Exploring Kauai - Inside and Out

March 14, 2018

We began our adventure on the north side of the island where we found the coastline to be rugged and beautiful with a spectacular ocean.

There are caves along the shoreline but most are inaccessible with the high surf this time of year.  But we came across this dry cave.  

While others ventured in without a headlamp or flashlight, we came prepared.  I had a Kogalla Ra Adventure Light attached to each shoulder strap of my CamelBak.  I simply cut strips from the Velcro roll in my Accessory Kit and strapped the lights on like this...

The USB cables followed my pack straps into the pouch on my back where I plugged them into a BatPak2.  

The Maniniholo cave doesn't go in very far but it's wide and Ra allowed us to fully explore it.  Others who ventured in the entrance without a flashlight followed us around as I had enough light for everyone.

On the south side of the island we found another cave.  

Makauwahi Cave is a limestone cave system with upper, middle and lower caves but the cave society only allows access to the middle cave.  There was a volunteer guide there who provided some interesting history and facts on the cave.  She pointed her flashlight at various points of interest as people strained to see.  Then I turned on Ra where my LED lights elicited oohs and aahs with one admirer saying, "Whoa, now that's a light!"

At the back of the cave there were tunnels that were tempting to explore but the guide said they were closed to protect some endangered species like a blind spider.  Well if it wasn't blind before, it would be after going from pitch black to the bright lights of Ra.

They say you could hike every day for a month and not see half the trails that the island has to offer.  And that's just the officially maintained ones.  

We started at the top of the island at Waimea Canyon.  It offered spectacular views into a very deep canyon.

On the opposite side of the canyon is Waipo'o Falls which drops 800 feet to the bottom. We took the hike along the canyon rim starting at Pu'u Hinahina and dropped down to the top of the falls.  It had been raining so the trail was muddy and in places it was a bit steep which made for a dicey hike down.  But it was worth it.  This is the view near the top of the falls.  The falls are to the left but all you really see is the water flowing through the foilage and silently over the edge.  All the noise is 800 feet down.

About 50 feet above the falls is another very small waterfall with a secluded little pool.  After that hike we couldn't resist taking a dip to cool off.

On the east side of the island we hiked to Hoopii Falls.  When we started it was raining so I wore a rain jacket even though it was warm and humid.  The jungle is impressive.

When we reached the river there were opportunities to stop and cool off.  And we weren't the only ones with that idea.

Of course when we reached Hoopii Falls there was plenty of time and room to cool off.  And there was a rope swing over the pool at the bottom.  So this was my husband's favorite hike.

Between the falls and the rope swing, we ended up spending much more time here than we expected.  Other hikers came and left and we were all alone as the day ended.  But hiking back in the dark was not a problem as Ra lit up the jungle.  It not only lit up the path but also the jungle around us better than the best headlamp or flashlight.  Seriously, it was far brighter than shown here with our phone camera.

The trip to Secret Falls began with a kayak trip up the Wailua River.  I could have spent all day just paddling this river.  But we took a small side river as far as we could with the kayaks and hiked from there.

There was a river crossing in thigh deep white water that was challenging.  Fast moving water is very powerful. But I never tired of the jungle scenery.  

Secret Falls is beautiful... and provided another opportunity to go for a swim.

There are lots of shoreline hikes like this one near Shipwreck Beach.  Hey, is that another cave down there?

Whether checking out caves or continuing to explore after dark, it was nice to have Ra along for this adventure.  It's absolutely better than the best headlamp.

Charlotte Burnett - Utah


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