The Wow Tour

KAUAI, Hawaii

They begin their rise where island meets sea, blunt cliffs that climb hundreds of yards to narrow plateaus even wild goats may never reach because of the steepness.

Nearby are rows of tall and thin mountains reaching peaks as sharp as shark teeth.

And in between these often cloud-shrowded ridges, long and deep valleys snake their way inland to places so rugged that man’s hand can’t change them.

Seeing the Na Pali Coast by boat, about all I could come up with was a few hundred wows.

I’d been drawn to the charter for the snorkeling part of the package. Finning along, watching bright tropical fish swim amid coral is an infrequent pleasure.

But after about 20 minutes, the boat followed the Kauai coast, past the gorgeous beaches and lush fields and forests we had seen often from the road.

A distant view of some of the cliffs and bluffs along Kauai's Na Pali coast.

A distant view of some of the cliffs and bluffs along Kauai's Na Pali coast.

Rounding the island’s southwest tip, we began to see the cliffs and amazing ragged mountains.

For more than an hour, we motored slowly along, watching blue ocean roll and crash into cliffs with house-high showers of white.

The roughness of the scene was utterly amazing. There are no, and never will be any, roads at that end of an island thats roughly the size of a big Kansas county. Even with the best technology, they can’t be built across such a landscape.

The government has made a few hiking trails into the region, but warn they’re not for the inexperienced or out-of-shape.

Lindsey, who at 25 is in better shape than I ever hoped, did two miles in and two miles out it took her eight, muscle-taxing hours. She’s met locals who take at least two days to make it to the turnaround camping spot of a 12-mile hike.

But we toured the coast easily, listening to a tour guide speak of the holiness with which native Hawaiians see the area.

Nearly every view carried the tale of how it was used in the making of a movie.

From 100 yards off shore, we looked up the intimidating green valleys shown being accessed by helicopter in the first seconds of “Jurassic Park.” Many scenes from “Star Wars” and the Indiana Jones films were shot along a few miles of coast.

When I get home, I hope to rent a few of those same flicks and look for the Na Pali coast.

I’m pretty sure I’ll say wow.