Backcountry Off Trail Climb Hike Kauai PhaseOne Photography

Capturing Kauai: Onward to the Blue Hole

The title Blue Hole is used as the designation for a few places on Kauai.  For most it represents a pool of water at the base of the crater of Mount Wai’ ale’ ale.  The Blue Hole is about 3,000 feet below the summit. Mount Wai’ ale’ ale is arguably Kauai’s greatest treasure, and most sacred place to its residents.  Its story is located [here].

The crossing of the North Fork of the Wailua River on the trail to the Blue Hole.

The trip to reach the Blue Hole is demanding as can be. Both the drive to the trail head and hike call for great strength and determination. In addition, it can only be accomplished with confidence, if you have the correct gear and vehicle.  To add to the equation, weather is the biggest variable in the equation.

If the weather conditions are not good or better, your trip will be stopped at a gate miles away.  I know, as I have been shut out three times prior.  This is my first attempt knowing the gate is open.  It is a reconnaissance trip.  Therefore, I have asked my two four-legged associates (Sage and Willow) to join me.

I am hoping to reach the trail crossing of the Wailua River.  If lucky, reaching the falls above.  The last 1+ miles to the Blue Hole (I am told) is bad-ass nasty – even for the most serious and in-shape back country person.  Therefore, I will hold off a bit.

The driving route up to the parking lot of the arboretum and the Kuilau trail is well known to me, Linda, and the Border Collies.  The Kuilau Trail offers a stroll through some terrific scenery and settings. It is one of my favorite places on the island.

The trip to the Blue Hole trail head should not be taken by anyone who dislikes a seriously bumpy, rocky experience that includes multiple river fording’s.

The road crossing #1 of the Wailua River. The depth in the middle is to the bottom of the door of the truck.
River crossing #2 of the Wailua. It is a bit deeper than #1.
An example of the road condition for most of the route to the trail head.

One aspect of the drive in that reduces the stress level is there are no huge vertical drop offs on either side of the road.

Once on the trail, there is a crossing of the Wailua at 1/4 mile. This spot was my goal.  The water level is fairly high (knee level) accompanied by a strong current. The crossing is located just above a waterfall.  I determine I can cross safely,  However, I establish quickly that the strength of the current would likely sweep the dogs down through the waterfall.  Thus the advance ends.

Wai’ ale’ ale from the road.
The Wai’ ale’ ale crater during a rain storm in 2020.

So I have learned what I wanted to learn and look forward to my return and reaching The Blue Hole.

—- Jeff Thoughts and Other Worthless Trivia —-

The image I captured of Wai’ ale’ ale’ from the road (above) may seem familiar to you. It is taken at the location used in the film Jurassic Park for the Jurassic World Entrance Gates and T. Rex Paddock.  The gates are gone.  However two poles mark where the gates existed.

2 Replies to “Capturing Kauai: Onward to the Blue Hole

    1. Thanks Mike.
      I was fun to capture these images. However, I will admit, some of these locations are a real push to reach. That is why I do so much research and planning. Regardless, things can go sideways… fast.

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