POSTED: 22 AUGUST 2005 - 8:45am HSY

Sierra Club hikes highlite Kauai beauty

Wailua Falls on Kauai as seen from the lookout

Take a Hike!
by Linda Pascatore on 21 August 2005

We recently had a great time on two Sierra Club hikes. We saw parts of the island we hadn’t seen, learned a lot, and met interesting people. We have lived on the island for four years, and don’t know why we haven’t done this sooner.

looking north across the top of the Wailua River gorge near falls

When we first moved to Kauai, we went to a few of the tourist hot spots on the island. We also went on a few hikes with friends who were long time residents. Then, when we had visitors, we just kept taking them to those few familiar spots. It is almost embarrassing how little of the island we had seen in the past four years.

hikers nearing the falls along the Wailua River after climb down from rim

This changed recently when we joined the Sierra Club. A few weeks ago we hiked to the bottom of Wailua Falls. We took a longer winding way down, and then went straight back up the cliff, with the help of some ropes and steps cut into the hillside.

Linda Pascatore & Juan Wilson at pool below Wailua Falls

You know when you are at the lookout at the top of Wailua Falls, and sometimes you see people at the bottom? Well, we hiked down and were able to swim in the beautiful large pool right under the falls! It was fantastic. We had a picnic lunch at the bottom, and talked to very friendly and interesting people.

view of north westas Sierra Club hikers arrive at base of Wailua Falls

We were surprised to find that the vast majority of folks on the hike were a cross section of local people--not tourists. We learned interesting facts and Hawaiian names of plants and trees from other hikers and from our Sierra Club guides. One woman taught us a chant in Hawaiian, with hand motions. Here is the loose English translation:

Earth, Sky, Sea and Stone
We thank you for your Sacredness

lookingeast to Kipu Mountains from the lawn of the NTBG Headquarters

The second hike was through the National Tropical Botanical Gardens. This was a great educational opportunity, as our guide was Bob Nishek, who works at the gardens and shared his wealth of knowledge about the plants and trees; and their origins, history and uses. We started at 4pm, and ended up at Lawai Beach before sunset. We had our picnic lunches there, and walked back out by the light of the full moon.

a landscaped portion of the upper gardens at the NTBG in Lawai Valley

What a beautiful experience! We encountered some old friends from the last hike, and met more open, friendly, and very interesting local people.

hiking south towards lower gardens along NTBG maintenance road

We are sold on Sierra Club hikes, and will be joining them at least once a month. We are looking forward to seeing and learning about more of our island, and cementing friendships with this great group of people. Try it--maybe we’ll meet you at the next hike!

Sierra Club hikers pause at grove of 40 year old ficus trees in lower gardens of NTBG

Adult nonmembers are asked for a donation of $5.00, while participants under 18 and Sierra Club members are asked for $1.00. The Sierra Club provides a great opportunity to experience safe hikes in a group with experienced hikers and guides. All hikes are rated for level of difficulty and round trip distances are provided.

Upcoming hikes include Waipo’o Falls, Okoehao Trail, Mahaulepu, Kealia Beach, Powerline Trail, Kuilau Ridge, Makleha Springs, and Nualolo-Awaawapuhi Loop. For details about the hikes, membership, and Sierra Club Hawaii chapter projects check out their website at:

for Kauai hikes:

For State chapter:

for snail mail:
Sierra Club Kauai Group: Hawaii Chapter
PO Box 3412, Lihue, HI, 96766


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