This podcast is 51 minutes long. The first segment contains general Kauaʻi info and some of KHTʻs back story. Skip ahead to 22:45 for specific information about hiking on Kauaʻi. At the 33:30 point youʻll hear my suggestions regarding essential gear to pack for your hike. Enjoy!
Mention in "Escape to Hawaiʻi" article (Islands Magazine)
Islands Magazine - "blurb" & photo
Expedia Local Expert® Hawaii Activity Guides
"Dispatches" - "Kauaʻi: The 10 Very Best Activities" List
Condos in Kauaʻi Travel Blog Post
Hawaiʻi Ecotourism Association Certification - Sustainable Tour Operator
Last, but certainly not least, weʻve become one of only 3 Kauaʻi tour companies to pass Hawaiʻi Ecotourism Association's stringent certification process for becoming a "Certified Sustainable Tour Operator".
Hawai'i Ecotourism Association Mission: To protect Hawaii’s unique natural environment and host culture through the promotion of responsible travel and educational programs relating to sustainable tourism for residents, businesses and visitors.
Hawaii Ecotourism Association Goals:
For more information, please visit: http://www.hawaiiecotourism.org/
Click here the check out Kauaʻi Hiking Tours latest YouTube video put together by KHT guide Andrew Denny, with original music by Kauaʻiʻiki: Nā Pali Coast Cliff Top Hike Summer 2016
This video was shot several years ago while hiking with friends on Kauaʻi. We are on a ridge above the Nāpali Coast with a good view of the island on Niʻihau. The view reminded me of a Hawaiian Legend which makes mention of a mystical land located at the bottom of the sea, between where we were currently standing and the island of Niʻihau. My memory of where I had read or heard the story was fuzzy, as were many of the details.
I did my best to locate the source from which the story came with no luck. Instead I found multiple myths & legends containing components of the story I am telling. It's possible that I combined multiple tales into my own conglomerate version. More important than specifics (in my opinion), are the general concepts related from a good tale - and the subsequent thoughts, feelings, and universal "life lessons" they inspire. A crucial component in many storytelling traditions includes space for filtering the story through one's own memory & perception. It’s worth noting that this seems to be an acceptable aspect of the Hawaiian storytelling tradition as well. That said, I apologize in advance for any gross inaccuracies.
Clarification on some Points:
The meanings of Pō, po-, and pō-:
Initial results yielded a literal translation of simply “night”. Digging deeper, I found references to “the darkness”, “night/period of the gods”, and “the chaos of formless creation”.
Going deeper still, I found the many poetic definitions of pō listed below - used a stand-alone word or as a prefix (po- or pō-) in the many Hawaiian words flavored by it’s meaning. Once again I am blown away the meaning and poetry contained in Hawaiian words, in this case only 2 letters!
These final references come from the Hawaiian Dictionary contained on the website: www.wehewehe.org:
[on a related side note, here’s the similarly multifaceted poetry of the word wehewehe: 1. vt. To explain. Cf. puke wehewehe ʻōlelo. Wehewehe ʻana, explanation, definition. 2. Redup. of wehe; to unsaddle or unharness, as a horse; to pull growing taro stalks slightly apart so as to strengthen the corm. 3. (Cap.) n. Name of a star (no data).]
Same as pō-. See poale, pohole, pokaʻi, poluhi.
Time of, state of. See below, especially poʻeleʻele, pōhae, pōhihi, pōhina, pōʻino, pōkaʻa, pōkaʻo, pōlena, pōlewa, pōluku, pōmaikaʻi, pōnalo, pōniho, pōniu, pōpilikia, pōule. Also po-.
1. nvs. Night, darkness, obscurity; the realm of the gods; pertaining to or of the gods, chaos, or hell; dark, obscure, benighted; formerly the period of 24 hours beginning with nightfall (the Hawaiian “day” began at nightfall) Fig., ignorance; ignorant. Cf. Halāliʻi, Pōʻakahi, Pōʻalua. Hōʻike a ka pō, revelation from the gods [as in dreams or omens]. Inoa pō, name suggested for a child in a dream. Mai ka pō mai, from the gods; of divine origin. Kāne o ka pō, wahine o ka pō, husband of the night, wife of the night [spirit lover: it was believed that a child born of such a mating might resemble an eel, lizard, shark, or bird, or might have supernatural powers; sometimes death or sickness followed nightly visits]. Nā pō o ka mahina, days [lit., nights] of the month. Pō ʻahia kēia? What day of the week [or month] is this? Pō nui hoʻolakolako, the great night that supplies [the gods revealed their will in revelations and dreams at night]. Pō pouli ʻaʻaki, a night so dark it bites with the teeth. Pō i ka lāʻau, darkened by the tree. Ua pō, it's late (not necessarily night, but usually said if one is in danger of not being home by dark]. Ua hana māua ā pō ka lā, we worked until night; lit., until the day darkened. Ua hana māua ā ao ka pō, we worked until daylight; lit., until the night lighted.
