Posts Tagged ‘Sleeping Giant- Kauai’

The Kuilau Ridge Trail, Sleeping Giant and Wailua Falls

February 27, 2022

Kauai Trip, January 2022 – Part 6 – I can’t just leave us in Kauai now, can I? Have to finish out the trip and get us home to Idaho again. We have about 2 days left of our 10-day vacation.

Enjoy the sunrise!

Princeville, Kauai, January 29, 2022 – 7:24 am

Hmm. What to do today? Let’s start by tossing some seed out for the birds.

January 29, 7:29 am



What? Do I really have to watch a video? Well, they’re pretty hungry. Okay here’s a photo, as well:

So Steph and Vic have chickens! Uh, yeah. Feral chickens that magically appear as soon as the feed hits the ground. They peck like maniacs till the feed is gone and then disappear. They’re likely nesting in the bushes on the north side of the house because you will hear a chicken fracas out there, good luck finding them. Do you know how to prepare a feral chicken? Boil it in a pan with a large rock. As soon as the rock is tender, the chicken is done.

What’s for breakfast? Starfruit! Harvested from the tree in Steph and Vic’s front yard.

Starfruit. Yum!

So what to do on our last two days? Hike! We love the Kuilau Ridge Trail: A pretty easy hike through lush hillsides leads you to a summit with a picnic table and stunning views of Mount Wai’ ale’ ale. There are two trails to the picnic table – the Kuilau Ridge Trail and the Moalepe Trail. We hiked both trails on this trip.

Of course, to get to the trailhead you drive through Kapa’a right past Sleeping Giant. Local legend tells of a Giant who feasted so much at a party in his honor that he laid down for a nap and never awoke. Here he is, lying on his back, stretched out across this photo which I took from the car. Painful for Eric to be so close to the Giant and pass up the hike!

Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant)

“Hey,” Eric pipes up. “I know we have hiked the east trail a couple of times, but we have never hiked the west trail to to the top of Sleeping Giant. We could still do that on this trip!”

“No, Eric. Not gonna do it.”

I tell you what, Eric. How about we go with this guy a.k.a. ‘Grizzle Gear’ who hiked the west trail to the top, filmed it and posted it on Youtube. You’ll be on top of Sleeping Giant in less than 8 minutes!

The Kuilau Ridge trail is perfect. About 3.5 miles roundtrip, you hike a gentle constant incline through lush forest and rolling hills, finally arriving at the picnic table. Here, let’s do it!

After Sleeping Giant we drive right past Wailua Falls. We pull over and take photos (with a mob of other tourists). Now this is what Paradise looks like!

Wailua Falls

And the view across the street:

On the Kuilau Ridge hike now! Luckily the trail is dry.

Megan is loving it

Lush rain forest, indeed!

Arrived at the picnic table

From L-R, David, Megan, Jody, Victor, Steph, Eric

Hiking back out

We’re starving and thirsty. And it’s a good hour’s drive back to Princeville. So of course we have to stop for lunch in Kapa’a at another one of our favorite hang-outs, the Olympic Cafe, which might possibly offer up the best Mai-tai’s on the Island (we have to keep sampling them to decide).

What? You were going to wrap up this trip and get us back to Idaho and now we’re sitting in a bar and grill drinking Mai-tai’s?

Yep.

Here, you can be here with us! Click on this link with photos of the open air restaurant. It’s on a second story with a huge balcony that overlooks the main drag in Kapa’a.

https://www.google.com/maps/uv?pb=!1s0x7c06e0ed2365411b%3A0x8a828e4936f54e81!3m1!7e115!4shttps%3A%2F%2Flh5.googleusercontent.com%2Fp%2FAF1QipMEq-KN9Ywb41roUURPImJba1lWZ0MvKZTfFY9y%3Dw160-h160-k-no!5sOlympic%20Cafe%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCgIgAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipMEq-KN9Ywb41roUURPImJba1lWZ0MvKZTfFY9y&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjLov3_qaD2AhVRLTQIHeFnB8gQoip6BAghEAM

After the hour+ drive from Princeville to the Kuilau trailhead, hiking to the picnic table, and also stopping along the way to hike the west trail to the top of Sleeping Giant (just go with it Eric and check it off your bucket list), checking out Wailua Falls, sating ourselves with food and drink at the Olympic Cafe, maybe we should call it a day. I can go for another night of sweet slumber in our beds at Steph and Vic’s home in Princeville. Even if the chickens are making a racket in the bushes outside our windows.

