More Bali Hai Helicopter

Niihau, Kaula, Barking Sands, Miloli'i State Park

About 3,000 ft altitude in the Kokee Park area, just before dropping to the Na Pali Coastline

We left Waimea Canyon and swung out over the last red ridge, then swooped over a dark knife-slash of a canyon and dropped vertically a couple thousand feet to parallel the Na Pali Coast and the Pacific, to be confronted by .........

Fear ofDizzying view down into the Pacific on the Na Pali Coast Falling

In a shout loud enough to be heard over the din of the helicopter we hollered at our pilot, "How many thousand feet would we fall into that turqouise and blue Pacific, did you say?" This startling headland falls barrenly into the Pacific somewhere near Miloli'i Park, and just south of the Honopu Valley area. It's one of your first views of the actual Na Pali coastline after leaving Waimea Canyon.

Passing Polihale Beach

Only Native Hawaiians are allowed to live on Niihau, the last real island of any size in the Hawaiian chain. Past Niihau, it is thousands of miles of empty ocean before you reach Japan. I read that Niihau is a place of pride for Native Hawaiians, where they live very close to their ancestral roots and in a self-chosen life-style that some would term "primitive."

While I was on Kauai, tourists like myself heard Niihau referred to as "The Forbidden Island." That's just corny, in my opinion. To my way of thinking, the preservation of Niihau by Native Hawaiians is motivated by a similar spiritual need and an abiding love of the Land that I have for the mountains and deserts of Oregon, and my version of Niihau is Oregon's Three Sisters Wilderness Area, or one of the many other Federally protected Wilderness Areas that I am blessed to have in my backyard here in Oregon.


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