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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

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Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

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Thursday
Aug052010

Kauai's Ha'upu Mountain, Alekoko Fishpond & Huliea River - A Hidden Playground

The Ha'upu Mountain Range is a remnant of one of Kauai's largest volcanic eruptions and consists of resistant lava exposed into its present dragon-backed shape by erosion. This beautiful range serves as the backdrop for activities at Mahau'lepu and Kipu Kai on the island's South coastline.

Snaking along the interior area of the range is the Huliea River, one of Hawaii's few navigable rivers and location for the boat scenes in the Speilberg blockbuster, "The Lost World". Kayaking this beautiful stretch of river is a treat and a challenge. At the Nawiliwili end of the river lies the Alekoko, or Meneheune Fishpond, situated in the Huliea National Wildlife Refuge.

Built more than 1000 years ago by an ancient tribe of Polynesians called Meneheune that disappeared, or were conquered by later tribes, the is constructed from a stone wall more than 900 feet long. Fishponds throughout the ancient Hawaiian kingdom served as the breeding ground and incubator for prized fish for the King.

Travel further up the river and rope swings can be seen dangling froma sturdy old tree. These diversion provides fun and a break from paddling. Reaching the top of the river -- where it gets too shallow to continue paddling -- are trails that wind through the dense jungle. It may be muddy and mosquito-infested but the canopied forest is an emerald hide-a-way.

Kipu Falls is also located in this vicinity. Although  popular with visitors and locals alike, there are many accidents and drownings at Kipu Falls each year. This is likely due to extreme flash floods in winter months that carry debris and huge rocks into the pool below the falls where they lie hidden until an unsuspecting jumper encounters the obstacle. Please be careful!