So, no. We’re not flying back home to Idaho just yet. But to give you a clue as to what greets us when we get home let me just say it’s been a cold, dry winter, albeit, the large snow that pelted us before Christmas is still there. And accumulating. I took these photos out our front window two days ago.

Friday, February 24, 2022

Check out this video!

Glad to push that “Easy” button. Easy Peasy!

We finally got smart and hired someone to shovel us out.

Things are looking up a bit today, though. The sun has come out and David has cleared the snow off the deck.

Sunday, February 26, 11 am

Current temperature – 15 degrees – Fahrenheit that is. Cover ourselves with down, and we might be able to enjoy our Idaho happy hour out on the deck?

Yeah, I gotta get us home from Kauai. But, hey, what’s the rush?

I’ll take the beach over … Sleeping Giants and Dragons

February 14, 2022

Part 4 – Saturday, January 22, 2022. Good morning, Princeville!

Day 2 of our vacation. It’s sunny! And the pressure is on to plan something great, fun, fulfilling, inspiring …

“Let’s hike Sleeping Giant!” Eric jumps in. His inner mountain goat must have been whispering in his ears last night in his sweet slumber. Okay Eric. Yes, so Sleeping Giant is a great hike. We haven’t done it in four years. But, no. I tell you what. In an effort to appease your inner goat I’ll post some photos from 2018 of the east trail hike up Sleeping Giant.

Eric and David. Sleeping Giant hike, January 2018.
Hiking up to his ‘chinny-chin-chin’
Channel your inner goat – uh, if you have one
Almost there. Thank goodness, not afraid of heights. Oh, afraid of heights…

Steph, Vic, David, Eric and I also hiked the same east trail to the top of Sleeping Giant 8 years ago. I blogged about it. Here’s the link:

And as a teaser, here’s a photo of Victor…

Channel your inner crab?

How about this, Eric. Larsen’s Beach! It’s a hike to the beach and then you could hike further while we bask in the sun. Well, to be honest, Eric will never turn down an opportunity to hike Larsen’s Beach. Off we go!

The walk to Larsen’s beach is easy. Along the first quarter mile the path weaves through a jungle of shoulder-high brush. Watch what plant you brush up against, it might move and curl up and freak you out. I mean it kinda freaks me out. Plants don’t have muscles, do they? Well, somehow the ‘mimosa pudica’ or the ‘sensitive plant’ moves and curls up when you touch it. It’s a very strange sight. I blogged about it on our trip in 2015. Had discovered it on a different trail. Here, I take a photo and video of it on today’s walk to Larsen’s beach:

Mimosa pudica – growing near another plant that looks similar but isn’t the least bit ‘sensitive’

You can order a mimosa pudica grow kit online and grow your own ‘sensitive’ house plant .

https://www.etsy.com/listing/997747768/small-mimosa-pudica-starter-grow

A potted sensitive plant might be a great addition to our emotional support station in our kitchen. Push the ‘that was easy’ button to gloat, grab the kitty squishies to decompress, and touch the mimosa pudica plant for sympathy when we feel hurt or slighted.

We should definitely add a mimosa pudica!
Mimosa Pudica (yeah, just try growing one from seed)

Well maybe add a lava lamp to the mix, as well.

Mais oui! I digress! We’re going to be stuck in Kauai forever the way these blogs are going. Huh… I’ve blogged about Larsen’s Beach numerous times. Except this time we have Megan with us!

On Larsen’s beach there’s a good chance you will run into at least one monk seal and maybe a sea turtle or two sunning themselves on the narrow beach. We run into both of these endangered species today.

Soaking up the sun. Boy do monk seals know how to relax. Look at that face!

There are two sea turtles sunning themselves on a narrow area of the beach.

Larsen’s beach. Saturday, Jan 22, 2022

One of them decides to head for the water, at a slightly faster pace than a snail:

Eric decides to hike further to the arch at the end of the cove. Here, hang with the rest of us on Larsen’s beach for a minute and enjoy the surf…

Yes! We wander back toward the car. Eric jets back from his hike and meets us at the trailhead.

