This is Instagram Hawaii Spotting: Volume 5. I use Instagram a lot. A LOT. This makes sense since I’m pretty much glued to my iPhone and I love to snap photos. These are a few photos that I Instagrammed during a recent trip to Kauai. Enjoy!
All posts tagged Waterfall
The Nounou Trail, commonly referred to as the Sleeping Giant Trail, served as my introduction to hiking in Kauai. We reserved the second day of our Kauai trip for this particular hike, however, we didn’t know whether or not we would be able to do it because of the island-wide flash flood warnings that were issued the day before. Not letting the weather get in our way, we decided to check out the trail anyway after first getting our fill of pancakes at Eggbert’s. The risk paid off, and we were rewarded with stunning views of the Kapaa coastline, Wailua River, and Mount Waialeale.
There are three different ways of tackling the Nounou Trail. You can take either the east route, west route, or the Kuamoo-Nounou route. We decided on the Nounou-East route, because the trailhead was closest to our hotel. In fact, if you find yourself on vacation in Kapaa, then the Nounou Trail will make for the perfect outing since it’s located right in your backyard.
Comparing it to Oahu’s trails, I’d have to say that the Nounou Trail is partly like the Kuliouou Trail and partly like Olomana, albeit a much easier version of Olomana. The first half of the trail consists entirely of switchbacks that will have you cutting through ironwood and guava trees. You’ll continue on this portion of the trail for roughly two miles until you reach a picnic table. They have mile markers, in 0.25 mile increments, that you will pass as you work your way up. The picnic table area is known affectionately as the “Giant’s chest” and marks the end of the first half of the hike. Guidebooks will often say that this is where most people should stop and only the more adventurous should continue.
Wailua Falls is one of the most popular and most visited sites in Hawaii. It is undoubtedly an itinerary staple for any first time visitor to Kauai. Why? Because it’s a spectacular waterfall that can be easily accessed and viewed. However, for many, the view of Wailua Falls comes from the official lookout point at the end of Maalo Road (Highway 583). We wanted to get closer to Wailua Falls. Really close. We wanted to go down to the base of the waterfall. And so we did. The view down below did not disappoint.
With about 30 or so people viewing Wailua Falls from the lookout, we made our way down using a makeshift trail located just before the lookout. We jumped over the guardrail, where there was some crumpled down fencing. The trail begins to the left of the fencing. The hike down is short. Actually, it’s very short at 0.20 miles. However, the area is very slippery and very steep in sections. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the bottom of the falls.
Although the trail is closed, there were ropes installed to assist with the down climb. However, I have read that the state is known to the remove the ropes to prevent people from hiking down there. Obviously, they are worried about liability. This comes after two women died while trying to hike down to the nearby Opaekaa Falls in December 2006. In March 2012, the state reached a settlement with the families of the two hikers in the amount of $15.4 million. The lesson here? If you’re unsure of your abilities, or simply don’t like to leave things to chance, then stay at the lookout point and do not attempt to go to the bottom of the falls.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way, but due to the weather, it turned out this way. Joel and I had planned on focusing on the Kokee area of Kauai during our recent visit. However, Mother Nature had a different idea. The forecast suggested heavy showers and on the evening that we arrived in Kauai, with the National Weather Service later putting out a warning for flash flooding. It turned out that nearly 21 inches of rain fell in the Kokee area between the first two days of our trip. The rain would continue to fall heavily in the surrounding areas. Kokee was out of the question. As an alternative plan, we decided to focus on Kapaa, the surrounding area, and the North Shore. These areas were receiving the least amount of rain fall. This Kokee trip officially turned into a Kauai waterfall trip.
Hoopii Falls would be the first adventure on our to-do list. To access the trail, we took Highway 56 and turned on Kawaihau Road and then made a right at Kapahi Road. The trailhead was to our left. Be on the lookout for a rusty old yellow gate, covered with greenery and vines. The trailhead is located in a quiet residential area, so please be as ninja-like as possible when parking and accessing the trail. Parking is limited, so the early bird gets the worm (or the parking) so to speak. We decided to check out the trail early in the morning (8am) and were the first to snatch a parking spot, right alongside the trailhead.
