Monday, October 15, 2007

Hawaii Part 5 - Na Pali Coast = Beyond Beautiful.

So our last two days of moon-en with the honey were spent along the Na Pali shore of Kaua'i. Ever since I read that this area is only accessible by boat or hiking, I was sold. One of the best ways to experience the Na Pali Coast is by the Kalalua Trail. This is an 11 mile cliff trail that run along the ocean's edge. It is beautiful, rugged, dirty, wet, rocky and really fun. The whole hike is rated as an expert level due to the condition of the trail and the fact that it must be backpacked to reach the end. Unfortunately, we did not bring out camping gear on the honeymoon, but we planned to do an out and back 8 mile hike to Hanakapai Beach and Falls. The first two miles followed the Kalalua Trail and ended at a Hanakapai Beach which is a no swimming or surfing beach due to the high number of deaths there over the years. This part of the trail wasn't too bad, just a little muddy and slippery but the views were excellent. The color of the ocean was amazing.
By the time we reached the beach, it had started to rain. We spent a little time there marveling at the size of the waves. Really giant. Due to the rain, most people headed back the the trail head at this point, but since the rain was fairly warm and didn't bother us, we quickly kept hiking leaving the Kalalua Trail.

We took a side trail back into the jungle for two miles with the destination of the 400 foot Hanakapai Falls. The trail was considered 'unmaintained' and we immediately saw this as it was much narrower and immediately put you deep into jungle thicket. We had to cross a river several times, which normally wouldn't be a big deal, but with the heavy down pore the water was raging and I did have thoughts of flash flooding. The trail soon became a river, and every once in a while we would pass people going the other way (most were turning around as the rain continued). After awhile we didn't see anyone else for a long time. We finally ran into one other couple right before we hit the falls and had to help the girl across several river crossing as she didn't seem to have much balance and fell several times. "Welcome to the jungle, we've got fun n games..."

The falls were crazy. The feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere was overwhelming. I think there was a movie filmed here, as the water spilled into a big half circle of deep rock and blocked out a lot of the light. Very cool, but we didn't stay for long as we could only keep warm by continuing to hike. It rained almost the entire way back so I think we did about 2 miles of dry hiking and 6 miles of wet. But being from Phoenix, I couldn't help but appreciate how some places get the same amount of rain in one day that we get in a whole summer. I now have a very strong desire to return to Kaua'i to backpack the entire Kalalua Trail.

After reaching the trail head, we went and took a nap on the beach seen below from the trail. We were coated in mud, water and sweat so the ocean never felt so good.

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