More Information: can be found on the larger umbrella site Ulukau: www.ulukau.org, of which the www.wehewehe.org site is a part of. I highly recommend you check out these two sites, they contain multitudes of traditional Hawaiian knowledge! Click here to search keywords, such as Pō, contained in popular Hawaiian myths & legends.
Nāmāhoe, a Kauaʻi based waʻa (voyaging canoe), is blessed on Kalapaki Bay, Kauaʻi - September 11th, 2016
BREAKING NEWS FROM NPR:
Native Hawaiians Now Have A Pathway To Form A Government
September 23, 20165:59 PM ET MERRIT KENNEDY
The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced that Native Hawaiians can now choose whether to form a unified government, which could eventually enter into formal government-to-government relations with the U.S.
It would be the first time the Native Hawaiian community had their own government since their Kingdom was overthrown in 1893 by merchants and sugar planters.
This is a result of a reconciliation process that has lasted more than 20 years, as Hawaii Public Radio reported, and "the new relationship would be similar to the tribal status of Native American Indian groups."
Any change would come following a referendum, the Interior Department said. Native Hawaiians are under no obligation to form a unified government as a result of the new rule – rather, it's meant to decide on its future "as an exercise of its self-determination."
"If a formal government-to-government is reestablished, it could provide the community with greater flexibility to preserve its distinct culture and traditions," the department added. "It could also enhance their ability to affect its special status under Federal law by exercising powers of self-government over many issues directly impacting community members." Additionally, a Native Hawaiian unified government "could establish courts or other institutions to interpret and enforce its laws."
Many Native Hawaiians welcomed the new rule, like Annelle Amaral, the president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs. "What it allows us to do is to finally have control over our sacred sites, over health care for our people, over the education of our children," Amaral told the member station. "Instead of waiting for someone else to do something about our problems, with our own government we can begin to initiate change."
Additionally, "Native Hawaiians have been the only major indigenous group in the 50 states without a process for establishing a government-to-government relationship with the federal government. This rule finally remedies this injustice," the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairperson Robert K. Lindsey said, according to Hawaii Public Radio.
The new rule does not "authorize or in any way contemplate compensation for any past wrongs," the department said. Hawaii Public Radio spoke to an activist named Bumpy Kanahele who opposed the announcement: he said "the involvement of the federal government is not welcome. And stands in the way of a return to an independent, sovereign Hawaiian nation."
The new pathway to federal recognition comes after another major federal decision regarding Hawaii earlier this month. As we reported, President Obama quadrupled the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, off the coast of his home state. In the announcement, the White House said that "Native Hawaiian culture considers the Monument and the adjacent area a sacred place."
Currently on Kaua'i? Make plans to witness this historic cultural event tomorrow, September 11th, in Lihue: Birthing of Namahoe (click link to read article).
"After more than 20 years of construction, Namahoe, Kauai’s sailing canoe, will be born on Sept. 11, with a schedule of day-long activities and entertainment from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the walkway fronting the Kauai Marriott Resort and Beach Club. Parking will be available at the Nawiliwili Beach Park. Pending ocean conditions, a formal ceremony marking the birth of Kauai’s own voyaging canoe, Namahoe, is scheduled." (around 11 am)
My friends and I plan to paddle out on surfboards for the launch, if you're "on island" this event is not to be missed, see you there!
Andrew Denny, Guide & Guest Relations Manager for Kaua'i Hiking Tours, is hosting a Hanapēpē Plant & Seed Exchange in Old Hanapēpē Town today. Approximately 90% of the food eaten on Kaua'i is shipped in from off island. Please make it out to support this fun community event that is helping to make Kaua'i more food independent!
