The Kohua Ridge Trail and Cloud Atlas

March 28, 2015


Cloud Atlas, Kohua Ridge Trail, Waimea Canyon, Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii


I hiked the Kohua Ridge Trail (Tuesday) and finished reading Cloud Atlas (Monday) so this blog will be a mixture of the two. Probably not any near as eloquent as David Mitchell, but bear with me. 

The above photo, which I took from the end of the Kohua Trail, will serve as a visual guide to the most beautiful ideas that I found in Mitchell's masterpiece on time and transmigration.

Cloud Atlas may be the most inventive book I have ever read. True, it is not an easy read, but it is enjoyable and incredibly rewarding. I want to quote from the section set on the Big Island many years in the future, which in Cloud Atlas terminology, is many winters "after the fall." Zachary, a helper in the book, lies exhausted in the bottom of a canoe looking up at the Hawaiian sky

​I watched clouds wobbly from the floor o' that kayak. Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies, an' tho' a cloud's shape nor hue nor size don't stay the same, it's still a cloud an' so is a soul. Who can say where the cloud's blowed from or who the soul'll be 'morrow? 

Once I saw the clouds at the end of the trail, I knew I wanted to show them, crossing the skies; changing shapes; and generally being blown about like souls in lives. 

Cloud Atlas is a beautiful book and highly recommended.



seen on a morning drive, waimea, kauai, hawaii


The Kohua Trail begins about two miles into the Na Pali-Kona Forrest Reserve off the 4x4 only Mohihi Camp Road (about 7 miles from the tarmac and Koke'e Lodge). The trail is relatively short-- 5 miles roundtrip-- but extremely varied. You'll walk through rich Koa and Lehua forests, smaller sections of Cedar and the occasional African Tulip. 


lehua trees along mohihi camp road about halfway to the kohua ridge trailhead, koke'e state park, kauai, hawai


The trail crosses a stream early on, and then climbs and descends through softly padded sections of earth covered with Koa leaves, wild flowers and a variety of moss. 


A typical Kohua Ridge trail scene, Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii



Koa tree leaves flank the trail, and in some places are so heavy that you must push them back with both arms as you progress along the seldom hiked trail, Kohua Ridge Trail, Koke'e State Park, Kauai, Hawaii


After about two miles or so, the trail begins to open up and you realize that you are walking on a ridge that is right in the middle of the majestic, red and green Grand Canyon of the Pacific.


Clouds and Canyon-- the view from the Kohua Trail Vista (don't know if you can see him or not, but the tiny black speck on the lower left is a wild goat that was just rambling along the lower (dangerous) ridge), Kauai, Hawaii 


We hung out here for nearly and hour, just watching the clouds cross the sky like souls traveling through time. All total we were out on the trail for 5 hours and didn't meet another hiker the entire time. During the way back, Naomi told me a story about one of her friend's boys who said to nature once, "Thanks for having us." Indeed, thanks for having us. 


Lines on Bark, Kohua Trail, Kauai, Hawaii



Fingers Crossed, "Angel" moss on lehua tree along the Kohua Trail, Kauai, Hawaii 




Usually when we hike in Koke'e we plan on camping for the night. Recently we've been pitching our tent and stringing our hammock at the Kawaikoi Stream campsite. This site, and the nearby Sugi Grove campsite, both require a vehicle with four wheel drive (and preferably a little lift, too). But the campsite near the Koke'e Lodge has many tent only sites that offer privacy, tables, and water. We've spent many a pleasant night there, as well. Either way, if you do decide to camp, please purchase your permit through the Hawaii State Camping Reservation System at It's fast, easy and the nominal permit fee helps to maintain the upkeep of our state parks. Mahalo for your kokua!