You’ll begin the trail by trekking on an old dirt road. After about a quarter mile or so, the trail will open up and you will notice multiple side trails to your left, bringing you down to the stream level. You’ll notice a distinct trail that will have you walking alongside the stream. You’ll gain elevation a bit, but you’ll be able to hear the stream to your left. Eventually, you will hear the sound of Upper Hoopii Falls. Next, you’ll notice a side trail leading steeply down and back toward the stream. We skipped this first side trail and took the next one a few feet away. It was still very steep, but led us directly to Upper Hoopii Falls. Going back up, we noticed a third side trail that was much more gradual and not as steep as the first two options. I’d suggest taking the the third left down to the waterfall.
We spent a considerable amount of time at the upper falls. The recent rains caused the falls to have a very nice and heavy flow. In other words, it was a “majah rajah,” as some local waterfall enthusiast would say. Once you’ve had enough of Upper Hoopii Falls, you will want to backtrack and make your way back to the main trail.
It’s Flashback Friday! This is another one of those hikes that our crew did a while ago, but never found its way to the Exploration: Hawaii blog. This Flashback Friday post brings us way back to December 2011. As with other Flashback Friday posts, you won’t find as much detailed trail information because, well, I’ve for the most part forgotten too much detail to fully describe the trail. Of course, you can still enjoy the photos!
To get to Waimano Falls, you’ll need to jump on the rugged Manana Ridge trail since they share the same trailhead. As with most trails in the Aiea area, you will notice large powerlines throughout the hike. From the trailhead to the Waimano Falls junction, there’s little elevation gain. The tricky part will be actually finding the junction to Waimano Falls.
For many Hawaii hikers, rain is a sign that it’s time to go hunting for waterfalls. Over the last week or so, I’ve been doing just that. One of the waterfalls that I decided to check out was Kalauao Falls, located off of the Aiea Loop Trail. It was a lazy Sunday. Joel drove down from Waialua to pick me up in Salt Lake. From Salt Lake, Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area is a short five-ish minute drive away. We drove to the end of the park and then set off looking for the junctions and side trails that would lead us to Kalauao Falls.
Starting from the top of the Aiea Loop Trail, we quickly made our way past the water tank at the start of the trail. About 15 minutes into the hike, you will reach the first crucial junction. This was actually the first visible side trail that I noticed, and it was quite obvious. It will be on your left hand side and will come directly after, what Stuart Ball refers to as, a reverse S curve. You’ll encounter a narrow pathway through strawberry guava and then you will encounter an open area with a power-line tower. Continue past the power-line, passing even more strawberry guava and eucalyptus. You’ll slowly descend for about 30 minutes or so before you reach the second, and most crucial, junction.
Waterfalls are always better when it’s wetter. And it’s been very wet in Manoa Valley. So wet that a trip to the popular tourist trail, Manoa Falls, was well warranted. I won’t go into too much detail on the trail in this post, for that you can check out this post and this post. I should also mention the I decided against parking in the Manoa Falls parking lot, and instead parked in the residential area just before Paradise Park. That alone saved me five bucks.
The drive from Salt Lake to Manoa was a rainy one, so I knew that Manoa Falls would be gushing. Once I existed the H1 and made my way onto University Avenue, the rain really started to fall. The large rain drops would hit my car windshield and make loud splatting sounds. Once I found parking, I began preparing the few supplies that I decided to bring with me: rain jacket, GoPro Hero3, GoPole, and a Lifeproof Case for my iPhone 5. Those would be my supplies for the day. I stuffed everything into the pockets of my rain jacket. I hurried out of my car and headed into the valley. I was enamored by the falling rain. This fascination would lead to a major bummer when I returned to my car, but more on that later.
You’re in town and you want a quick waterfall fix? And I mean really quick. Get your fix in Nuuanu, just a few minutes away from downtown Honolulu. Alapena Falls and Kapena Falls is the fastest waterfall hike on the island. Once you’ve parked your car, it will only take you about 3-5 minutes to reach the falls. Most of you won’t even break a sweat.
