Friday, August 08, 2014

Kalalau Trail

On our recent family trip to Kauai, my brother and I decided to do the Kalalau Trail.  On previous trips, we always did the first 2 miles to Hanakapi'ai Beach.  Now we wanted to go all the way to the legendary Kalalau Beach. I got a permit for one night at the beach.  The plan was to go very light.  I would have my regular pack but with sparse gear.  I bought a new REI Quarter Dome 2 tent due to the high probability of bugs and rain.  I took just the clothes for the trail, my ditty bag of stuff (FAK, headlamp, etc.) but no sleeping gear except for my pillow.  Kevin took a towel that he used like blanket but I had nothing!  For food, we took just some bars, jerky and nuts.
We got started around noon on departure day.  We went very fast to start and had to dodge the traffic to Hanakapi'ai.  We continued fast as the trail go into a pattern of climbing a ridge and then descending into a valley for the next 6 miles.  We then got to the section called "Climber's Ledge."  This section is carved out of a sheer cliff hundreds of feet above the waves crashing on the rocks below.  Good thing it is short.  Hiking in the afternoon was very hot and humid and made the constant up and downs very tedious.  We stopped for water at the halfway camp and two other spots to keep hydrated.
After 11 miles we got to the beach!  We walked all the way to waterfall at the end just to walk the entire trail.  Our camp was about a mile from the end and half mile from the Kalalau River.  Part of the allure of this trail is the scene at the beach.  We got a taste of that when we passed a completely nude hiker on the way in.  There were further nudists on the beach itself.  There were a few families as well; very odd group of people.  We swam, ate our meager rations, then tried to sleep in the stiffling heat.  In the middle of the night we heard some rustling in the leaves around our tent. I figured it was a bird but it kept up for a long time.  At one point it got very close to the tent.  I jumped outside with the headlamp and discovered a bullfrog.  It must jump around all night looking for food.
We got up pretty early, broke camp and headed out.  In the morning coolness and shade, we made good time to Hanakpai'ai.  There, we waited for my dad and the boys to meet up with us.  They showed up about 20 minutes after us and the kids played around on the beach.  We all then headed out to the car and a well-deserved Lappert's.

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