Pihea Trail

Pihea Trail

Owing to yesterday’s Hanakapi’ai Falls hike, waking up this morning was incredibly hard. Is this another sign of aging, where we can’t do back to back 8-mile hikes anymore?

Since we only have 2 more days of hiking on the island, I decided to push the agenda. I have 5 trails on my hike list. All 5 located in the Waimea and Koke’e State Parks. However, I really didn’t nail down a must do hike. So I was still trying to figure it out on our way there. I needed to take Joe’s ankles into consideration. Too ambitious a hike will spell trouble, and unfortunately, I only know ambitious hikes. So I opted for the least strenuous hike with the option of turning around early without missing much, i.e., a dramatic view or towering waterfalls. Pihea trail it was. It leads to a swamp often enshrouded in fog. Nothing to see there.

On the way to the trailhead, we stopped at a couple of vista points.

First, the Waimea Canyon overlook. This is often called “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. Having been to THE Grand Canyon, I can only reiterate what Eleanor Roosevelt had said when she saw the more impressive Iguazu Falls, “My poor Niagra!” In this case it would be, “My poor Waimea!”
View of the Kalalau valley, where the Kalalau trail ends.

Finally, we reached the Pihea trailhead at the end of the Koke’e road.

Already enshrouded in fog at the start
The ground isn’t covered by red rocks like in the Southwest. It’s dirt, and it’s a trail to avoid when wet. It gets muddy and slick! Luckily for us, the path was dry.
I don’t think I’ve ever hiked on a trail flanked by ferns. This was unexpectedly enjoyable for me.
Without rocks or stones to aid in footing, this path had indents (carved out by hikers over time) in the ground as footholds.
In other areas, the park laid down planks over muddy patches.
Trail started to get more interesting shortly before the mile mark.
Yes, this is the trail. No ropes, handles, or even roots to help you up. On dry ground, you just need strategic foot placement. On wet ground, micro spikes and luck.
Unexpectedly, we ran into this shortly after a mile. Apparently, the bee keepers closed the trail as they were doing work on the beehives.

This was actually a blessing in disguise, as we were both tired from the previous day’s hike and were in no shape to do a full 7-mile hike. So we happily turned around.

Going back down the treacherous trail
Trying to navigate around root systems
Looks like an opening scene to a Stephen King movie. Love it!

This is one of those hikes that’s not so much about the destination, but more about the journey. For a baby hike of 2-miles round trip, it was packed with unexpected scenery and interesting terrain. Not a bad hike at all, not bad at all.

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