scrub and the exposed marshy ground. More pictures.
About half-way through the swap you cross this beautiful stream. I took advantage and stopped for a little while just to take it in. Wow! I could have stayed there for a long time but needed to keep moving.
Most of the way through the swamp there’s a boardwalk, I can’t imagine what it was like before it was there. I met a really cool couple from Northern California at the lookout and they said they used to bring their kids pre-boardwalk and you couldn’t avoid getting covered in mud. You’d sink down to your knees and need someone to help lift you out. The kids would get so covered they’d eventually run ahead and bury themselves in the mud, jumping up at you when you passed.
The final pictures are at the end of the hike. You look down onto the Wainiha Valley and Hanalei. You can see the Princeville resort down along the shore. Apparently, the islanders used to take this hike down to Hanalei to visit family during the winter months. I can’t imagine. From the couple I met, it is really unusual for it to be so clear. It’s usually pretty cloud covered.