Interior Adventure

Deep into the interior of Kaua’i, there are many streams to explore. This is but one of them, though nowhere as deep or as spectacular as the Wailua gorge—although I’ve heard rumors, so maybe I just didn’t go far enough…

I will not be giving any directions on how to get there, just some photos of the terrain. But I’ll still give you fair warning:

WARNING: crossing rivers, boulder-hopping, and swimming in waterfalls are dangerous activities. Rivers can flood quickly and may sweep you away easily or to trap you on the other side. Waterfalls sometimes carry rocks and branches with fatal consequences and the nearby cliffs are unstable. All surface water in Hawai’i has a risk of leptospirosis–know how to protect yourself. Hiking where there is no trail is also dangerous due to steep slopes and drop-offs. Derelict structures are unsafe. Exercise caution and proceed at your own risk.

The trusty 4WD saves us a lot of walking and a little mud. I always like to think the car has fun in the puddles. Actually, I think that’s a stream, and it does look a little deep, but we made it across.
When we get out to walk, we find a ditch to follow. These old irrigation works are all over Kaua’i, but this one is still in use.

One appeal to the area is to get views you don’t get from elsewhere:

This very recent repair replaced an old aquaduct with a siphon. The black pipe is about 3 feet (1m) in diameter. I think all this water is used for hydro-electricity, so they have to keep it flowing.

And here’s the first reward, a weir that creates a big swimming hole. Notice how the ditch goes straight into a tunnel behind a metal gate on the far side, and the access trail consists of steps carved into the rock.

Hiking up the streambed now, we’re in a lush, wet forest, with fern growing on the steep hillsides. I really like the polished lava rock in the foreground.

After a while, the steep hillsides turn into sheer 60-ft (20 m) walls of rock that the stream has cut through. Given that this is a death trap in case of rain, we turned around here.
Just as well because on the way back down, we found an awesome natural slide rock. Notice that we did have a long stick nearby for testing the depth and for rescue in case of currents.
We went exploring a bit further along the ditch, I couldn’t resist those rock steps seen earlier. We didn’t find any more interesting streams, but we did find another old aquaduct. This is one end of an old, fallen-down aquaduct that carried the ditch across a small ravine, maybe 150 feet (50 m) wide—you can see the other end at the top of the photo. Unlike the new siphon seen earlier, this one seemed to have been bypassed long ago with a regular ditch and then a tunnel.

Somewhere along the trail, it climbed up a bit over a ridge, and the mists parted long enough to get a shot even deeper into the interior. And indeed there are waterfalls up in there that we’ll have to come back and explore another day.

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1 Comment   »

  1. Jason says:

    Wow! Great pics and write up!
    I need to get back over to Kaua’i!

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