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Waialeale - Kawaikini (Kauai, Hawaii)
Timestamp Free: 2018.02.19 - 22:44:48

  (3 days)
Participants: Peter + Silke Gumplinger
Difficulty: 3: Basic hiking, some route finding.
A hike to the wettest place on earth
This is our first vacation to the Tropics. Our destination is Kauai, the Garden Island, and its famous Na Pali Coast Trail is our prime objective. But we have more time available and so Silke researches other trails of which there are many on Kauai especially in Kokee State Park around Waimea Canyon (the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific"). She comes across the warning: "There is no trail to Wai'ale'ale - don't even consider it - experienced hikers have disappeared into the swamp never to be seen again". This advice, of course, peeks her curiosity and soon she finds online resources dedicated to the adventure of reaching the highest point on Kauai and what has the dubious reputation of being the wettest spot on earth.

Thanks to Bob Burd (Waialeale.org) and Don Nelson (COHP) there is good beta available and a chronology of recent sorties. Six years ago a 'Gang of Four' from the County High Pointers (COHP - http://www.cohp.org) took five days to reach Kawaikini, the actual summit of the Wai'ale'ale massif, and return. It took them 8 hours alone to forge and tag a mile-long section they ended up calling "Purgatory" (http://www.cohp.org/hi/hawaii.xml). Armed with this information, Bob Burd succeeded on his second attempt to reach the summit in a single day, hiking about as much in the dark as during daylight. We also learn from a forum post that all has likely changed in late 2011 with the completion of a fence by the Kauai Watershed Alliance. Pink ribbons had been sited in preparation for a new fence that is going to run the entire distance across the drainage boundary. Were such a fence to be constructed, it would certainly reduce the hardest portions of the route-finding to a triviality. The fence is meant to keep feral pigs out of the most fragile areas of the remote...

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