Since it’s been raining like crazy over the last few days/weeks, I’ve been out searching for as many waterfalls as I have time for. This time, I decided to bring Michelle along with me to Alapena and Kapena Falls so that she could add a few waterfalls to her Instagram repertoire. She was unimpressed by the hike to the falls, because, really, it’s not much of a hike. However, she enjoyed the falls. And so did I.
The best way to access these falls is via the Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary. Park in the last lot at the very back of the park. facing the end of the parking lot, you will see a grassy trail leading to the falls. The trail will be on your left and will take you immediately to the stream. Almost instantly, you’ll spot Alapena Falls on your right. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it. Make your way down the short hill, swatting mosquitos along the way, and you’ll be rewarded with a small but pleasant waterfall.
Follow the short path beyond Alapena Falls and Kapena Falls will quickly come into view. The waterfall itself isn’t very large, but pool below it is. Many locals enjoy jumping into the pool, which is said to be anywhere between 15-30 feet deep. Of course, you can do the same, that is, if you would like to risk getting leptospirosis. In a 2010 assessment of the surrounding Nuuanu area, nearby Hawaii Baptist Academy mentioned:
“According the Department of Health, there is no law against swimming in Nu’uanu Stream and the pools. However, the Department of Health warns that the stream is a “hot spot” for leptospirosis, which can cause flu-like symptoms if it enters a person’s body from cuts or from drinking.”
Ancient Hawaiians have also been linked to Kapena Falls. Here’s a legend associated with the area:
“Once upon a time a couple of strangers came to O‘ahu and settled above Kapena Falls in Nu‘uanu Valley. The couple said they came from another island, but the folks who lived in Nu‘uanu began to suspect that they really came from Kahiki….The couple had five pet dogs. The larger of the five was called Poki. Each of the other dogs had names which have been forgotten. These dogs were much attached to the couple. They never left the environs of the couple’s home and they never allowed strangers to set foot within the grounds until either the man or the woman welcomed the visitors.
In time all friends of the couple became friends of the dogs and that was when people began to notice that these dogs were not ordinary dogs — they seemed to be kupuas in dog form, super-natural beings. The path to the Pali went by their home. Ordinarily the dogs did not stir when a stranger went by on the path minding his business. If the stranger tried to enter the home, the dogs set up a great howl, but they did not attack the stranger. Then there came a day when friends of the couple went by, journeying to the Pali. The dogs rushed out, set up a terrific howl and laid themselves across the Nu‘uanu path in front of the couple. One friend turned and returned to Waikiki, but the other friend patted the dogs and insisted upon going to the Pali. There he was set upon by robbers and killed.
The friend who had returned to Waikiki rejoiced that he had heeded the warning given by the kupua dogs. In time, the King of O‘ahu heard about the dogs and sent a company of men to the Pali to clean out the robber band which infested the place. After that, the people of O‘ahu realized that the dogs at Kapena Falls were really kupua dogs. When they journey by Kapena Falls, they got into the habit of leaving flowers, leis, ferns and food for the dogs. It was their way of saying ‘thank you’.”
So, if you visit Kapena Falls and you see a stray dog, say hi. The dog just might be one of the legendary kupua dogs.
Ah the Big Island, the home of Madame Pele, spewing volcanoes, and larger-than-life waterfalls. Michelle and I recently set off on an inter-island adventure, escaping the hustle and bustle of Oahu and flying the forty minutes to Hawaii’s Big Island. Upon landing at Kona Airport, our plan was to drive an hour to Kohala to see the birthplace of King Kamehameha The Great. Persistent thoughts of red velvet brownies, however, quickly changed our plans and as soon as our luggage had been thrown into the trunk of our newly rented Ford Mustang, we headed straight to the Big Island Candies factory in, errr, Hilo. This was spontaneity at its best.
With the change of plans, my okole was already dreading the long drive ahead of us. It would take us approximately 2 hours to get from resort filled Kona to the more authentic Hilo town. The first 30 minutes of our drive was smooth sailing, with beautiful weather in our rear view mirror. However, the rain and wind really started show its wrath by the time we hit Waimea. The elements were very unforgiving, with rain following us all the way into Hilo town.