The following day we come up with a plan that works for everyone. Steph and Vic have business to take care of at home. Eric, David, Megan and I drive to Kahili beach. Megan and I will sunbathe on the beach while Eric and David cross a stream and hike up along the cliffs to one of Eric’s favorite places at the end of yet another cove, Hissing Dragon. We have hiked here at least three times before. It’s in my 2017 Kauai blogs. Hissing Dragon can really be fierce if you hit it in high surf. It actually roars through a crack in the rocks and almost ate Eric when he was standing with his phone trying to catch a video next to where the dragon explodes. So imagine that you now go with Eric and David across that stream and hike along the rocks at high tide to the end of the cove. You hear the dragon’s roar through a crack!

January 20, 2017

Now you’re standing where Hissing Dragon explodes. My video camera is ready…

Hissing Dragon!

Of course, Eric is not satisfied with his video. He steps closer for a better shot. He gets it alright. Maybe that angry dragon is tired of curious tourists gawking at his resting place. In any case the dragon explodes and darned near sucks Eric back into his crack with him. Alas, Eric survives this 2017 adventure, captures the video and posts it here:

https://m.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Feric.seneff.98%2Fvideos%2F234042560339373%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Okay, so that’s how your adventure could go today should you choose to go with Eric and David and hike along the rocky shore to Hissing Dragon. There they go! They are crossing the stream that separates Kahili Beach from the hike to the cove.

Put your shoes back on!

And so begins the hike to Hissing Dragon

They disappear and Megan and I pick out a perfect spot on the beach to set our blanket down.

Kahili Beach – a great place to people watch, except there’s hardly any people

We just sit and relax (channeling that monk seal) for the next hour. The beach is practically deserted. Megan plays music on her phone and we watch the waves. And the surfers. And the happy young couple near us. She is sunbathing while he attempts to break open a coconut that has just fallen off a tree (forget it!). I take a video of the surfers while Megan sings along with her music:

Another sunbather walks by

and some surfers

The couple next to us goes in for a swim.

Ah, but before we know it, here come David and Eric. Crossing the stream back to the beach after their hike to Hissing Giant.

Dig that hiking shit!

Wow! How did the hike go? Did you make it to Hissing Dragon?

Yes, we did.

So how was it?

We didn’t see anything. Nada. Tide’s too low, I guess.

Oh, so Hissing Dragon was more like, uh, ‘Sleeping Dragon?’

Yep.

I think I can guess what was inside David’s head about agreeing to the hike to Hissing Dragon with Eric after I shared my beach photos and videos with him.

What was I thinking???

Then again, that Hissing Dragon can be extraordinarily fierce when awakened by a high surf.

Aloha, Kauai – Hello Winter

February 21, 2018

In the words of Nelly Furtado:

Flames to dust
Lovers to friends
Why do all good things come to an end?

Alas, the sun is setting on our 10-day trip to Kauai. I try to stave off the melancholy that worms its way into my consciousness toward the end of our trip. As a culminating celebration on the evening of our last full day, the five of us – David and I, Steph and Vic, and my brother Eric – always go out to dinner at the Baracuda in Hanalei. My brother Eric sits on the end of the table, to my left, and I turn to him. “Do it, Eric …”

Eric knows. It’s become a yearly ritual – his duty to cheer me up with his “My heart beats for you” routine:

There. You’re feeling better now too, aren’t you? So sad to leave Kauai.

Okay. I’ll do it. I’ll share a few last photos before we head to the airport.

A last Kauai sunrise:

And Steph and Vic’s bird feeder – which not only attracts hoards of birds, but Nene geese and an egret as well:

One Layson albatross hung out about every day behind Steph and Vic’s house, as if waiting for the swoop of an interested suitor, making the mating noises with the clapping of its beak, and the whining – one day another albatross swooped in several times and then landed and they danced together.

Often though, this albatross would wait there patiently, occasionally flap its wings and finally fly off.

The Albatross is a totally different bird in flight:

Layson Albatross in flight above Larsen’s Beach

Our last day, Saturday, Jan 27, Eric, David and I climbed the Nounou Mountain Trail East to the top of Sleeping Giant. You don’t want to do this hike under wet conditions. We had had a couple of sunny days and decided to do it. The path that takes you up on top of the Giant’s head is about 4 miles round trip with about 1000 ft elevation.