Click the following link to learn more about the event, and interesting facts about the island of Kaua'i and it's people: Andrew's radio interview on KKCR's In The Garden On The Farm show last Wednesday (Select In The Garden On the Farm - Wednesday, September 7th, 12pm)
"Kaua'i: What's Blooming On The Garden Isle"
Kauai Visitors Bureau took a press trip to Washington DC & NYC where they met with representatives of the nation’s top publications, including Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, AFAR, The Washington Post, Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides and USA Today. At the meetings they presented information on Kauai - including the information about Kaua'i Hiking Tours shared in the following "Kaua'i: What's Blooming On The Garden Isle" news release:
"On The Air" nationwide in New Zealand - Clickable Link & tour description below
Click link to hear the nationwide New Zealand Radio Live broadcast from New Zealand TV & radio personality Annabelle White, whom I took hiking in Koke'e & Waimea Canyon State Park(s) this Spring - the part about our adventure starts at 0:00, 1:45 and again @ 7:00, fun accents to boot! :)
More about our Waimea Canyon Tour in New Zealand Women's Weekly (last two paragraphs)
Mention in About.com's Hawaii Travel section:
"Brand USA" in Koke'e & Waimea Canyon State Park(s) - I guided them on a video shoot they were doing for the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The multi-island shoot showcased something different on every island - on Kaua'i it was "The Great Outdoors". It was a pleasure to work with such a skilled & professional team, and do my part to help promote responsible Hawaiian Islands' tourism.
Look for a write up & two of our hiking photos to be published in the September issue of Islands Magazine!
Dress for success 101: Layering & The 3 W's
The Hawaiian Islands boast 10 of the world’s 14 climate zones! Weather patterns are localized and quickly changing. The system of dressing described below, known as “layering”, will help keep you safe and comfortable on your next hike.
The core principles of layering apply to activities in all outdoor climates, as mentioned in my last blog post How To Master Outdoor Layers (this post is geared more towards the colder climates you may be visiting from). Our bodies are happiest when warm & dry. Weather and subpar trail conditions can challenge this "happy place" in a variety of ways, layering is our best defense.
The idea behind layering is to have maximum versatility to maintain an optimal body temperature despite what the weather is dishing out. As long as you have a small day pack, you can put on and take of these layers according to changes in the weather combined with changes in your level of activity (which will produce heat and sweat).
The easiest way to explain layering is the classic, "The Three W's" - Wicking, Warmth, Weather - or, as I like to say, "3 W's Squared": Wicking, Warmth, Weather x (Wind & Water).
Finally, a dressing situation where function trumps fashion, how refreshing!
The "Wicking Layer" is your first line of defense, choose a material such as silk or Capilene that is designed to pull moisture away from your skin, and dry quickly. When it's really hot out this may be the only layer you need. In this case the old adage, "cotton kills", does not apply. Having a wet t-shirt may be no big deal, the cooling effects from your sweat will be doing exactly what they were designed to do. You may want to just wear a bathing suit and/or board shorts - something breathable and quick drying. On a side note, excess sweating can also lead to dehydration - so let it breath!
Where sweat becomes an issue is when you are exercising in a cold climate or a warm climate that suddenly drops in temperature. As soon as you stop exercising the excess heat your body has created will begin to quickly dissipate. For this reason, you will want to wear as little as possible while exercising and have a warmth and/or weather layer to throw on shortly after stopping to take a break. Things get tricky when exercising hard in inclement weather. In colder climates a thin wicking layer with a thin weather layer should work great. In warmer climates like Kauaʻi, on days when it is raining heavily and a bit humid, you will likely get wet no matter what - but hey, you're on Kauaʻi, the sun is never far away and a rainbow is probably just around the corner!
I know what you're thinking - why should I worry about warmth on Kauaʻi? Believe it or not day time temperatures can drop to the low 50's on Kauaʻi. That combined with hard driving rain can be enough to make even the heartiest northerner have a shiver or two. Now I don't mean to scare you, it rarely gets that cold and the localized weather changes often, so it likely won't be too long before the sun shows it's face again! Even so, you'll want to be prepared with at least one insulating warmth layer just in case - chose a lightweight packable material such as fleece or wool that will keep you warm even when wet and dry quickly.
We are often questioned about the warmth layer by folks already "on island" preparing for their hike with us. Something to keep in mind is that many of our hikes are in Kōkeʻe & Waimea Canyon State Park(s) at elevations of over 4,000 feet. The temperature up there is usually 10 - 15 degrees colder up there than on the coast, where all of the hotels are. That, combined with the localized weather, is why we ask our guests to come prepared for anything. For a frame of reference, the three pictures above were taken within a couple hours of each other in the same general areas of Kōkeʻe & Waimea Canyon State Park(s).
Weather (Wind, Rain, and Sun)
The “Weather Layer” is perhaps the most important, choose a material such a Gore-Tex which is wind and water resistant but also somewhat "breathable" (has features such as "pit zips" and a breathable membrane that allow excess heat and moisture from your core to escape). Plastic ponchos will work in a pinch, but keep in mind they are the exact opposite of "breathable" - if you wear them while hiking you may end up more wet from your own sweat than you would've been from the rain. On the other hand, if you are stopped for lunch on a colder wet day a plastic poncho may prove to be the perfect layer.
