Waimea Canyon- "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific"
Long but fantastic day! We went sightseeing and did a little hiking at Waimea Canyon. The weatherperson forgot to look out the window as fog rolled in early. It had rained earlier in the morning as some of the paths were still wet. It really didn't matter as we had a wonderful day.
Waimea Canyon, on Kauai's West Side, is described as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” Although not as big or as old as its Arizona cousin, you won’t encounter anything like this geological wonder in Hawaii. Stretching 14 miles long, 1 mile wide and more than 3,600 feet deep, the Waimea Canyon Lookout provides panoramic views of crested buttes, rugged crags and deep valley gorges. The grand inland vistas go on for miles.
Waimea Canyon, located in Waimea, Hawaii is dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” The moniker, falsely attributed to literalist Mark Twain, became popular after American explorer John Wesley Powell came to the island of Kauai in 1869.
Waimea Canyon was formed when the Waimea river carved its way through the lava and basalt formations of the region. The central volcano that lay on the canyon collapsed 10 million years ago, playing a vital role in forming the canyon.
Mother Nature gave the world one of its most magnificent gems with the Waimea Canyon. Consumed with wild foliage, tropical cliffs, green-and-pink scenery, mesmerizing waterfalls, and striking rainbows, the Waimea Canyon is truly the nature lover’s paradise.
The main road, Waimea Canyon Drive, leads you to a lower lookout point and the main Waimea Canyon Overlook, offering views of Kauai's dramatic interior. The road continues into the mountains and ends at Kokee State Park. There are numerous trails to traverse for beginners and seasoned hikers alike.
Waimea Canyon is approximately ten miles (16 km) long and up to 3,000 feet (900 m) deep, located on the western side of Kauai. Waimea is Hawaiian for "reddish water", a reference to the erosion of the canyon's red soil and it also refers to the color of the streams that flow from the hapu' forests in the Kohala Mountains. The canyon was formed by a deep incision of the Waimea River arising from the extreme rainfall on the island's central peak, Mount Wai'ale'ale, among the wettest places on earth.
"The canyon is carved into the holeiitic and post-shield calc-alkaline lavas of the canyon basalt. The lavas of the canyon provide evidence for massive faulting and collapse in the early history of the island. The west side of the canyon is all thin, west-dipping lavas of the Napali Member, while the east side is very thick, flat-lying lavas of the Olokele and Makaweli Members. The two sides are separated by an enormous fault along which a large part of the island moved downwards in a big collapse.
The canyon has a unique geologic history as it was formed not only by the steady process of erosion but also by a catastrophic collapse of the volcano that created Kauaʻi.
Watch the helicopter fly into the canyon. The helicopter then circles around the falls.
Like the other Hawaiian islands, Kauaʻi is the top of an enormous volcano rising from the ocean floor. With lava flows dated to about 5 million years ago, Kauaʻi is the oldest of the large Hawaiian islands. Roughly 4 million years ago, while Kauaʻi was still erupting almost continuously, a portion of the island collapsed. This collapse formed a depression which then filled with lava flows.
In the time since, rainwater from the slopes of Mount Waiʻaleʻale have eroded Waimea Canyon along one edge of the collapse. On the east side of the canyon, the cliff walls are built from thick lava flows that pooled in the depression. Over time, the exposed basalt has weathered from its original black to bright red.
Plants I did not expect to see.
Waimea Canyon State Park encompasses 1,866 acres (7.5 km2) and is a popular tourist attraction on the island. It provides a wilderness area with numerous hiking trails. It can be accessed from Waimea on Hawaiʻi state road 550, which is 18 miles long and leads up to Kōke'e State Park. The island of Nī'ihau is only a short distance west of Kauaʻi at that point."
Starting April 19th, 2021, all non-Hawaii resident visitors to Waimea Canyon State Park and Kokee State Park will be required to purchase both Entrance and Parking. Children 3 years old and younger free. For example, if there are two (2) passengers in your one (1) vehicle, you will need to purchase two (2) entry reservations and 1 (one) parking. These reservations will be available via the parking pay-stations located in the parking lots. Entry and Parking will be good throughout both parks, you do not need to pay more than once to visit both parks. Parking and Entry Hawaii resident visitors admission and parking is free with Hawaii ID or Driver License.
At the parks, there is seasonal trout fishing plus pig and seasonal goat hunting nearby.
