AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL

AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
After driving through the dark and over the speed limit all the way to the trailhead, I realized that a 25mph to a 35 mph limit will in fact take me almost 2 hours to get here, so an hour and 20 minutes after I left, I reached an eerie and cloudy trailhead that had a closed trail sign shaking in the wind blown mist as clouds rolled in through the rain forest.


AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
The sign was for a cliff trail that connected the Awa'awapuhi trail to a ridge trail that completed a 10 hour loop that I initially had planned for the day but I could only attend to the Awa'awapuhi trail which to my delight was quite rewarding when you made it to the vista overlook.

AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
I set out onto the slimy mud rain forest trail with absolutely nothing to see except for what my dim headlamp provided light on which would flicker like a cheap florescent light that made me start to see things, or that's at least what I thought it was making me see until I looked close and found huge frogs hoping around.   Eventually the Mangrove, Koa, and sausage trees abound the walls of the jungle trail started to forecast a silhouette as day became stronger than nightfall and the suns light became more translucent through the clouds.
AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii

The rain forest was cloudy that day and additional clouds where breathing out of the valleys below so I was sandwiched in by clouds both above and below where I was on the trail.


AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
The trail itself was interesting as the vegetation was changing into more fern like flora and elephant grass with Banyan and Breadfruit trees peppered around the area. It was a nice rain forest section, peaceful, quiet, until the helicopters started coming by.  At first I thought they might have been DNR patrols but, no, they just kept flying over the valley, one after another and when I got to the vista, I realized what they were doing, tour companies. and lots of them!

AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
As I descended down the trail, I hit some lava mounds that had open vistas that continued downward which gave way for some nice forest views as the sun continued to blast through the clouds.
 
AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
Unfortunately the clouds prevailed throughout the day which created some flat looking pictures but it made the next hike in the cloud forest that much more interesting.

AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
The spurs of the Napoli Coast started to become more apparent and I knew I was getting closer to the vista overlook which is around 3.5 miles one way from the trailhead on a gentle of steady slope downhill.




AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
I made it to a tall grassland section where the grass was taller than me but a small trail was still evident so I followed that and finally came to a sign that said dangerous cliff...I MADE IT!!!

AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
 I thought that this place was going to be interesting and I was hoping I could at least see the 3000ft. cliffs and this view had it all, it was absolutely outstanding!!! It was a little disorienting to walk out onto the ledge but the ledge walk was mind blowing and, if taken with care, a great view point of the canyons below.
 
AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
I could see the helicopters flying below me as they popped in and out of the canyon spurs of the Napoli Coast.  I can understand a couple an hour but they seemed to come every 10 minutes or so and sometimes they would be multiple helicopters in one canyon.


AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
They would leave rather quickly and soon I would have this place to myself, well myself and the goats that appeared to defy vertical fear by walking up the near shear cliffs just over the edge! The views below were really impressive! I could see the river at the bottom and the tour boats in the water which was between 3 and 4 thousand feet almost straight down!!  Total and complete eye candy satisfaction being over and in between these two green monster cliffs.


AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
This place was one of the more impressive views I have seen especially being on that small ridge with thousands of feet of cliff on either side.  The goats on these cliffs were climbing slowly up and down on the cliffs on all side of these canyons which was interesting to see these acrobatic animals defy gravity, it was quite the dense gravity zone here and I cant believe they were actually walking down these cliffs.


AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
Back in the hinterlands, the clouds were starting to form again and developed some rain storms that made the hike out a bit more interesting but cooler as the heat of the hike back up raised the temperature level and the rain cooled you back down. Your going to either get wet from seating or from the rain so I did not see a purpose for a rain coat.  
 
AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
The Awa'awapuhi is a MUST do hike, but I imagine the cliff loop trail that includes this hike would be an epic one as it will take you to different sections of the ridgelines.
AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
I made it back to the car in good time so I headed over to the Alakai Swamp and the Pihea trail for an afternoon hike on top of Kuaui.
AWA'AWAPUHI TRAIL Kauai, Hawaii
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