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TRAVELING in style : A PRIMAL PIECE OF PARADISE

March 19, 1989|JERRY HULSE

Few places on earth match the awesome beauty of Kauai's Na Pali coast with its thunderous waves and precipitous cliffs that fall away to the Pacific--to deserted beaches and hidden coves. A special place on a special island. Beyond its shores appears the other face of Hawaii, with condominiums and high-rise resorts. Na Pali, though, is blessed with a serenity these islands knew only in the beginning.

Bathed by trade winds, Na Pali is a world unchanged through the centuries, a world that remains silent save for the voice of the wind and the explosion of waves against lava that rose from the ocean floor, eons ago, to form the islands of Hawaii.

Aloft in a helicopter, vacationers study Kauai's valleys and jungles that reach to the very shores of Na Pali. The copters cruise above jungles without a single trail--jungles that have never known the footstep of man. Waterfalls spill furiously. This is only a few miles from Hanalei and that magnificent white strand, Lumahai Beach, where Hollywood came to film "South Pacific." Precisely where Lumahai ends, the earth turns green with taro patches and rice paddies, and shortly thereafter the Na Pali coast begins, blue and green waters slamming against ancient cliffs, leaving behind white trails of foam. Coves dug by millions of years of ocean anger remain peaceful, untouched. All this is woven into the tapestry of Kauai's Na Pali coast.

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