Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kauai Waterfalls

Since Kauai is so rugged and inaccessible, I decided to shell out the money to pay for a helicopter tour.  I am so glad I did.  The pilot was awesome and the scenery was something special.  I very much gained an appreciation for the way that the island formed.  Unlike most of the other large Hawaiian islands, Kauai developed from a single volcano.  Thus, the island is quite round.  During the tour we basically flew around most of the island, other than the extreme western section since we turned inland and flew through Waimea Canyon on the way to Napoli Coast.

As I left for the day's adventures,  I took a photo of the front of the Aston Islander hotel.  The arrow points to my third floor room.

I had some extra time before the appointment for my helicopter tour, so I checked out a couple of waterfalls.  The first was Wailua Falls.  This 80 foot beauty is easily accessible on the south side of the island.
The photo below shows the rock outcropping next to the falls.  Although it looks sedimentary, given the horizontal layers, it is actually basaltic lava rock.  The horizontal structure is created by separate lava flows.
From the waterfall, I drove north to the end of the road.  At that point there was this rock strewn river.  The boulders are washed down stream in flash floods.
All over Kauai, and in places on Oahu, there are these magnificent African Tulip trees in bloom. 
And of course there are the chickens.  In 1992 a hurricane blew apart the chicken farms.  The domestic chickens quickly began to breed with the wild chickens.  Now there are chickens everywhere.  Apparently, people cannot eat them because they contain parasites.
Then I went to discover Opaeka Falls, which is also easily accessible on the south side of Kauai.
I saw some people crawl over a guardrail and asked them where they were going.  They told me they were going down the ropes to the river to go swimming.  The cliff was just short of vertical in some spots, so ropes were definitely needed.  It was also very muddy.  Due to the sharp volcanic rock, extreme caution was required on the descent.
A picture of the family is below.  They are in the process of going down the first set of ropes.
A close up of the vesicle pockets in a basalt boulder is shown below.
Finally, after a second set of ropes I reached the river.  The view of the falls from the river level is even better than it is from the top.
Huge volcanic rock boulders....

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