Listed in the top 20 hikes to do in a life time & dubbed one of the most magical places in the world; is the Kalalau trail.The trail is on the island of Kuai and is entwined on the stunning Na Pali coast; it is an avid hikers dream.
So…how did I end up 11 miles (17km) in the middle of bum f*** nowhere to find myself of a beach that hardly looked real??
I flew to Hawaii in March, 2016 to visit a beautiful family whom I had babysat for during my time living in Canada. They had always reiterated that I come visit and before I knew it I had surprised Sam with a lei around his neck and were boarding our flights to Honolulu.
Looking for places to adventure in Hawaii, our beautiful friends recommended that the trek to Kalalau is a must. So with an open mind and a tad naïve about how fit we were, we set out to hike Kauai’s sacred land. Landing in Kauai, we picked up our below average car and drove to Kalalau’s busy trail head at Ke’e Beach. The trailhead was quite busy with a combination of day tourists and those who were about to endeavor the hike and had probably been planning to do so all their lives. Needleless to say, we were some where in the middle....
Now this hike may not be Everest base camp but likewise the trek is not for the faint hearted. It is not a cruisy 22 miles (35km). It is demanding both physically and mentally. The trail requires you to cross running streams, walk through dense mud, say hi to but naked men, walk narrow and arid cliff faces, just meters above roaring crashing waves. The trail has also claimed lives and if you’re scared of heights then I suggest you have got some sacking up to do.
Our Hawaiian family had informed us to choose a rock from the trailhead & carrying it with us on our journey. This was to promote good spiritual karma and show respect to the ancient Hawaiians as we cross their sacred land.
I am not going to bore you with what I saw, ate and endured every mile along the way. But I will tell you I had my fair share of winging with sore shoulders and sore feet from inadequate fake Nike’s I had bought from Thailand.
At the 6-mile mark, the sun was setting and we needed to set up camp. We had a spot nearby some American hunters who were decked in camouflage seeking bore. Pulling out our kid’s size two-man tent, we also discovered Sam had been carrying heavy tent poles for an 8 man tent we didn’t have.
As night fell, we scooted in our trendy kid’s tent parked in the dense bush and got comfy with sleeping on a diagonal (to fit).
The next morning the sun greeted us and after stashing the tent poles we didn’t need & filtering some water from a nearby stream; we began a new day of hiking. We hiked the steep cliffs of Crawlers ledge, red dirt, rocks and bush until we reached the beautiful and breathtaking Kalalau beach. With joy flight helicopters circling above, I felt a sense of gratitude that I was here, feet planted on the earth and immersed in nature and everything that came with it.
Walking the final stretch to the beach the rush of relief and adrenalin set in. Each step was taken with more drive and more persistence. I looked up to see how much further I had to move my jelly legs and I could see green hills, a beach and a naked girl with long blonde hair frolicking over the hills. Was this place even real?
Reaching Kalalau beach was a something else. Taking off our heavy backpacks relieving our sore shoulders was up there with the world’s greatest feelings (well its up there). We passed many other campers and locals who had set up their camp, some in tents, some just slept in hammocks swinging from trees. Many campers and locals greeted & congratulated us , some even said “welcome home” as we joined the surreal community that was Kalalau.
I couldn’t wait to explore so I quickly changed into my swimmers and got going.
Walking toward the beach I saw a couple with a young baby, and what seemed like a little hippy hub area decked with hammocks, food everywhere and mostly naked people just hanging looooose! I could hardly believe my eyes, did people actually live here?? How did they casually have large bottles of tomato sauce?
After a swim in the ocean at the beach, Sam and I ventured to the communal drinking and shower waterfall. Close by there was also communal vegetable patch that many cared for and was a source of the locals living. Did Adam and Eve live here?
As the sun began to set we strolled down the beach. Sam turned to me and said “is that a dog?” In the distance we could see a small black animal with some people so we decided to check it out. Turns out the ‘black dog’ was a baby black goat named ‘Luna’ who was ‘channeled’ by the local girl with the long blonde hair. The goat loved to balance on the girls' back whilst doing yoga. Luna was a dear little thing who was hand made a shell collar and enjoyed jumping on a blow up mattress. I wanted to take a million photos but I was quite conscious of shoving technology in peoples faces who had quite clearly come here to get away from it all.
The day shook hands with night and Sam and I layed on the beach looking toward the stars. Never in my life had I seen a night as clear as this one. The sky was lit up with glistening and shooting stars reminding us of how small we were. I remember thinking, this place could quite possibly be paradise.(maybey even Coldplay wrote their song about it? I dunno)
To say the least Kalalau was one of the most incredible things I have done in my life. You just cannot simply sum up the experience and scenery.
Thanks pup for making the journey with me, I am forever thankful.