Blue Hole Additions and Corrections
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|This road was recently improved. We drove it in August of 2003 in a Dodge Neon without any problems. It was still a bit rough for the last couple of miles but it was obvious that they were still planning on improving that section as well.|
|Posted Oct 16, 2003 11:48 am|
|Above the falls, the boulders seemed to double in size and the terrain got steeper. This, of course, meant more waterfalls to climb around. One trail around a waterfall was a 12 inch wide shelf with a steep drop-off on one side down to the river 30 feet below. |
As we pushed deeper into the crater, the 5000 ft. vibrant green moss covered walls closed in on all side. As expected, it rained on us off and on most the day. Waterfalls dropped from the top of the crater in every direction. Other less ambitious people wanted to share the fruits of our toil. My wife counted 65 helicopters that buzzed overhead during our 12 ½ hour slog. As we marched further, it was apparent no one had been as far into the crater as we were in a long time. Not including the helicopters, we never saw a single person on the entire hike. The rare pink ribbon marking the route was our only reminder of prior explorers.
At around 2 pm, our hopes of reaching the Blue Hole faded. Time was the enemy. As we reached the end of the caldera, seven hours into the hike, we realized that to have any chance of getting out before dark, we had to retreat immediately. So on the spine of a steep ridge covered in waist high bushes and ferns (see photos which I posted), I snapped a few photos of one of the most incredible places in the world and we headed back.
On the way out, we somehow lost the route and ended up bushwhacking up a steep slope covered in nasty vegetation that was tall, thick, and sharp. The skin on our legs, arms, and hands was slashed and cut. We traveled at a snail’s pace. The bush was so thick it got dark inside. On one occasion, either out of necessity or frustration, I launch my body forward just to get through. We fell to the muddy ground time and time again. Eventually we battled our way back down to the river. After sunset, navigation became more difficult. Another dark and anxious hour passed before we emerged from the jungle. I’ve never been so happy to see a rental car before.
During our journey that day, we got lost more times than I can count. Everything we brought got completely soaked. Our bodies were cut, bruised, battered and we were filthy, hungry, and exhausted. It was one of the best days of my life!
|Posted Oct 16, 2003 11:56 am|
|Great story! Hopefully you'll add it as a trip report (click "TRIP REPORTS" link). You can integrate the photos you've submitted and basically add any HTML you like.|
|Posted Oct 16, 2003 3:26 pm|
|Due to the extensive hiking in the rock covered river, Leki (or some other type of hiking sticks) are very helpful.|
|Posted Oct 16, 2003 11:58 am|
|Due to the publication of the first part of this route up to the 2-stream waterfall in the most popular guide to Kauai, the first 2 miles this route are becoming "highly" trafficked. (That term is certainly relative, as Kauai sees a fraction of the tourists of other islands.)|
However, probably because of this influx of comparative amateurs, all flagging that is described in this route has been REMOVED. Consequently, if you want to attempt to get all the way to the back wall, you've got to have killer instinct, a rapid pace, and an early start. The trails are misleading, there is no flagging, and there are more and more people tearing up the hints of trail that do exist in an attempt to reach the crater.
It is MUCH farther than this entry will lead you to believe. And since there is no longer any flagging to guide you to the correct places once you leave the middle stream, the chance of error is extremely high. I recommend planning on a hammock/rain fly bivouac (which is, perhaps, illegal?) if you intend to make it all the way there and back. (There is no place clear enough for a tent back in there.)
Condition of the road in May 2009 was very poor...high clearance required beyond the T-junction 2 miles past the Arboretum. We had very dry conditions for 3 day preceding our trip, but the road had massive potholes and deep mud.
|Posted May 7, 2009 12:11 am|
|Let me just say before I get into the meat of this post: the things I am about to share with you are going to sound VERY hypocritical, being that I have done this hike. And it was everything people have been describing it as: extremely challenging (at times flat out scary), very long, wet, treacherous, winding, etc. And when you get to the base of Mt. Waialeale, yes - itʻs extremely beautiful & breath-taking. |
However, one thing that hasn't been conveyed thus far in this thread (and something that was shared with me after I told my friend - a lifetime resident of Kauaʻi, cultural practitioner, and native Hawaiian herself - about the hike) is this: the "Blue Hole" hike is taking you to one of THE most sacred places on the island of Kauaʻi. All fresh water on Kauaʻi originates from Mt. Waialeale - making its way down streams or seeping through rocks until it is funneled into Kauaiʻs freshwater streams and rivers, and is eventually pumped into farms, houses, and kitchen faucets. "Wai" (water) has traditionally been understood by native Hawaiians to be extremely holy in-and-of itself - the source of life for all living things. This hike up to Mt. Waialealeʻs base is taking you to THEE freshwater source for all living things on the island of Kauaʻi.
So you can see why from a native Hawaiianʻs perspective, the hundreds of (for lack of a better word) ignorant foreigners and tourists who stomp their sweaty, muddy boots up to the base of Mt. Waialeale each year just to take photos to blast on Instagram & Facebook; just to say theyʻve "been there;" is considered extremely disrespectful. And infuriating. (Maybe a more relatable scenario for some of us would be a group of foreigners loudly entering a church, forgetting to make the sign of the cross or dipping their hands in holy water before entering; smoking & drinking in the church pews; taking selfies while sitting on the altar, etc.) People go up to Mt. Waialeale base with no reverence or appreciation for the significance of this site, other than "itʻs pretty" and family & friends back home will be so jealous that they were there.
While this type of thing happens most blatantly & disrespectfully on the "Blue Hole" hike, itʻs happening on a wider scale at cultural sites & landmarks all across the island of Kauaʻi. (And on the Hawaiian islands as a whole). Many of the beaches, hikes, waterfalls, lookouts, valleys, etc. that are detailed in the Ultimate Kauaʻi Guidebook and other travel books or blogs have similar cultural & spiritual significance to Hawaiians. Yet, the book and other travel guide resources (from my knowledge) do little to appreciate or inform its users on a placeʻs history, cultural importance, and reverence. (Which, by the way, is the reason that the Ultimate Kauai Guidebook is one of the most HATED travel books published because it divulges exactly how to get to many of Kauaiʻs most sacred sites - exposing them to the misuse & disrespect of thousands of ignorant foreigners and tourists).
With this in mind, I would (again - very hypocritically) encourage everyone still considering doing this hike to read up on the history and significance of Mt. Waialeale BEFORE embarking on the hike. If you still feel inspired to go, consider ways that you might be able to give back or pay respect while up there. Pull some invasive weeds, pick up trash on the way up, set a personal intension before you set out, etc. Approach the hike with the same reverence, mindfulness, intent, and respect as a native Hawaiian would have.
Again, Iʻm sharing all of this not to sound like some self-righteous haole turned Hawaiian cultural expert. Iʻm sharing this because I genuinely want everyone to be fully aware of what theyʻre choosing to embark on in this, and other, Kauaʻi adventures.
|Posted Feb 21, 2017 5:30 pm|