As far as keeping your bottom half dry, we find that rain pants are not necessary except in the most extreme cases of cold/rain/wind. Much like the poncho, they can lead to excess sweating and be difficult to remove quickly. It's much more important to keep your core (upper body) warm and dry than your legs which is why we recommend boardshorts or similar shorts made from a quick drying material. But by all means, if you have a nice pair of rain pants that zip up at the ankles for easy on & off, bring them along!
Finally, weather can also mean intense sun with temperature in the high 80's - low 90's and no wind (thankfully this is not usually the case on Kauaʻi). You can protect yourself against the sun with a sunhat, sunscreen, and even long sleeve tops and bottoms made from breathable quick dry material. Long sleeves will also help protect you from scratchy brush if we happen to be on a particularly overgrown trail. Yoga pants seem to be all the rage these days - most are made from breathable material and will protect your legs against sun & scrapes..just try not to get too mad if your favorite pair of Lulu Lemon pants get a small rip or forever stained with infamous Kauaʻi Red Dirt (free souvenir)
In most cases breathable low-cut hiking shoes with good tread that dry quick and withstand water is what you're going for. Boots will provide the most support and protection for your feet and ankles. They are especially useful when carrying a heavy pack and/or traveling over jagged, rocky terrain. In most cases we recommend folks wear trail running shoes or plain old sneakers instead of boots. The reason for this is that boots can be heavy, clunky and make it easier to slip & trip on certain trails. This is especially true for trails that are steeply graded.
Kauaʻi soil has a high clay content that can make these trails particularly slippery when very wet, or when very dry (hard pack surface with hard round granules laying loosely - like little marbles - on top). Having a thinner sole allows your feet to feel subtle changes in the surface underfoot and adjust how you step accordingly, to prevent slipping - the human body can be amazing at calculating subtleties like this! If the conditions are particularly challenging, we will provide trekking poles and traction devices that fit over your shoes to help keep you safe.
To Gore-Tex, or not to Gore-Tex?
The downside of Gore-Tex, or "waterproof" shoes & boots is that they are more expensive, aren't very breathable, and usually don't dry as quick as non-gore-tex shoes. There are some exceptions to this rule - Montrail comes to mind - but mostly it will depend on what's available near you and what fits your foot best (best to try on footwear in person, rather than order "blindly" online).
The biggest negative to waterproof shoes on Kauaʻi is that on a really hot day you're feet will likely bake in them, and actually be wet from sweat. That being said, if it's a cool and/or wet day your feet will most likely be happier in them. Since we are usually just doing short day hikes, non-waterproof trail running-style hiking shoe will work best. I look for ones with good tread that fit snugly & securely around my foot. My personal favorite brand of trail running shoe is Hoka One One - this is due to the amazing amount of support and cushioning their shoes provide. My other favorites are Brooks, Montrail, and Inov-8.
Finding the perfect fit
Everyone's feet are shaped a little different. Well known boot and hiking shoe companies are usually known for having a certain "overall fit". For example, some people swear by Merrells, I find they have flimsy "uppers" and are too roomy. Which proves my point that personal preference, foot shapes, along with the fit configurations of the various shoe brands, vary greatly. The best thing to do is try on a bunch of different pairs and see how they feel as best as you can in the store - imagine them on steep uneven terrain (REI stores have a great artificial rock ramp for practicing this). REI is also a great place to purchase the other layers mentioned in this post. Their staff are generally knowledgeable and willing to help. Happy shopping!
Keen on Keens?
People often ask us if it's ok to wear "Keen style" shoes on their hike. Keen makes many styles of hiking shoes, the most popular being styles that are a combo hiking shoe/sandal with openings on the sides. While this certainly makes them more breathable, the holes leave your feet more vulnerable to injury. Another drawback to the openings is that on steep, muddy trails your foot is likely to slip & slide inside your footwear, especially when going up or down steep grades (visualize muddy feet slipping around inside a waterlogged loose shoe). If your hike is on a less steep trail, your keens are securely fitting and have good traction, and/or it's a dry day - you should be fine :) Another consideration is that sharp sticks, rocks, or pieces of uluhe fern stem can potentially gouge your foot through openings in the shoe on more overgrown trails.
© 2016 Outside Adventures LLC dba Kauaʻi Hiking Tours. All Rights Reserved.
Jeremiah has been guiding for nearly 20 years throughout much of the United States and internationally. Originally from Silver Spring, MD , he has been enjoying island life for the past 15 years. He is the founder and lead guide for Kauai Hiking Tours.