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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Sleeping Giant on Kauai Offers Much for Tourists to Explore

The Sleeping Giant on Kauai and the native Hawaiian legends surrounding it have become famous. Known as Nounou Mountain several stories have developed about the mountain ridge that resembles someone sleeping on their back. Variations of the tale relate how the giant ate too much poi or worked hard collecting firewood and laid down to rest. The Sleeping Giant continues its slumber today. Visit this major landmark on Kauai and climb to the 1,200-foot high plateau to soak up once-in-a-lifetime views. 

Legends of Sleeping Giant on Kauai

Several versions of the native Hawaiian legend of the Sleeping Giant on Kauai have developed. In one retold by the “Life on Kauai” blog, a fisherman caught a fish that cried like a baby. Sensing an ancestral spirit, he invites it to the village. They feed their guest poi. The fish grows and grows and transforms into a giant boy. However, it would bawl if they stopped feeding him poi. Eventually, the villagers run out of poi trying to satisfy the giant boy’s appetite. To try and comfort him, they give him a name, Nounou. This makes him so happy he finally stops eating and takes a nap. For hundreds of years, he has slept soundly. In case he wakes up some day, villagers reportedly continue to plant taro. Mashed taro roots and water makes up poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish.

Other websites retell the legend of the Sleeping Giant on Kauai with a different twist at the end. They say the villagers tricked the giant. They loaded up the poi with rocks. Sleepy from eating such a big meal, the giant lay down on his back and has stayed asleep ever since.

Another popular Sleeping Giant tale, related by “Life on Kauai,” reports that a giant named Puni gathered firewood in the forests for the Menehune people in Wailua, a town on the east coast of Kauai. He became so tired after working hard that he fell asleep upon his return. While sleeping, an Oahu army attacked. The Menehune tried to rouse the giant. They started throwing rocks at him. The rocks ricocheted  off the giant and landed in the sea near the approaching Oahu army and they retreated. Once again the Menehune tried to wake up the giant to celebrate their victory but learned he died. The rocks lodged in his mouth and nose and suffocated him.

Hiking Trails on Nounou Mountain 

The interesting Hawaiian legends are not the only thing to explore. There’s hiking, too! The Nounou Mountain ridge provides breathtaking trails. Located in the Nounou Forest Reserve, tourists visiting this iconic landmark on Kauai have three scenic hiking trails to choose from. They can make the 1,000-foot climb on either the two-mile Nounou Mountain East Trail, the 1.5-mile Nounou Mountain West Trail or the two-mile Kuamoo-Nounou Trail.

All three trails end at a sheltered picnic area on the summit, or the hulking “Giant’s Chest.” From there, you have a spectacular lookout. You can see the entire Wailua River Valley.

Many consider the Nounou Mountain East Trail, also known as the Sleeping Giant Trail, the most scenic. It provides fantastic views of the ocean, Kalepa Ridge, Wailua Bay and the Hoary Head Mountains.

The Nounou Mountain West Trail is the steepest way up the mountain and features beautiful wild flowers and a shady forest. Picturesque sights of Mount Waialeale, Kawaikini and the Makaleha Mountains can be seen.

Meanwhile, the Kuamoo-Nounou Trail takes you over the Opaekaa Stream across a wooden bridge and through a cathedral forest of Norfolk Island and Cook pine trees planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. It rewards hikers with breathtaking scenic lookouts, including views of Kalepa Ridge.

Book Your Kauai Vacation with Us Today! 

Visit Kauai and see if you can wake up this Sleeping Giant, one of the Hawaii island’s most iconic landmarks. Contact Kauai Vacation Rentals today, so you can further explore the native Hawaiian legends and once-in-a-lifetime views on Nounou Mountain!

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