Sleeping Giant’s Head

The hike is considered moderately difficult, but you’d better wear good shoes:

David

Eric and David

Almost to the top of his head now..

You can do it!

On top!

Here’s my video of the panoramic view on top of Sleeping Giant

Eric on top:

Headed back down now.

David

We beat Eric down. I caught a picture of him coming out at the trail head.

Saturday, Jan 27, 2018

Okay, time to wash the mud out of our shoes, take a shower, get our shit together for the airport.

Wait! One last photo of Kauai – near Anahola …

And my favorite photo of Eric on Larsen’s Beach:

And my sister Stephanie with the sea turtle:

Larsen’s Beach

Stop it, Jody.

Okay. Facing the inevitable. We’re at the airport in Lihue now – waiting to board the 11:15 pm red-eye to L.A.

Goodbye, Paradise!

So sad…

Vacation’s over!

Except Eric. Eric is interminably happy.

David and Eric fall off to sleep as soon as the plane to L.A. takes off. I know because I’m wedged between them, in the middle seat, hardly able to move my arms or legs, wide awake. The plane is pitch black dark so we can sleep. But of course, I never can sleep. Or I perceive that I’m totally not sleeping. But I must doze a bit. How else to endure that petrified seated position for six straight hours?

Descending for the landing in L.A. – 6:30 am, Sunday morning:

We arrive at Gate 50 or something and just need to go to 52A to catch our flight to Salt Lake. Great – look it’s just ahead there to the left! Oh… then down this staircase…

Into a long line to an outside door to … catch a bus?

Outside now on the tarmac … Waiting for the bus…

‘Good morning, L.A.!’

Get a seat on the bus!! We did. Sat and watched the line and luggage pile in, one after another – cramming into the seats and then filling the standing room in the aisle clear up to the bus driver. I picked up my phone from where I was sitting and captured a photo:

Happy happy joy joy

It was a ten minute bus ride to our gate in the far flung American Airlines terminal. We unload and head into the terminal – oh that’s right, I remember! There is one food concession in the whole terminal. Jump in line! We’re starving.

We thought we were half nuts to get in line since we were about 20 people back. But we still had a good 45 minutes until boarding our flight to Salt Lake. No. We were totally sane. Look at the line piling up behind us! (Yes, I took photos. How else to entertain myself as the line inched forward?)

I stepped out of line and took a photo of David, with the line ahead of us –

David in line with his calm ‘whatever’ face

Then photos of the line building behind us

Eric, David and I ordered 3 ham, egg and cheese mcmuffin type sandwiches with coffee – so hot we couldn’t drink it. But it didn’t matter so much, when it cooled down enough to take a sip it was so bitter I couldn’t stomach it anyway. Not that I didn’t try. I knocked a wave of hot coffee on my leg before boarding our flight to Salt Lake.

Here we are in flight:

Flight to Salt Lake, Sunday Jan 28

11 am – landing in Salt Lake!

From here we drove the nearly 3-hour drive home to Idaho Falls.

This area of the country has enjoyed one of the mildest January’s on record. These peaks are usually blanketed in snow this time of year. In Idaho Falls the temperatures have been hovering in the 40’s, 10-15 degrees above normal.

We’re home in Idaho now. A consistent ‘Where’s Waldo’ activity keeps our minds and bodies busy in the back yard, complements of our miniature poodle, Rudy.

Find the dog turds:

There’s actually two of them, should I zoom in?

Yea, getting back into the routine. Here’s what our back yard looked like yesterday:

Feb 20, 2018 – 11:19 am

A skiff of snow hoisted on 20 MPH winds with a forecasted high of 16 degrees.

So yeah, winter in southeast Idaho is not going anywhere …

Kauai “Where’s Waldo” Brain Plasticity Adventure

February 17, 2018

Still in KauaI!

View of North Coast from Sea Lodge Beach

I have so many Kauai nature photos to share, with no cohesive story, thought I’d do a ‘Where’s Waldo’ activity of sorts – combine my “find the critter” photos into a 10-minute brain exercise, if you will … think, brain plasticity!

