The Kalalau Trail

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir

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The Kalalau Trail is listed as one of the worlds most dangerous hikes, of course just the sound of that makes my nerves cringe a little bit but of course for my husband he wants to mark every hike on that list off 🙂 When we both decided we wanted to tackle this hike back in January we each had our different reasons. His of course was primarily because its on the list of worlds most dangerous hikes, but also because its the only land access to Kalalau beach and along the Napali Coast. This hike for me was not about marking a dangerous hike off, it was about facing fears of heights, and knowing that I can do anything that I set my mind to. After purchasing our permits, there was no turing back. So for the following 3 months we researched, planned….packed….unpacked…. and repacked until we had exactly what we needed narrowed down.

March 19 finally rolled around and we were passed ready to experience this highly sought after trail for ourselves. Lucas was extremely excited, so was I, but I also had some nerves growing the last couple weeks leading up to this day. I had a backup plan if I ever HAD to turn around but the second we began the trail, I knew I would be just fine! We had woken up to a beautiful, flawless weather forecast for the two days we would be on the trail, and I knew without a doubt that was God’s way of telling me that “I got this!” Because if we had any chance of rain in the forecast the trail conditions would drastically change and become very dangerous, making the trail even more frightening and technical.

We began the trail at 7:00 am and quickly made it to Hanakapei Beach (2 miles in). We have done this part of the trail numerous times and easily crossed over the river and took a break along the beach for a few minutes. This part of the trail and beach are always extremely packed so one nice thing about leaving out so early is being able to enjoy the trail by yourself.

After we put our packs back on, we ventured up the hill to the next phase of the trail, beginning a new part of the path we have not yet explored. From here on out all the views and ridges were new to us so we took our time and paced along snapping photos and taking breaks when needed. The first few miles until you get to Hanakoa Camp (6 mile mark) are fairly easy, with the trail going up and down along the ridge as well as through the jungle. From mile 6 on it gets a little technical in some spots. Loose rocks, steep cliffs and of course “crawlers ledge”. For a few weeks leading up to the trip i did a lot of research on Crawlers ledge, probably watched way to many videos and kinda freaked myself out. I am not terrified of heights but am bothered by them a little bit so I wanted to be prepared. As we came up to mile 7 and were fixing to face crawlers ledge (actually a little past 7 miles) we quickly realized it wasn’t as bad as its made out to be. Sure its definitely a sheer drop off, and there is possibility of someone easily falling off if your not careful with your footing, but its no where near as sketchy as many make it out to be. I personally felt there were way worse parts of the trail where you could easily have slipped and fell, at least on crawlers ledge its solid rock instead of loose dirt and small rocks. Take it slow and watch where you put your feet, and of course if you want to look around make sure you stop first!

After mile 7 it felt like we were so close to being there, only 4 miles left and we would finally be able to enjoy the majestic Kalalau Beach, we were totally looking forward to jumping into the water! The shade along the trail began to get slimmer and slimmer and we were pretty much out in the open with the sun beaming down on us the rest of the way. As we neared “clay hill” we were greeted in the distance by the beautiful secluded beach we had traveled so far to see. Trying not to get barn fever as Lucas calls it, (where as you get closer to your destination you speed up unknowingly) we made our way closer and closer until we finally stepped foot on the sands! 7 hours of hiking and we made it! The feeling when you finally get there is unbelievable!

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We quickly found a spot to set up our camp and go check out the waterfall to cool off. Afterwards we headed to the beach to walk around and explore the caves! Such a neat place to be! Between the waterfall, caves, amazing beach and diversity of people, our experience will without a doubt be one for the books! We met some amazing people who each had there own reasons from making the trek. We met people from all over including a couple from Victoria Canada who were trail running along the way (totally impressive!), a super funny gentleman from Dubai who no matter what was going to find a way to not have to hike back out (he was hilarious and had such a fun personality!), and a super sweet couple from New Zealand which we hiked out with the next day just to find out they had no idea the trail was on the list of worlds most dangerous hikes, but they excelled on the trip and made it there and back no problem.

Our trip was one we will never forget. It was physically exhausting and mentally trying but the entire time we were surrounded by pure beauty. Every turn, every ridge (I believe there were 5) had its own unique setting, the further we went on trail the more beautiful the Napali Coast became, urging us to keep going, and we’re so glad we did because we will never forget it!

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More Waterfall Adventures…

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We have been on Kauai now a little over 2 months, being a small island you would think you’d run out of things to do and see but Kauai has proven to be quite the island for adventure. With its breathtaking beaches and the never ending list of hiking trails we have yet to run out of places to explore, which leads us to our most recent visits of two spectacular waterfalls!

Both growing up in the mountains of North Carolina we were spoiled with beautiful mountains and amazing waterfalls. Waterfalls have always been a love of both of ours so of course when we travel we are drawn to seek them out wherever we go! Kauai definitely has its fair share of waterfalls and you can bet that we will try to mark off as many as we can before our time on the island ends.

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The last couple weeks we had been scoping out the best kayak rental companies on the island so we can explore Wailua river and hike to “Secret Falls”, seems as everywhere we turned we were hearing about how stunning these falls were so we had to see what everyone was raging about, but the more we priced around the thought of spending $80-$100 on a kayak rental/tour to these falls the more we kept putting it off asking ourselves would it be worth that? So being the thrifters that we are, we started a plan B! We starting looking at thrift stores, craigslist and Facebook yard sale sites to find a couple kayaks that we could buy, use and resell, hoping to at least break even after it was all said and done. Well a deal finally slapped us in the face as we got a call about a 2 person kayak for $50! Of course we nabbed it up, the only thing we had to get now were a couple paddles which set us back another $5o, but having $100 into a 2 person kayak that we could use for the next few months and easily break even on after we were done was a no brainer win-win!

So now that we had our kayak, we set off to finally explore Uluwehi falls (Secret Falls). We put in near Wailua Beach and starting paddling up river, it was the absolute perfect day to be outside and we thoroughly enjoyed our trek up the quiet river. There comes a point in the river where you need to make a right turn, this will take you further upstream it becomes more narrow as you keep going, leading to a small beach area where you pull your boat up onto firm ground, you will easily spot the trail as its pretty well traveled with plenty of trail signs. The hiking portion is only about 20 min hike and can be slippery at times. Be prepared to get muddy! You will cross through a few streams, hike along the banks into the beautiful tropical forests and eventually be greeted by the amazing falls. It truly was a sight to see! Overall between the kayaking and the hiking (with about an hour at the falls) we spent a total of 4-5 hours on the adventure.

Another quick waterfall hike we did the following day were to the Ho’opi’i Falls. They are easily accessible just requires a short 20 min hike or so to the first falls. When doing research before heading out, many people found it tricky to find but luckily we had fantastic directions that we found on a trip advisor review and were able to find it no problem. I even talked my self into jumping off the rocks into this one (only about 15 ft or so) If you have desire to hike to the second falls (which we did) follow the lower trail that goes along the river pretty cool falls but In our opinion the first falls was our favorite out of the two.