The second part of our trip had us hiking the length of the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast State Park Kauai to camp at one of the most gorgeous beaches. We flew Island Air from Oahu to Kauai, the next island over to the west. This section of the trip was half planned and half spontaneous. The Na Pali Coast is inaccessible by boat, car or plane. The only way there and back is to hike 11 miles through dense rain forest, past the base of the wettest recorded place on earth, scaling the sides of cliffs to finally arrive at a secluded beach, surrounded by beautiful cathedral mountains, a waterfall and caves that are only accessible during low tide. We didn’t have much prior knowledge of hiking long distances with all of our camping gear. Through AirBnB I found some camping equipment we could rent and we brought a lot of our own gear as well. Besides this, I really didn’t do much more research on the trail. All we knew was that this part of Kauai was featured in the opening scene of Jurassic Park. So naturally, we expected to see some dinosaurs. In total, it took us about 8 hours to hike on the first day and on the way back it took 8.5 hours. We felt accomplished yet tired. It is definitely something we are excited to tell our children one day. Some of the views along the trail were absolutely breathtaking.
1. Hiking for 8 hours in running shoes isn’t great for your ankles. We thought bringing our hiking boots would add too much weight to our bags when flying, so we left them at home. Bad move.
2. There are some very free-spirited individuals who live within the Na Pali Coast National Park. It’s illegal, but I totally get why they would never want to leave. The land within the valley is so fertile that nearly everything they need can grow: coffee, bananas, vegetables. We passed a sign when we neared the beach that read: “Free the weed, plant a seed.”
3. You drink an enormous amount of water when hiking. Every stream we passed, we filled up our water bottles and drank through our LifeStraw [not necessary but highly recommended]. Although the water comes from the peaks of the mountains, it isn’t advised to drink the water without purifying it first, but the thought of adding iodine pills to my water made me want to vomit. We passed some hikers when we had to cross the final river and they were all shaking their bottles. I couldn’t figure out why until I looked at the colour of the water in their bottles. It was a rust colour and looked completely unappetizing. The LifeStraw is compact and fits inside your bottle so you can drink directly out of it which was great for at night.
4. On the hike back I passed one of the locals on the trail. He was wearing camouflage clothing, barefoot with tape and mud all over his feet, face paint and a crossbow.
“Yea! Have you seen any?”
“About 1 mile back”
5. Oh ya, so there were a lot of mountain goats once we got past the 6th mile. They were so cute!
6. Once we were back in Canada, Matt decided to do more research on the trail. Backpacker Magazine rated it one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in the USA and Outside Magazine rated the trail one of the 20 most dangerous hikes in the world. Glad we didn’t know that before we set off!
– Kauai Coffee Plantation
– Waimea Canyon State Park
– Poipu Beach
– Haena State Park
– Hono’Onapali Natural Reserve Area
– Na Pali Coast State Park