I was waiting patiently for our trip to the canyon which was one of my many highlights in Hawaii. I have to say it was tricky to know whether we will see anything up there, the thick cloud seemed to be stubbornly sitting above the canyon all the time, but not trying to drive up there would have been a very regretful move.
On our first attempt we were just like those tourists, who climbed to the very top, saw a thick fog, had hearty breakfast and drove back.
However, we still managed to see the beautiful Kalalau Valley on the Na Pali Coast which instantly made me miss the North Shore of Kaua’i.
Even though I was a bit, OK, lets be honest, very disappointed with the views, or very few views, we still had a hell of a 19 mile drive. And it was still amazing just being there.
The most valuable thing we learnt while exploring the canyon is that you have to be patient. You can’t rush nature, it will show you what it wants to show you and when it wants to show you. If you are not patient, you won’t see anything, like many tourists (including us) at the top of the canyon lookout.
Later in our travels, this lesson helped us to see many beautiful things that seemed invisible at first glance.
I was desperate to go back to the canyon and we had another, much clearer scenic and hopeful drive.
There are two roads to get to the canyon, Koke’e Road and Waimea Canyon Drive. We took the latter,which passes canyon lookouts. The views are spectacular!
It was still foggy, but this time we waited. We were patient and soon enough the fog started shifting revealing the magnificent canyon.
As we drove higher, I was literally running to the lookout points fearing the fog will cover them again. When I finally looked into the canyon, I stood there speechless and I believe, my jaw dropped. I remember feeling so happy that even if a thick fog came over again, it couldn’t have spoiled my mood. To me it was a dream come true. The Waipo’o Waterfall in the distance was a great hiking target and sitting just at the top of it was more than breathtaking.
If you want to experience the thrill, you have to go hiking down into the canyon. There are lots of different trails, but rain creates hazardous conditions and they aren’t for the faint-hearted for sure, but that’s the best way to explore the canyon. So grab a stick or two, make sure you have your hiking boots on and enjoy the red dirt trails.
We started our hike with a relatively easy Cliff Trail (o.1 mile) and continued down the semi steep, 1.8 mile Canyon Trail which promised rewarding views. It’s a slightly challenging trail, mostly because it’s wet and slippery and some might find it quite harrowing, but with a stick and proper walking boots it’s manageable. The views make it all worthwhile.
AS we were approaching the end of the trail, we could hear Waipo’o Falls in the distance and people we met on the way, encouraged us to keep going. Sitting at the top of the waterfall (and trying not to slip) was indeed very rewarding.
On the way back, it stared raining and the white fog covered the canyon. We considered ourselves very lucky to have hiked down just at the right time. Just a few minutes can make a massive different to the visibility.