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Giant Steps: Hiking Nounou-East "Sleeping Giant" Trail on Kauai

Also, both under and above the giant’s chin, I encounter a dozen or so yards of mild rock-climbing. Sound a bit dicey? It kind of is.

As it turns out, the state trail officially ends at the giant’s chest and Na Ala Hele 
advises against continuing on. My companion and I did not know this. The other hikers also appeared to be unaware of the 
advisory, which is posted on the Na Ala Hele website. If there was an advisory sign at the giant’s chest, I didn’t see it.

Hikers ascend Nounou's summit (the sleeping giant's head). The Wailua River is seen in the background.

So, on this ideal day for outdoorsy 
pursuits, we blithely follow one another to a tree-studded plateau at the end of the add-on path—essentially, the giant’s forehead.

I’m a bit surprised to see my gear-
lugging companion excitedly scrambling up the last rocky haul, working hard to steady himself and his camera bag. Then it occurs to me: He can’t help it.

If I find it difficult to resist the itch to jog on a path well suited for trail running, how can a professional photographer like my friend pass up the chance to take in a picture-perfect 360-degree view of Kauai’s eastern coastline?

A giant impossibility, I think. 

Nounou-East “Sleeping Giant” Trail
Na Ala Hele Trail & Access System • (808) 274-3433 • www.hawaiitrails.ehawaii.gov

Photos: David Croxford (pg. 1, 2); Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Tor Johnson (pg. 3)

(This feature was originally published in the July/August 2012 issue of HAWAII Magazine.)

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