I will identify where I took each photo – say, for example, in planning your next trip to Kauai, you want to avoid spiders, or something…

Like this spider I spotted on the trail to Larsen’s Beach:

Find the spider

Do you see it? It’s directly above center in the photo. Zoom in for a closer look… I know you want to:

Common Kauai garden spider

Beautiful! How many spiders in this web above our heads? Zoom in on the web and count them:

How many spiders in this photo?

You’re not that curious, you say? Ready for the answer? ……………………………………………………….

Eight.

(You seriously don’t want to be the first person in the morning breaking trail.)

Walking toward our car now, at the trailhead to Larsen’s Beach. Whoa! A big honking snail!

Find the snail

Crossing the road. Oh no! I took a video:

About as much action as you will capture from a snail…

David rescued it:

One hunk of a snail

Put it on Stephanie’s shoulder

‘Aloha’

Not shy, but surely soon dead had we not moved it to the grass…

Find the lizard:

In Stephanie and Victor’s garden

Now find the lizard, on our hike to Sleeping Giant:

Hint: upper left quadrant

Don’t make yourself cross-eyed. The sun is shining on her head and she is looking right at you. Same lizard is a bit easier to find in this photo:

See its head sticking out?

She’s just above the center of the photo.

Find the ‘Sleeping Giant’:

Sleeping Giant – ‘shhhhhh!’ don’t wake him!

That whole mountain, Nounou Mountain, is Sleeping Giant- Local legend has it that a giant who attended a party given in his honor feasted so much that he laid down for a nap and never awoke. Follow his head, on the left, over his chest, to his feet on the right.

Sleeping Giant’s Head:

Hike to the head of Sleeping Giant

Sleeping Giant, near Kapaa, is one of the most popular hikes on Kauai. Here’s a fun, informational link about Sleeping Giant. It’s 4-mile hike (and 1000-ft elevation gain) from the trailhead to the top of his head and back. Once you are on top you can hike from the hair on his head to his ‘chinny-chin-chin.’ Here we are on top – can you find the two other hikers on top in this photo?

Easy to see one hiker, where’s the second one?

Quite difficult to find the second hiker. Here – I’ll zoom in!

‘On top of the world, Ma!’

Back down to the beach now – Aliomanu Beach. Among the ‘rocks’ ahead, which one is a monk seal?

There’s a Monk Seal?

Hard to guess. Not so hard when you practically step on it. It’s the shape furthest up on the bank. Sunning himself… Here – I took a video, brace yourself for the action:

Just enough action to prove the shape isn’t a rock

Speaking of rocks, find Eric:

Hike to Hissing Dragon – where’s Eric?

Find the horse on the trail ahead of us:

What horse?

We were hiking the Mahogany Plantation Trail. The trailhead is right at the Kileua Farmer’s Market. It is flat and beautiful. There were several horses grazing and signs that read “Do not touch the horses” – which seemed like a set-up because this horse would not move out of our way, until David swatted it on the butt.

Here’s more photos of the Mahogany Plantation hike:

Find the bird in Stephanie and Victor’s back garden:

Find the bird

‘You’re giving me a headache!” you say. Okay this one’s difficult. Hint: It’s perched underneath the bushiest blossom on the flower that’s furthest left. (Read that aloud five times for extra brain boosting.)

This one’s a bit fun: How many chicks in this video? (taken at the top of the “ANGER US CONDITIONS” trail to Anini Beach in Princeville):

I don’t know either. They really don’t want you to count them. 5?…6?

Find the way around the mud:

There isn’t a way.

But we’re on a great hike – the Kuilau Ridge trail near Wailua – a 2 1/2 mile hike through the rain forest, only muddy in places. Here’s a couple of photos I took near the summit:

Kuilau Ridge Trail

Lastly, what’s wrong with this picture?

Two highly-paid consultants

We all piled in the car in a big hurry to shop at the Waipu Farmer’s Market, near Hanalei – had to get there – quick! with the mob, when it opened. Not sure what David’s excuse is with his shorts, but Victor did put his sandals on in a hurry.

Finally, dear reader, here’s a beach video for you. To help you decompress after all that brain exercise:

A walk on Kahili Beach. Yeah, that’s better…

Who friggin’ needs brain plasticity exercises anyway?