Tuesday, May 24, 2022 |
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• Be part of the solution
• Kaua‘i’s trails are not for everyone
Be part of the solution
In response to James Rosen’s “Where is a cop when you need one?” (Letters, Sept. 19), your letter was so off base it almost doesn’t rate a response.
It is clear to see that the real problem is you and your attitude towards life on Kaua‘i and the KPD.
Any one of our officers (male or female), our chief and even the mayor would have no problem stopping and cleaning up broken glass after an accident, but obviously not you. You just write letters of complaint.
I live by an intersection on the highway where too many accidents have occurred over the years. Many times while the police are doing their job, all of our neighbors in ‘Ele‘ele have helped clean debris and sweep glass off the highway while the police and firefighters concentrate on the matters at hand. We do this to help out our safety officers, but we also do this to help our community, our fellow citizens, so it’s not a hindrance to them while they drive.
In the many fender benders and accidents, everyone has done their part in this community, because we are a community. Many times an officer will come over to my house and ask to borrow my broom and if there are no other pending calls or if time allots, they are sweeping themselves. We’ve all seen it.
Why didn’t you ask a fireman why they didn’t clear out the glass? They are there responding as well, in force, multiple men and women. But guess what Jimmy, they too sweep, have swept and do clear debris. We have all seen that too, except for you.
Instead of crying and complaining about it and everything else for that matter, why don’t you just lend a hand and do it yourself? Be a part of the solution, if it really is a big issue to you. If not, you’ll just keep throwing rocks and running away. Quit writing letters to see your name and start writing letters by your actions and let others praise your name.
Pastor Tom Iannucci, Police Commissioner, ‘Ele‘ele
Kaua‘i’s trails are not for everyone
My wife and I are seasoned Sierra Nevada hikers, so it was natural for us to devote a day to hiking one of Kaua‘i’s many trails on a recent visit. But we were not ready for what we found.
The map said the Nu‘alolo Loop Trail in the Na Pali-Kona Forest Preserve would be strenuous. We love strenuous hiking. The woman at the Koke‘e Park Headquarters, where the trail started, told us there was a 20-foot stretch on the connecting Cliff Trail that was scary for some, but doable for most. We were intrigued.
Intrigue gave way to fear long before we reached that stretch. Out first destination was Lolo No. 2, the lookout over the gorgeous Na Pali Coast with its near-vertical cliffs. A half mile short of the lookout, the trail changed drastically. We had been surrounded and protected by jungle, but now we found ourselves completely exposed on both sides to frightening straight-down drops. Our feet touched down on gritty dry clay. There were no roots or vegetation to cling to in case of a slip. And erosion had beveled the sides of the trail so that in places the surface wasn’t quite flat. There was nothing remotely like an edge to grab hold of. A single misstep, even a slight slide, would mean certain death. We’d have about 10 seconds to think about it on the way down.
I walked toward the lookout in a crouch. I thought about my wife behind me. She had already slipped three times on the crusty clay back in the jungle. Dread began to well up in me.
We didn’t make it to the lookout, but wisely turned back. Once more I hunkered down in a crouch, not daring to look out at the blue Pacific a half mile down. In the scariest stretch I resorted to hands and knees for 10 feet. I prayed fervently, almost desperately as I thought of my wife. And it was child’s play compared to what lay ahead if we continued with our original plan to make the loop.
The point is this. Many of Kaua‘i’s trails are inappropriate for any but the most daring, experienced trekkers. The 11-mile Kalalau Trail, the Holy Grail for the so-called serious hiker, and the Cliff Trail are the most dangerous. Yet most of the literature describing these trails only indirectly hints at the danger. Words like strenuous, technical, rugged, extreme, tricky, challenging, and heartstopping cover up the real peril that exists for all but the most experienced. On one of the several Web sites describing these trails, one hiker spoke of the “appallingly dangerous trail conditions.”
That is a good description of the notorious one-quarter mile stretch of the Cliff Trail, which in places is made of crumbly red earth about eight inches wide, leans down toward the Pacific 2,000 feet below, and provides nothing to hold onto in case of a slip. Many hikers take one look and turn back round. Thank God, that’s what we did.
According to Claire Ueno, a missing persons investigator for the Kaua’i Police Department, 63 names were on her list as of January 2008. Why are they missing? She’s got a few theories but admits she doesn’t really know. Did some of those persons fall into the jungle shrouding the cliffs below where they took their last fatal step? Those cliffs are inaccessible. They would make excellent tombs.
The State of Hawai‘i should do a fresh survey of Kaua‘i’s trails and make them safer with extensive shovel-and-pick work and railings or cliffside handholds in the worst places. At the very least, signs like “Great Danger: Proceed at your own risk” should be erected. And Kaua‘i’s promotional literature should spell out the risks for prudent hikers like me with children back home to raise.
By the way, we loved our vacation and plan to come back next year. But you can bet we’ll make careful inquiries before we set out on our next hike.
L.S. Betty, Bakersfield, Calif.
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