This was actually a maintenance hike for me. What does that mean? A friend of mine is a regular visitor to Kauai and an avid geocacher. She has hidden many geocaches in Maui including on on the Pihea Trail and on on the Alakai Swamp Trail. I was aware that both geocaches had been reported missing and I offered to go hike to each of them to see if they were there. In this case I used the geocaches as a destination and was more interested in where they were located than actually finding them.
The weather was rain as I drove toward the trailhead. After such a great day several days earlier on the Berry Flat Trail, I banked on the weather improving. I started the hike out looking at rain in front of me, but not right where I was. The view of the Kalalau Valley was obscured by rain, but majestic. By the time I got to the point where the rain had been, it had moved, leaving only a very muddy trail behind. It was a very slippery climb to Pihea Vista. It was worth it for the views.
Just below Pihea Vista was where the first geocache was and it took me a long time to find, but find it I did. That's one reported missing cache down and one to go. While searching I met a very nice family from Oahu that was in Kauai for a day trip and chose the same destination as I had.
I slipped and slid my way down off of Pihea Vista and head off toward the Alakai Swamp Trail. Once I made it down off of the Vista the trail became a boardwalk all of the way to the Alakai Swamp Trail. This was a welcome relief from all of the mud. Although the spectacular vies of the Na Pali Coast were behind me, the scenery of dense jungle was nonetheless spectacular.
When I reached the Alakai Swamp Trail there was a group of very tired looking Boy Scouts and even more tired looking scout leaders. They had apparently been out for several days and were on the move each day. I'm guessing that they were near the end of their trek when I saw them and I never did see them again. On I went north on the Alakai Swamp Trail to the Kawaikoa Stream Crossing where the other geocache I had agreed to look for was located. It took me close to 45 minutes to find it. Any sane person would have given up long beofre, but I took periodic breaks to look at the stream. I finally found the geocache.
I had intended to continue all of the way to the end of the Alakai Swamp Trail where a spectacular view of Princeville awaited. Unfortunately, I spent so much of my day looking for my friend's geocaches that I didn't have enough time left to continue on, so back I went. On the bright side, I do have a destination for my next trip and plan to do the whole trip.
I posted a view of this hike on Youtube. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBCL4V18uyY