More of the North Shore
We went back to the Princeville area this morning to go on a tour of a taro farm and rice mill. We got there early, so we went back to the Hanalei pier for another view with the sun in a different position. Since it was early, there weren’t any people on the beach–but there was a coconut. It must have gotten washed up from the storm the previous day.
In Hanalei, we took a tour of the Hanalei Taro Farm and the Haraguchi Rice Mill. Our main tour guide was Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama, a fifth-generation family member and operator of the family farm. She gained a lot of experience working on the farm as she grew up there. She talked to us about how taro was grown and some of the problems they had to overcome on the farm. The two biggest problems were flooding (which they experience a few months after we left) and parasites.
After the taro tour, our next stop was Queen's Bath. Queen’s Bath is a unique tide pool on Kauai. The parking area at the trailhead is in a residential area and only big enough for a half-dozen cars or so. We were there to scout the area and see if it was as good a place for a sunset as Dan had read about. While the swimming area is accessible via a short trail, the descriptions I had read said nothing of a 100-foot descent and a slippery, muddy affair over rocks and tree roots with few things on which to hold. One slip and you’d be covered in mud or off the trail into a gulley. We managed to get down the trail and found our way to the bath. Roughly the size of a large swimming pool, the Queen's Bath is a natural tide pool with some fish. Water spills over the lava rocks to refresh the pool.
More interesting than the bath were other inlets where rushing water from waves would come into the inlet, fill it up, and then get released before the next wave came in. Obviously, if you weren’t careful and got too close to the edge, it could easily spell the end of a nice vacation.
Surprisingly, we didn’t see any warning signs until we were about to head back up the slippery slope. Then we came upon a carved wooden sign warning of the dangers and ticking off the number of drownings that had occurred at Queen’s Bath. We decided as nice as the area was, it would be too dangerous to try to get back up the path after sunset.
After Queen’s Bath, we drove east and then south to the Keahua Arboretum in search of Rainbow Eucalyptus trees, which have bright, multi-colored bark. The trunk periodically sheds a strip of bark, revealing a green layer underneath. This layer then changes color. The shedding and color change happen at different times in different parts of the trunk. It’s possible to see green, red, blue, purple, and orange.
After strolling through the trees, we left the parking area and drove to the trailhead of the Kuilau Ridge Trail, which we passed on our way into the arboretum. Originally constructed as a road to combat a fire in the area (and still shown as a road on some maps), the Kuilau Ridge Trail is wide and supposedly well-maintained, but it was quite muddy. We hiked about two miles on the trail with nice views of a valley and another ridge to the west.
Next, our "last" day in Hawaii...
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