Mahaulopu Heritage Trail
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Hike Kaui's History
Asking your kids to hike is like asking them if they want to get their teeth cleaned. "Nooooooo!" is usually the resounding answer. But in Kauai, I insisted my daughter join me on this easy jaunt along the stunning coastline of the Garden Isle, and to my surprise, and hers, she actually enjoyed it. The roughly 2-mile long Mahaulepu (MA-HA OO-LAY-POO) Coastal Trail, is the last stretch of accessible coastline on the south shore that has not been developed. From just next to the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Poipu, at the east end of Shipwreck Beach, the trail took us along sand-dune cliffs, through tall grasses and Kiawe trees, over limestone formations and near rocky tide pools, fun for exploring. All the while, we stopped for sun and pictures of rugged shore and turquoise water that are a part of Hawaiian history. Mahaulepu’s name, we learned, comes from a legendary battle that occurred in the 1300s when Kalaunuio Hua, a Big Island ruler,attempted to take over Kauai on Mahaulepu Beach. Kukona, then ruling chief of Kauai, lured Kalaunuio Hua and his men further inland, then attacked the tired warriors, defeating them easily. Thus began the historical distinction of Kauai as an island that was never conquered. The idyllic seaside hasn't been conquered by commercialism either. Despite a small trek along they Hyatt's golf course, much remains, I imagine, as it was. This is old Kauai---and for a teenager who'd rather be plugged in, it was hard for her not to enjoy tuning out.
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