After a day of failed hikes, giving up some skin/blood to the Ku’Kui trail, and crowing roosters, I wanted to hit the next big spot that booth the travel guide and other people I had talked too – the North Shore.
I was in for another disappointment.
Ke’e Beach on the northern part of the Island, essentially wear the road ends and the Na Pali Coast begins, was supposed to be a) a great place to swim and b) a fantastic spot for an awesome sunset shot.
Yet, when I put in the driving instructions into my computer, it showed a significant amount of road closed. Hmm… that was odd. I searched a little more one the web and didn’t really get any answers to WHY it was closed, but it was still closed. That was weird to me. Still, I thought I’d head up to the north shore to check it out. There were some places the travel guide that I wanted to see.
This was a not-unsurprising yet unusual detail about Kauai: the drive from Lihue to just about anyway is a relatively short distance, but it takes much longer. For example, the drive to the north shore was only about 25-30 miles but travel time was more like 45 minutes.
My first stop in the north shore was the Kilauea Lighthouse. The was also a bit of a disappointment. First, there was a line of cars to actually drive down to the lighthouse because there were only so many parking spaces. Second, the overlook that sits up the lighthouse was closed. (I didn’t know why but I would figure it out later.) Third, the sun was hidden behind those pesky clouds that vexed me the day before. Nevertheless, I tried to get a few shots from where I was.
From there, I headed a short distance back to Kilauea to have lunch. I walked around this little area with a few restaurants and shops. Out in front of the Kilauea Bakery and Pizza was this book stand. Essentially, it was loaded with used books. The way it worked was you picked up a book and slipped some money into a box – it benefited a local school program. And funny enough, I found a book that I was interested in reading after to listening to a podcast. Suggested price was $2. I slipped in a ten.
At lunch, I learned from a local and my server that the floods last year pretty much caused havoc on this side of the island. Hence, why the road was closed. and was I couldn’t get to Ke’e Beach. And after I went to my next stop, I learned why the overlook of the lighthouse was closed.
Next stop was Queen’s Bath. This was really odd… at least to me. In the guide book, it was built up as a great tourist spot, but it was located in this odd spot. To get to this spot, I had to drive though what I would describe as a very effluent housing development. I drove down streets that were like a standard housing development with really nice homes. Wait what? I have to drive through this really nice suburban housing development to get to this one spot? I knew when I was close because the NO PARKING signs became more prevalent. Apparently, that’s an issue.
The Queen’s Bath area was gated off with a big chain and padlock. There was also a sign that more or less said, THIS AREA IS CLOSED. But when I parked, threw on my backpack, and saw the sign… Fuck.
But I watched a couple go around the fence and start to go down. Could I do this? Should I do this?
A couple that parked when I did watched me go around the fence.
“You are going down?” the guy asked me.
I replied honestly, “I didn’t fly 8,000 miles not to see this stuff.”
What I learned was the trail was closed because of the north shore flood… the trail down was not good. The short trail down looked and was washed out. Their were small fissures, exposed roots, and uneven walking ground. But also, there was no way anyone could swim in the conditions I saw. When I made my way down, I shot photos and videos. The wind was blowing the sea up against the black rocks. Even the small tide pools that the travel guide book had showed as calm pools of water were violet. I had never given any thought to jumping in them, but standing there, I couldn’t imagine anyone actually consider it.
It was interesting seeing people going up and down the trail. Technically, it was closed and I don’t think some visitors were quite ready for the trail conditions going down to the shore. In other words, people in tennis shoes were slipping in the mud! Yet, I was armed with hiking shoes.
From there, I traveled to Hanalei, about the furthest I could go. I parked and explored shops and walked around. The travel guide book said the Hanalei Pier was also a good place to check out a sunset. Ok, so if I couldn’t make it to the Ke’e Beach for that sunset photo I wanted, then Hanalei Pier.
What’s funny is that their were two other photographer’s out there with there gear. I actually talked to one. I showed him my app I’ve used since taking a photo of the eclipse – Sun Surveyor. It basically told me where the sun where would set from the exact spot on the beach I was.
[Side note: When packing for the trip, I made a decision not to bring my travel tripod. I figured I didn’t need it. Most of the pics I took on my Big Island trip didn’t need a tripod, even though I brought. It was shots like this that I wish I had.]
Long story short, the clouds obscured the sun and there was no sunset shot.
I ate dinner at a local restaurant where they served a piece of meat on this hot sizzling steak – cute – but come on people! Steaks need salt and pepper.