Once in Hilo, we made three stops, each one having to do with food. First stop was at Cafe 100 to fill our tummies. I had a Super Loco Moco, or as I called it, The Heart Attack on a Plate. Michelle had the classic Loco Moco plate because … she’s smaller than I am. Next we hit up Two Ladies Kitchen for their amazing Strawberry Mochi. Finally, we set our eyes on the prize: Big Island Candies. If I remember correctly, when we finally pulled into the Big Island Candies parking lot, both Michelle’s and my eyes doubled in size, while our mouths gasped in disbelief as we saw how large this local candy factory was. Michelle quickly stockpiled boxes of chocolates as if we were hoarding sweets for the pending December 21, 2012 apocalypse.
Before heading back to Kona, we decided to make a stop at a not-to-be-missed attraction along the Hamakua coastline, Akaka Falls. I’m happy that we decided to take this little detour, since it was definitely grander than any waterfall that we have on Oahu.
From Māmalahoa Highway  and driving toward Kona, you will make a left on to Honomu Road. Signage will eventually lead you on to Old Māmalahoa Highway, where you will make a right on Stable Camp Road. Continue going straight until you hit Akaka Falls Road. Follow the road to the end and you will reach Akaka Falls State Park. It will take you about 20 minutes or so to reach the falls from Māmalahoa Highway. At the end of the road will be a parking lot where you will need to dish out $5 for a stall. From the parking lot you will get your first glimpse of the falls. Yes, it’s that big. In fact, it’s a 422 foot tall waterfall.
You can tackle this trail two ways, either clockwise or counterclockwise. We decide to go counterclockwise, which brought us to Alaka Falls in less than 5 minutes. Once at the falls, we were nearly engulfed by the mist created by the thunderous flow of the waterfall. For a few moments, the rain stopped and I was able to snap off a few shots. I really wish the rain could have stopped a bit longer so that I could switch lenses on my camera, but that’s nature for you. Unpredictable.
Note: Naohia Falls is closed to the public. It is illegal to hike this trail and to do so would be cause for citation or arrest. There is also a risk of falling boulders, landslides, and drowning. As such, all accounts here are fictional. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Adobe Photoshop is a wonderful piece of software that allows one to superimpose another into a photo making it seem as if they were somewhere when if fact they were not. Got it?
I’m a Kalihi boy at heart. I’m a proud Governor having graduated from W.R. Farrington High School. Deep within Gulick Avenue is where I grew up. This probably explains my love for musubis from Gulick Deli. I remember waking up on days that I had school excursions to go to Gulick Deli to buy bentos. Back then, the old Filipino ladies weren’t allowed to use the cash registers. This was long before the deli caught on fire and long before there was a “Gulick Deli” on King Street. Kalihi runs deep through my veins. Despite this, I never really ventured into the heart of Kalihi Valley and as a teen, I never knew that a swimming hole and waterfall existed at the end of Kalihi Street. Once I found out of the existence of what locals call the “Kalihi Ice Ponds,” I knew that I had to seek it out.
My visit to Na Ohia Falls has been about a year and a half in the making. That’s how long that it’s been on my to-do list. I finally was able to get a nice big red marker and strike this waterfall off of that to-do list. With a morning to myself, I quickly ran through various “short” hiking options and for some reason Na Ohia Falls jumped to that forefront. It was as if the falls was shouting out to me to come and visit her. Coincidentally, we picked up a few Gulick Deli musubis before heading to the falls.
Finding Naohia Falls is relatively simple. You will not find directions to this waterfall in any guide book since it is located on restricted land belonging to the Hawaii Board of Water Supply. To access the falls, make your way to Kalihi Valley via Likelike Highway. You’ll continue pass the intersection of Likelike Highway and School Street. To your right will be the elementary school that I attended many years ago. Just past the intersection, you will veer slightly right and then make a left turn on to Kalihi Street. From there, simply follow Kalihi Street to the very end. Eventually, you will hit a dead end. Park on the side of the road in the residential area and then make your way on foot to the very end of the street. You’ll cross a bridge and then you’ll encounter a locked gate. This is the trailhead. Make your way around this gate and continue to follow the dirt road.