Wailua Headwaters (Blue Hole)

by kenji SAITO on February 18, 2017

Hiking Blue Hole

I was invited to an outer island hike organized by Scott and guided by Rito, that was attended by a total of 11 fellow hikers.

The locals

The locals

We flew into Lihue and met up with the others in our party, collected our rental jeeps and drove to the local Foodland to gather our food and drinks for the day.

Keahua Stream

Keahua Stream

Our jeeps still in 2WD, we came across a new bridge being built near Keahua Arboretum. Stopped in our tracks, talks of the hike ending prematurely floated around until Rito spoke to the workers who soon let us pass.

Jeep road

Jeep road

The primeval forest shading us on our bumpy ride to the trailhead.

Jeep road

Jeep road

Splish, splash, the jeeps were taking a bath. Mud bath. Photo by Theresa Youn.

Jeep road

Jeep road

Welcome to Jurassic World. All that was missing was the sign. Fill in with your imagination. 4WD country from this point. A rough ride was in store for us. Much to Rito’s delight.

Trailhead

Trailhead

Group photo at the trailhead, with the summit of Mount Waialeale soaring 5,148′ in the background, left to right: Madelene, Amanda, Rito, Wendy, Marcus, Brian, Will, Scott, myself, Theresa, George and Matt.

Weir

Weir

Radio check. Let’s follow the ribbons. Oh wait, there are no ribbons. Let’s follow Rito instead.

Strawberry guava trees

Strawberry guava trees

Out of season. No trail snacks for us today.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

Matt relaxing in the stream. All he needed to do was fart and he would have his own personal jacuzzi. Photo by Brian Connors.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

Taking the side trail to the left …

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

… switching to the side trail on the right. Back and forth. Theme of the day.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

Rito leading the way. Photo by Brian Connors.

Hiker in the mud

Hiker in the mud

“Help. I’m stuck in the mud and can’t get out.” When a plant won’t do, Will’s helping hand will do.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

Looking back as we traveled deeper into the valley and leaving civilization far behind.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

The group approaching Guardian Falls. Photo by Amanda Knauf.

Guardian Falls

Guardian Falls

Matt took the cold plunge and swam to the base of the three waterfalls. Three?

Waterfalls

Waterfalls

The third waterfall off to the side. Photo by Amanda Knauf.

Guardian Falls

Guardian Falls

We soon contoured to get above the falls and picked up the trail again.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

The tabi footed group rock hopping along the stream.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

Will and Amanda passing one of many side streams spilling into the main stream.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

Looking back at Matt as the canyon walls seemed to contract closer behind him, seemingly further isolating us from the outside world.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

Waterfalls in the distance. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

We soon gained higher ground as we left the gurgling stream below us.

Waterfalls

Waterfalls

Waterfalls were seemingly sweating out of the pores of the mountains. Lack of rain prevented us from seeing the full waterworks effect.

Wailua Stream

Wailua Stream

We will be back.

Gate

Gate

Marcus passing through our one and only gate.

Trail

Trail

As we crested the hill, our destination popped into sight.

Trail

Trail

We have company. Helicopters brought aerial gawkers at regular intervals. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Trail

Trail

The group making their way down the eroded trail.

Trail

Trail

Panoramic photo by Will Braitsch.

Trail

Trail

Closing the distance to the inner gorge. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Weeping Wall

Weeping Wall

The group getting up close and personal to the wrap around cliff that is fed by springs and water draining from the summit.

Wailua Headwaters

Wailua Headwaters

Far group photo. Can you see us?

Wailua Headwaters

Wailua Headwaters

Close group photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Blue Hole

Blue Hole

Playing misty for myself. I failed to look up to see the “blue hole” effect.

Wailua Headwaters

Wailua Headwaters

Panoramic view of probably one of the oldest rocks in the islands by Matt Vidaurri.

Trail

Trail

We took our leave of the wall of cascading water and started to stream out of the gorge.

Trail

Trail

The helicopters continued to descend with the clouds in tandem.

Ohia Lehua

Ohia Lehua

Perhaps we should have plucked one of these red flowers as we were looking for a shower, but not a storm.

Water park

Water park

We are back. Jumping, sliding and splashing. Some of us. The rest of us were content to stay dry and dirty.

Trail

Trail

Making our way out of the gorge.

Rock cairn

Rock cairn

Tip or not to tip? Where is the caveman when you need him?

Trail

Trail

Cramps and mustard do not mix well with George.

Guardian Falls

Guardian Falls

Scott refreshing himself under the cold, flowing falls.

Trail

Trail

The group heading back down the stream.

Trail

Trail

Theresa using momentum to avoid getting bogged down in the mud.

Trail

Trail

Rock hopping across the stream.

Trail

Trail

Leaving the bamboo forest behind us.

Trail

Trail

Washing our muddy bottoms, shoes and spikes at the weir.

Trail

Trail

We returned to our jeeps and cracked open ice filled coolers to gather our beverage of choice to slake our collective thirst. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Trail

Trail

Blue 1, 2 and 3 going over the rutted road and returning us to civilization. Photo by Matt Vidaurri.

Post hike meal

Post hike meal

Post hike meal was originally supposed to be at the iconic Hamura Saimin. Standing room only. So we moved next door to Lihue Barbecue Inn. Hmmm. No barbecue items on the menu. Oxtail soup it is. Some of us sampled the Wailua water collected by Matt while we waited for our food in the bustling restaurant. Fun day spent with old and new friends. It was also another kind of day. Happy Birthday Amanda.

Note: I have been made aware the some hikers have been using my blog as a hiking guide and getting lost on the trails. Please note that this blog was made to document the hike for the crew(s) that did it. That is why some of my comments will seem to have no relevance or meaning to anybody outside of the crew(s) that hiked that trail. My blog was never meant as a hiking guide, so please do not treat it as such. If you find inspiration and entertainment from these hikes, that is more than enough. If you plan on replicating these hikes, do so in the knowledge that you should do your own research accordingly as trail conditions, access, legalities and so forth are constantly in flux. What was current today is most likely yesterdays news. Please be prepared to accept any risks and responsibilities on your own as you should know your own limitations, experience and abilities before you even set foot on a trail, as even the “simplest” or “easiest” of trails can present potential pitfalls for even the most “experienced” hikers.

Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Hunter April 5, 2017 at 6:24 pm

A great read once again. I love reading your hiking blog. Keep it up sir. The weeping wall is sure gorgeous!

Reply

kenji SAITO April 6, 2017 at 10:08 am

Aloha Hunter,
Thanks. Yup that was definitely a place to be experienced and enjoyed!
Mahalo

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