Notice of Rapid 'Ōhi a Death: ʻŌhiʻa (Metrosideros polymorpha), the most abundant native tree in the state of Hawaiʻi, are dying from a new fungal disease. On Hawaiʻi Island, hundreds of thousands of ʻōhiʻa have already died from this fungus, called Ceratocystis. Healthy trees appear to die within a few days to a few weeks, which is how the disease came to be called “Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death.” This disease has killed trees in all districts of Hawaiʻi Island and has the potential to kill ʻōhiʻa trees statewide. – College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
"AGGRESSIVE RAPIDʻŌHIʻADEATH FUNGUS FOUND ON KAUA‘I
(Lihue)-Detection ofCeratocystis lukuohia,the more virulent of the two fungal pathogens
causing Rapid ʻŌhi‘a Death (ROD), has now been confirmed in three trees onDepartment of
Hawaiian Homelands parcel behind Kalalea Mountain on the east side of Kaua‘i. This first
detection ofC. lukuohiacomes after the other pathogen resulting in ROD,Ceratocystis huliohia,
was detected on Kauai in three distinct locations this past year.
“These three trees that tested positive forC. lukuohiawere spotted by our rapid response team
as they were conducting botanical surveys across the island,” said Sheri S. Mann, Kaua‘i
District Manager for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). “Later, a team
trekked by foot to visually inspect and take samples from the tree.”
ʻŌhi‘a die for many reasons, although symptoms consistent with ROD include the sudden
browning of leaves on limbs or the entire crowns of trees. The fungus is not visible on the leaves
or the bark but grows in the sapwood just below the bark. The three trees that were sampled
earlier this month stood out in a forest of green, because the entirety of the trees leaves had
Samples were then sent to the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Hilo for the
necessary laboratory testing that confirmedC. lukuohiain all three trees.
“This is obviously news we didn’t want to hear,” Mann said. “But within a day of learning the
news, we scheduled a helicopter to conduct more digital mobile sketch mapping to identify any
additional symptomatic trees. We followed that with pinpoint drone surveys conducted by the
UH Hilo Department of Geography SDAV Lab and more tree sampling to try and determine the
severity and distribution of the outbreak. It’s been a busy week.”
A benefit for Kaua‘i is the hard-earned research conducted on Hawaii Island where ROD was
identified more than four years ago. Hundreds of thousands of trees have died due to ROD on
Hawai‘i Island, more than 90 percent due toC. lukuohia. Earlier this year, scientists at ARS
described the two-different species of fungi that cause ROD asC. huliohiaandC. lukuohia.
Both species are new to science.
The difference between the two pathogens is how they move through the tree and how quickly
“The pathogen enters the tree through a wound; be it a broken limb, twig or, perhaps, a scuffed
up exposed root. WhereasC. huliohia may takemonths to years to kill an ohia tree,C. lukuohia
can kill a tree within weeks,” said James B. Friday, the extension forester with the University of
The Kaua‘i ROD Working Group does not know exactly when or how the disease arrived on
Kaua‘i-whether it was the result of human activity or on its own, e.g. via the wind.
Once additional lab results and drone imagery are available, the rapid response team will
consult with the ROD science team to determine what management actions should be taken.
“Our priority is to save ohia. It has a critical role in the ecosystem’s function,” said Tiffani
Keanini, project manager of Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee (KISC). “We are currently
determining the best method to contain the spread and prevent ROD from entering pristine
watershed areas. At this point, we are treating the recent outbreak with rapid response actions.
As we learn more about the distribution and density of the affected area, we will likely adapt our
management strategy efforts.”
TheC. lukuohiadetection site is located in a remote area at 550-foot elevation. This forest
location is comprised of a mix of native trees and plants like ʻōhi‘a, koa, hala, and uluhe that are
being crowded out by non-natives such as albizia, java plum, strawberry guava, and octopus
trees. Unfortunately, any loss of a native tree will give rise to the faster-growing invasives unless
aggressive native tree plantings take place.
As there is no known cure to ROD, prevention is the key to ensuring it doesn’t spread and both
Kama‘aina and visitors can help by following these key five guidelines:
1) Keep your eyes open. If you see ʻōhiʻa with a limb or crown turning brown, take a
picture, and contact KISC via email (email@example.com) or phone (808-821-1490).
Samples of the wood must be taken by trained technicians and tested in a laboratory to
confirm the presence of the ROD fungi.
2) Avoid injuring ʻōhiʻa. Wounds serve as entry points for the fungus and increase the
odds that the tree will become infected and die from ROD. Avoid pruning and contact
with heavy equipment wherever possible.
3) Clean gear and tools, including shoes and clothes, before and after entering the forest
and areas where ʻōhiʻa may be present. Brush all soil off tools and gear, then spray with
70% rubbing alcohol. Wash clothes with hot water and soap.
4) Wash your vehicle with a high-pressure hose or washer if you’ve been off-roading or
have picked up mud from driving. Clean all soil off tires--including mountain bikes and
motorcycles--and vehicle undercarriage.
5) Don’t move ʻōhiʻa wood or ʻōhiʻa parts, including adjacent soil. The disease can be
spread to new areas by moving plants, plant parts, and wood from infected areas to non-
Michael and I each had two Starbursts.
Seafood (shrimp, scallops and fish) fettuccine with mushrooms tonight for dinner. There was no talking just eating until we finished.
Humidity and walking wore us out so it is off to bed.