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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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Tuesday
Jan242012

Secret Treasures of the Maha'u'lepu coastline

..."Pass into this ancient world of fossils, artifacts an history, a unique opportunity to experience passage of time and the changes that one area has undergone over the millennia. Learn about extinct creatures, lost landscapes and ancient Hawaiians...."

 

Some have heard of it but many have not. Find your way past the Hyatt and embark on a dirt road. Turn right at the sign for CJM Stables. Make a left at the next dirt road where a sign says "Howdy Pardners".Follow this road until you think you might get stuck, then park. Next, hike along the ridge toward the spectacular Ha'upu Mountain, where the ocean will be at your right and the mountains beyond your left. Pause at an overlook called Pila's Point where views of the coast will steal your breath away.

From Pila's Point you can see all of the Mahaulepu area, the quarry that destroyed one of the largest heiau in all the Hawaiian Islands, and the volcanic spatter cones of Koloa, the last eruptions on Kauai. Midground is the abandoned Koloa Sugar Mill, one of the first plantations in the state.

The Makauwahi Cave Reserve is a 17 acre park created by Dr. David Burney, Director of Conservation at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, and his wife, Lida Pigott Burney, Head of Conservation at the Reserve. Excavations on the cave began in 1992 and restoration of the area's vegetation to pre-human contact times was started in 1999. Since then more than 5,000 native and Polynesian plants have been re-introduced to the landscape, using the fossil record here as a guide to plant choices.

The Sinkhole Overlook is a bit further along the path. A natural amphitheater carved by ground water and carved by the elements, the Makauwahi Cave sinkhole is a collapsed room of this unusual limestone cave, formed from Pleistocene dune sands.

The triail is SELF-GUIDED has 15 markers and begins near CJM stables. The end of the trail meets the only opening into the Makauwahi Cave. Brochures are available at the trail head and give excellent descriptions of the flora and fauna, as well as the many points of interest. Be sure to bring your camera!

Every Sunday, year 'round -- except when a major holiday falls on a Sunday, docents are available to provide GUIDED TOURS of the CAVE from 9 AM - 2PM. 

For more information call (808) 482-1059 or email Lida and David Burney at makauwahi@gmail.com