Long Hike, Boardwalk, Pulled Hammie

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
Trip End Jan 17, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Sunday, January 13, 2008

We awoke early this morning, not because we wanted to, but because of the Kauai roosters!  Maybe you thought we were kidding, alas my friends, we were not.  At five o'clock, we felt like Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny."  You know the scene...we won't go any further than that.
For our first full day in Kauai, we decided to go for a hike.  We looked through our Ultimate Kauai guide, and settled on a hike in the Waimea Canyon park:  the Pihea trail to the Alaka'i Swamp.  We had some nice views on the way up to the trailhead (see below).  After quite a significant drive, we finally reached our destination.  The trail began at the Pu'u O Kila Lookout.  The place was thronging with people.  Not hikers, just people getting out of their cars to snap a few pictures.  We scoffed at them.  Little did we know how smart they were....
The hike out the Pihea trail to hook-up with the Alaka'i trail was through dense ferns and mud.  There were a few cool overlooks, and a lot of up and down climbing (Shannon thinks she tore something...maybe a quad...no wait, I am hearing it's a hammie). 
Things got interesting once we got on the swamp trail.  We would show you some pictures of this part of the hike, however, the little planner (Shannon) and the non-planner (Matthew) failed you all.  And most of all, we failed ourselves.  You see, we forgot to charge the $!#@%#^ camera battery.  Yes folks, we are trying to keep our blog PG.  I cannot say the same for Shannon's language on the trail when she realized the battery was dead. 
Because we have no pictures of 2/3 of our hike, you might have noticed this entry is going on forever.  Kind of like our 8-mile roundtrip hike.  Let's get into a little description...the boardwalk leading to the lookout at the end of the swamp trail was built in 1992 (before that, this trail was almost impossible to maneuver).  But, for those quick with the functional math skills, the boardwalk is now over 15 years old, and it shows.  A lot.  Like in the places where it has simply fallen away.  This could have been where Shannon pulled a hammie.  I suppose we will never know. 
The highlights of the hike:  the overlook at the end gave us a panoramic view of the North Shore (we started out on the West Shore!).  Along the trail, there stood old telephone poles that were erected by the military post-Pearl Harbor.  The poles served as a back-up communication line in case the Japanese took over Lihue (on the East shore).  I would love to show you a picture;  however, we've discussed the battery.  I am trying not get upset even as I type this very sentence.  Give me a minute....
Phew.  Okay, final highlight...by the time we hit the last part of the return hike, the clouds were rolling up the canyon and filtering through the trail...it was incredibly creepy.  Clearly, Shannon and I have read way too many Stephen King novels.  The cloud/fog was so thick in some places, that for just a few feet, it would be raining.  I thought it was bizarre, but cool.  Shannon turned and looked at me, muttered some sailor jargon that ended with "creepy."  Safe to say she did not think it was cool. 
We hope you enjoy the few pictures and one video we managed to shoot before the battery died on us.  We promise not to slip-up again, loyal travel blog readers.  Believe me when I say, Shannon will NOT allow this to happen again!
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