ALAKAI SWAMP TRAIL CLOUD FOREST

Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii

After connecting to the Alakai Swamp trail from the Pihea trail I went into the swampland to catch a glimpse of the plants that this 4500ft bog had.
Drosera anglica sundew or miki nalo Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii
The trail looked pretty similar to the Pihea trail with its green arboretum aesthetic, until it broke out into a swampy marsh with some very interesting plant life growing amongst the grassy patches surrounded by water. The tips of the grass appeared to be black and if you look at the ground, you can find the rare drosera anglica bug eater plant!
Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii
 The Alakai Swamp ,one of the wettest places on earth is home to some rare plants that few places on the planet and accommodate!
Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii

Along the trail, there is a boardwalk in place to walk across to keep the bog somewhat pristine and to keep people out of the water which helped me slow down the blister cycle bit on this 14 mile day. Every plant that I saw at this elevation had some kind of alteration to it as the winds and water level can turn some, un-willing to change plants, into mush.

Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii
The orange Ohia Lehua and Hapuu Ferns appeared to have a different texture to them and the Pine trees appeared to have similar qualities with their leaves and pines being a little more slick and tubular in nature so the water can slide off the leaves and down into the roots.
Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii
The Lobelia is another rare plant that was really interesting to see as it looked like a miniature palm tree of sorts and the stunted Ohia Trees lie in patches around the bog.
 
red blossom Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii
I continued down the planked swampland for another mile and the terrain changed back into the cloud forest flora that I have been getting accustomed with on Kuaui. The time it takes to get the connection trails has doubled due to the plants that I kept on recognizing on my way back.
Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii

I had lunch back at the bog and that is when I started noticing the Drosera plants in between the grass patches. The Drosera Angelica is a carnivorous planet that emits a sugary smell to attract bugs that get stuck on the plant.  The plant folds around its victim and starts to digest its prey with enzymes that plant produces.

Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii
This was a fascinating place in itself due to the nature of the environment and knowing how the island was formed as it grew out of the ocean, made this Alakai Swamp that much more interesting.


Drosera anglica or miki nalo  Alakai Swamp trail, Kauai Hawaii
Apparently there was a caldera of sorts at one time in the Alakai swamp that filled in causing water to collect at the top which is continuously overflowing where Mt. Waialeale and other 1000ft plus cascades exist.
Alakai Swamp, Kauai Hawaii
The trade winds bring abundant moisture to this region of the pacific and with the moisture that has already collected at the top of the plateau, this forest becomes a home to some of the most delicate plants on the planet due to the abundant access to water and lack of sunlight.

Alakai Swamp, Kauai Hawaii
The amazing structure and design of this island has created a perfect storm of beauty and a sanctuary where rare plants, birds, and life can thrive with the thick moisture in the air at the elevation that the volcanos have created over 5 million years ago.
Alakai Swamp, Kauai Hawaii
So much to visit and see in Kauai, even watching other people negotiate around the inevitable muddy shoes is interesting to see!
Alakai Swamp, Kauai Hawaii
I highly recommend visiting this trail system if you have a day to use and want to see some rare plants in a lord of the rings Sci-fi like environment.  You will not be able to find plants like this anywhere else on the island. Tomorrow I am off to the Waialeale Blue Hole and I cant wait to get down there and see it after seeing the top!!

Alakai Swamp, Kauai Hawaii


 

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