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Kauai Hike - Waininiua Trail and Kumawela Road in Koke'e

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One of the best places to hike in Kauai [according to us, haha] is in the rainforest of Koke'e State Park. Although we've made 20 trips to Kauai, there are still a lot of trails we haven't hiked on yet but we're doing what we can to shorten that list - here are some pictures and memories of a hike we did on 11/4/12. It was extra-sweet because that day is the anniversary of my husband's mother's birthday and also my father's birthday. Both of them loved to hike, loved Kauai, loved getting away from the crowds - so it was sort-of a 'memorial' to them to explore this section of the great state of Hawaii.

Our hike started by driving up the road that goes past Camp Sloggett [which happens to be named after my husband's cousin, by the way].

We passed over a little bridge

And once we got started on the actual hike, we admired many flowers growing along the road and in the forest areas. This is a fuschia flower that is quite large, unlike the fuschia flowers I'm used to seeing.

We also saw a stunning pink flower but I don't know the name of it - here are a couple of pictures and if anyone knows what it's called, please let me know.

This picture shows one fully-open as well as some that haven't quite opened yet, some buds and some of the large fruit that grows from this flower.

We also saw a lot of berry bushes that were flowering.

It didn't take long to walk from our parking spot to the start of the Waininiua Trail - by the way, in the Hawaiian language, each vowel is pronounced separately so even though the words look very strange at first, it's not too difficult to learn how to pronounce them. This is broken down as WAI - pronounced almost like 'why' and it means water - NINI - pronounced like knee-knee - UA - pronounced ooo-ah - so put it together and it would come out something like WHY KNEE-KNEE OOO-AH.

They do a great job of marking trails with very clear signs - probably because it's so easy for people to get lost in the forest so this helps everyone figure out where they are.

The start of the trail was pretty clear and lined with ginger plants, although it was the fall season so they were at the end of their lifecycle for this year.

More berry bushes - no wonder the wild pigs and deer like this area!!

Sometimes the trail was pretty clear as it went thru the forest, although it was a fairly narrow trail.

But the trail was also overgrown in many spots, too.

Lots of berries in the forest.

A few more trail pictures along the Waininiua Trail

Some areas were less dense

And occasionally there was a tree we had to duck under

Or climb thru brush

And it wasn't always easy to figure out exactly where the trail had gone!

But eventually it would become more obvious

And before too long, we exited the Waininiua Trail and walked along the Kumawela Road, which is a road used by hunters who are looking for wild pigs [aka wild boar].

It often gets overcast in the afternoon, which helped keep the temperatures reasonable for the hiking. It never gets super-hot there but during this trip, many days were in the mid-80s, which is a tad warm for me as far as hiking goes, esp with the high humidity. The clouds were very helpful this day.

If we had gotten lost, we could probably have survived quite well by eating all the berries we passed, although many were not yet ripe enough.

We ran into a number of hunters out looking for wild pigs and we saw evidence of pigs [tracks, scat, broken branches] but didn't actually see any of them in person that day. One look at the thick forest makes it easy to understand that we could have been 20 feet from one without knowing it!!

We did hear 'crashing noises' in the forest a few times as we went along this hunting road but it also could have been hunting dogs rather than pigs - glad we didn't run into any of the boar. They're not as big or dangerous as the ones in the Southern US states but could still be a problem for unarmed hikers, although I think they really tend to avoid people as much as possible so we weren't really worried about it.

Everywhere we looked, we saw more flowers - so pretty to hike there!

And every opening seemed to be thick with vegetation - here are some more berries growing in the chest-high grass!


We also saw some very interesting mushrooms growing on the trees - this is a cedar tree, something most people don't expect to see in Kauai but there are a lot of them growing in Koke'e and the interior of Kauai's mountain areas.

Here's another mushroom on a different tree.

This little section of Kumawela Road is just before it joins up with Mohihi Ridge Road so I'll break off the blog on this part of the hike here and will post more pictures of the next section of our hike, which was on the Berry Flat Trail, in the next blog.

Hope you enjoy these pictures of Kauai's forest trails!
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