Potholed Roads

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We started the day on the East Shore with the Jungle Hike off Kuamo’o Road. There were two parts to this hike: the first was getting there. Similar to the hike yesterday, a dirt road led to the trailhead. With the winter rains, the road was barely passable. Our not-so-fancy Jeep managed the potholes and mud rather well. There’s a photograph below showing what the road looks like. Each one of the potholes was anywhere from a few inches to a foot deep. The Jeep felt like one of those rides in Disneyland, where the car shakes incessantly but stays in place. I felt a bit seasick from the ride.

At the end of the road, we arrived at the trailhead that led to the Jungle Hike. We walked through a mixture of rain showers and sun. Our hats kept most of the rain out of face, and we scavenged walking sticks at the start of the hike to more easily traverse the muddy roads. The hike itself led along a ridge and up a nice if slippery hill where it ended at a man made waterfall. We have many wonderful photos. During the summer, there’s a large drainpipe that hikers can use to cut through the hill instead of climbing over it. The drainpipe lets out at the top of the waterfalls. During the summer, there is a few inches of water in the pipe. When we stuck our walking sticks into the path leading to the pipe, we found a good couple of feet of water.

Parts of the Jurassic Park movie were filmed at this location. We saw three Movie Tour vans that took tourists up and over the very bumpy road leading to the path. We don’t think they hiked the muddy and dangerous path (like the majority of tourists on Kauai, the Movie Tour tourists were older), and instead likely hiked along the main road to a few side hikes that overlooked the hilly surroundings where they shot parts of the movie.

After finishing the hike and the bumpy ride back in the late afternoon, we headed north. We stopped at yet another hamburger joint (our third of the trip), and shared Boca and garden burgers, and a order of fries—what’s turning out to be our normal lunchtime fare. We drove for a while and arrived at Queen’s Bath in Princeville. Princeville is a recently constructed Golf community. The entrance has a large marble fountain that leads to the golf course. There are many timeshares, condos, and houses along the road.

Finding the trailhead was a bit difficult. The street where we had to turn was not labeled (there was a sign for the road coming from the other direction. We saw it after making a U-turn—guests of the Princeville Hotel, which is at the far end of the main road we followed, would have no trouble finding the trailhead). The parking area was full of cars and we pulled our not-so-fancy Jeep in the last empty spot. The blue book mentioned that before they listed this trail, it did not receive much traffic. Since everyone we spoke with agreed that the blue book was the guidebook to get, it seems all the trails listed will soon be overrun.

We grabbed our bag and headed down the muddy and slippery path that led to Queen’s Bath. It was a short if treacherous hike down to the rocks. Once there, we ran into the first of many people on the path. An older gentleman with a cane greeted us, and told us that he visits often in the winter, and this was the first time he was here that the path leading to the Bath was open. Usually it was covered in seawater.

We took that as a good sign and continued to head over wet rocks. The ocean hammered outcroppings of holey rocks as we made our way further out, where the gentleman had told us we would find the Bath. We passed a few more people heading back, and after a bit of scrambling made it to the Bath. A family had just climbed out of the Bath, which turned out to be an elliptical area that was partly enclosed by rocks. The water in the Bath was calm when we arrived, but after a few minutes, a huge wave broke over and across the rocks sheltering the Bath and the frothy white water streamed into the otherwise calm water. I had already decided I would not climb down and swim in the ocean water. The water outside the Bath looked treacherous and the clouds had rolled in and ocean water is scary: it’s salty and there are riptides that lead to the deeper parts, and unlike my last trip, there may not be dolphins to save me if something went wrong.

I didn’t enjoy this hike as much as our morning hike. I like it when we don’t run into many people. In the morning, except for the trailhead and a few stragglers leaving while we were entering, we didn’t see any people. Doolies, who is doing a wonderful job planning our days, decided to take that into account for the remaining days. She immediately thumbed the index of the blue book looking for secret hikes and waterfalls. She found one. We’re going to try it tomorrow.

Finally, we stopped at the Opaeka’a Falls Lookout and snapped a few photographs. This is another one of those side-of-the-road stops, where there’s a small parking area off the side of one of the main roads. There are only a few main arteries through Kauai, mostly having one or two lanes. Doolies has managed to navigate with only the blue book as our guide.

We went to a local Sushi restaurant for dinner tonight. We have not left the hotel area for dinner since we arrived. While we planned to explore restaurants away from the hotel, we end up doing so much driving during the day (today we drove for almost two hours, all told) that the last thing I wasn’t to do is get behind the wheel of the not-so-fancy Jeep for another drive.

 Kauai, Hawaii | , ,