Sunday, February 04, 2007

Our Second Hike: Sleeping Giant

Our second hike took place this Saturday on Nounou Mountain, lovingly referred to by locals as the "Sleeping Giant". The mountain earned this nickname because when you’re viewing it from far away, it supposedly resembles the profile of a large man lying on his back. However, you have to use a LOT of imagination to see it. The photo below shows the “head” of the giant, with the forehead on the left and the nose on the right. It's clear these native Hawaiians must have been smoking something.

This hike was slightly longer than last week’s, at around 5 mile round trip with a 1000 foot gain in elevation. Although the guide book described this hike as ‘moderately difficult’, we concurred that it’s “moderately easy” at best and “for lazy asthmatics” at worst. After about a 2 mile climb, you come to a picnic bench overlooking the east shore town of Kapa’a:

The guide book says that it’s possible to progress beyond this point, on a trail that leads up to the giant’s head. From there, they say the views are spectacular. However, the book makes sure to give a stern warning about attempting this last leg. They suggest that one misstep can cost you your life. After the ominous warning, we went up with the intention of stopping at the bench. Once there, however, we were greeted by an elderly couple on their way down from the head. After talking with them, they reassured us it was safe and we’d have no problems making it up. We took their word for it – after all, we can’t be shown up by two 71 year olds!

The couple’s assertions proved true, as the last leg of the trail was hardly as dangerous as the book suggested. There was really only one or two spots were one could feasibly slip to their deaths, and you’d have to be pretty clumsy to do so. And the last leg was worth it, because once on top we were greeted with 360 views of the east side of the island.

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