Hiking up the giant

Friday, January 25, 2008

We climbed the sleeping giant today. It is so named because when viewed from the right angle it looks like the face of a giant. The local people tell many stories about this mountain. (All of which we heard by way of cardboard cards that the hotel leaves with chocolate during its evening turndown service.) The latest one goes like this: A large giant lived in the Wailua area. At his command the people in the local village fed him large amounts of fish. Fed up with feeding the giant so much of its fish, the villagers hid rocks within the fish and gave them to the giant. He grew tired from the large meal, and fell into a deep sleep on the mountain ridge between Wailua and Kapaa.

The blue book describes this hike as moderately challenging. It took us a little more than an hour to climb through the well-maintained switchbacks that lead to a picnic area near the peak. A short hike from the picnic area led to the summit of the sleeping giant. It’s a narrow path with a rather perilous ridge crossing with a straight drop on either side of the rocks. Doolies had no problem crossing over. I abandoned my highly polished walking stick and crawled across the ridge on all fours. I don’t like heights, especially when there’s a stiff breeze or the possibility of a stiff breeze. I described this to Doolies and asked her what her fears were. It took her a while to come up with one. She said she was afraid when falling. I explained to her that’s not really a fear: it’s like being afraid of a bullet after it is shot toward you.

We summated the sleeping giant and documented it in the this photograph.

About halfway up to the summit, there is a small trail that leads to the “mouth” of the giant. It is a small cave-like opening on both ends of the head. Others call it the nose or chin of the giant. We crawled into the cave opening and snapped a few photographs. While it may look like I’m being brave, I’m actually huddled at the center of the cave, afraid to move toward either end for fear of the stiff breeze.

After we finished the trek down (which was much easier than the hike up), we went to a delicious Mexican restaurant before returning to the hotel for much napping. The hike exhausted us, and we slept and read until nighttime. We ate at the hotel, and played a game of chess before heading back to the room to write up this report. This was Doolies’s first chess game and she played quite well. I eventually managed to kill off all of her pieces, leaving her with just her king and two immobile pawns. She refused to resign, and we played out the endgame. I somehow managed to stalemate her king while growing greedy with a second queen. I guess she was right to wait me out.

I’m still tired from the hike and the bed calls me. We only have two more days in Hawaii before heading home. I’m not sure I’m ready for that.