Hiking the Awa’awapuhi Trail in Kauai 4K


Lovingly referred to as the “garden
island,” Kauai is the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands and a far cry from the
hustle and bustle visitors often experience on islands like Oahu. Kauai
is for nature lovers, hikers, explorers, and those who simply want to enjoy the
volcanic landscape of the Pacific islands. Our exploration led us up the western coast to the Awa’awapuhi trailhead — a notoriously difficult six
mile, round trip hike promising stunning views of the Na Pali coastline. Now, there
are a couple of warnings about this trail, but none were more blunt than the
self-guided tour app we were using to navigate the island. [Shaka Guide App] In a couple of
minutes you’ll see a parking lot to your left. That’s the trailhead for a very treacherous trail called “Awa’awapuhi”
and I don’t recommend taking it unless your life insurance policy is up to date. Despite the not-so-gentle advisory, I had done a ton of research leading up to the trip and knew what was in store. And so begins our adventure. All right, let’s get started. A few basics you should know about this trail: the first being that it
is 1,000% worth it. The trail itself is very well maintained and seemingly well
traveled. Despite all of this, though, the trail is tough and I’d even warn
against it if it’s recently rained or if you’ve decided to ignore all
recommendations for footwear… [Keith] I probably should have gotten hiking boots, huh? [Keith] Something with a little grip on it. We timed our hike for a very sunny clear day, but the conditions were still slick from rain two days prior. [Ashley] Oh, ****. [Keith] We’ve got some muck here. [Keith] A little slip. [Ashley] I was standing still. It is also important to note that the first three miles of the hike are entirely downhill, while the last three are climbing right back up. [Ashley] The face of the climb. Disclaimers aside, I have never experienced a trail quite as beautiful as this one. Mostly shaded we found ourselves weaving in and out of a wide array of plant life and even stumbled upon a guava tree. [Keith] Fresh. There they are. [Keith] Just squeeze it. [Ashley] Oh my god. That’s delicious. [Keith] This one looks good. That looks good here. [Keith] Mmm. Look at that. So good. It was a perfect refreshment along the way and also a point at which we gained some confidence
navigating the trail. [Ashley] Doing okay back there? [Keith] Yeah. [Keith] The roots are actually good to balance on if you can use them as steps. As the landscape changed with every step, our anticipation grew for what was to come. [Keith] This is a very thin trail. There’s cliffs on either side. [Keith] It’s getting a little thin up here. And then three miles into our adventure, we arrived at the Na Pali coastline. [Keith] We’re going to attempt to go down there. [Keith] Nice. That is really steep. The view was captivating and the memory is one I won’t soon forget. [Keith] Three miles. We did it. If you do your research and prep accordingly, the Awa’awapuhi trail
is an incredibly rewarding challenge and a hiking experience of a lifetime.

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