Sunday, September 6, 2009

Kauai - Alakai Swamp

Alakai Swamp is the highest located swamp in the world. Thanks to that, it has very specific ecosystem, full of plants and animals that are not present anywhere else in the world.

The swamp is located on a plateau near Mount Waiʻaleʻale, one of the wettest spots on Earth. It can be reached by the 3.5-mile (5.6 km) Alakaʻi Swamp Trail, which is often shrouded in mist. The trail connecting Waimea Canyon road with Alakaʻi Swamp Trail is called the Pihea Trail and it starts at the Puʻu o Kila lookout. The first mile of this trail runs along the ridge offering great views of Kalalau Valley:

As you can see mist and fog were our constant companions:

The forest through which we were hiking was very beautiful and it had also certain spooky quality about itself:

In parts, it was so wet and muddy that a boardwalk was placed there to facilitate hiking:

But there were also many places where there was no boardwalk and, moreover, there were obstacles that demanded some skills to cross:

Even though it was sometimes challenging to hike there, it was definitely worth the effort as the nature was simply stunning there:

My shoes are a testimony to how muddy this place was:

After the hike we stopped at Koke'e Lodge for a coffee and delicious chocolate-coconut cake. I wish I had asked for the recipe!