Pools of Mokolea

Uggh, still sick. Got up for sunrise, but couldn’t make myself head down to the shore. That’s okay, it was fine, but it wasn’t a particularly spectacular sunrise anyway.

sunrise from the lanai

After a piece of dry toast, I laid down and went back to sleep for another hour and a half. That was definitely the right call. I felt marginally better when I got up and, with the help of a few OTC meds, felt well enough to start the day.

I was actually feeling pretty good for the first few hours and we were able to go on one of the planned shoreline hikes we had put off yesterday. Just east of Kilauea, we headed off to Kahili Beach and the trailhead for the Pools of Mokolea.

This is a hike that we had tried to do back in 2007, but we obviously ended up on the wrong trail and headed down a trash-strewn scary path into the jungle before turning around and walking quickly back to our car.

This time we went online in advance and found the trailhead using a variety of mapping sites and grabbed the exact GPS coordinates. It was so easy to find after that! Perhaps the real trail to the beach was overgrown 9 years ago, or perhaps we just blinked, but we had clearly missed the trail and went on the completely wrong one. This unpaved road to the beach parking lot was in great shape and it was a very short walk from there to the beach and over to the Kilauea River at the west end of the beach.

This was the trickiest part of the hike. Although the surf was fairly calm, we were there at a higher tide than we had planned on if we’d been able to go yesterday. We had to cross the river right where it met the ocean to get over to the trail to the lava bench that forms the pools. I would never have tried this if the surf had been rougher, but Steve and I both had our swimsuits on under our clothes and, as I said to Steve, “what are we here for?” So we stashed our clothes in our backpacks and headed in.

It was only about 15 feet across at that point of the river and 12 of those feet were in water that only came up to our knees or thighs. But right in the middle of the passage, there were 2 to 3 steps that took me into water up to my chest. Again, the waves were not rough, and I wasn’t in any danger, but I was having to carry my backpack over my head to keep our sandwiches, clothes, etc. dry, so it was a bit tricky.

Once across, we headed along the trail that took us back to the coast and the large lava bench that forms the Pools of Mokolea. Gosh, what a beautiful area. We walked along for a while, stopping at a large hole where the ocean surges in and out. It looks like a Jacuzzi, but certainly not one I’d feel comfortable climbing in! Here’s the water at the low, just-been-sucked-out stage, followed by the fuller, water-rushing-in stage.

jacuzzi at Pools of Mokolea

jacuzzi at Pools of Mokolea

At that point, I looked behind us at the coast we had been walking away from and saw just how beautiful a landscape it was.

Steve at Pools of Mokolea

Pools of Mokolea

We continued walking along the lava bench, passing several small tide pools, but they didn’t have many critters in them. Further along, the pools got much bigger, and watching the ocean wash in and out of them was beautiful. We sat watching this area for quite some time while we had our sandwiches.

Anne at Pools of Mokolea

Pools of Mokolea

Pools of Mokolea

A wee bit further along and it wasn’t possible to keep walking, as a large crack in the lava had split the bench in two and the ocean rushed into the gap.

split in lava bench

split in lava bench

We took some pictures at this vantage point of the Kilauea Lighthouse and the large birds hovering over the cliffs.

Kilauea Lighthouse in distance


We also found a couple of spots that will likely become blowholes in a couple hundred thousand years. Right now, they are just gasping bubble-blowers.

Up to this point, I had been feeling pretty good and it was almost like we had our vacation back, but I started to feel sick again as we were leaving the area. Probably my OTC meds had worn off. We got back to the car and headed to Princeville where I hoped I would be able to catch a second wind. The plan was to hike to the Queen’s Bath there, but it was still over an hour before the tide would be low enough for it to be a good idea, so we walked around the shops and sat in the shade while I tried to rally.

I almost made it. We drove to the trailhead against Steve’s better judgement, but the world had other plans and the limited parking area was entirely full. We waited for a few minutes behind another waiting car, but it was obvious no spots would be available soon, and I still wasn’t feeling great, so we decided to put it off for another day, or possibly another trip. This is a hike that really relies on low tide and calm seas, and I had intentionally scheduled it for these first few days on Kaua’i because low tide on the North Shore is either 6 or 7 in the morning, or 7 or 8 at night for the rest of the our trip (sunset is 7pm). It’s possible we might be able to catch it on our last full day here, but it’s not a sure thing, so I’d really wanted to manage it today.

Instead, I continue to feel ill and hope I’ll be back to normal soon. We rested back at the condo for an hour or so before heading out to dinner at a local Italian place we like. Dinner was more than I could manage last night, so hopefully I’m on the mend.