NaPali Coast
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9/9/04

The Kalalau Trail is the ultimate and most famous hike in Hawaii. Everyone we talked to who was in Kauai said to definitely hike part of it. It's 11miles each way and connects the northern end with the north western end of the island.49-Na Pali.jpg (231771 bytes) You need a permit to go beyond the first couple miles, so we chose to hike the first 2 miles to Hanakapi'ai Beach, then inland 2 miles to Hanakapi'ai Falls. It's only 4 miles each way, but a rough 4 miles over wet rocks, roots, and plenty of mud. Oh yeah, hardly any flat spots either. The scenery is beautiful right from the first steps where you park at Ke'e Beach. You gain some altitude at first and the views open up both ways along the NaPali coast. It was really awesome looking down the bright green jungle-like coast; it appeared to just drop off into the blue and green water. We started out plenty early, but it was warm and humid already. There is no way around the slipping and sliding ,and it seemed inevitable to take a spill or two. After a while we started heading down towards a drainage and could hear waves pounding on the beach. We couldn't see the beach yet, but according to the sign there have been 82 deaths here due to 55-Na Pali.jpg (244885 bytes) the surf and rough seas. The first stream crossing wasn't too bad and there was a rope to hold onto in case it gets above the thigh deep height that it was already. The beach was secluded, beautiful, and easy to see why people camp there. After hanging out for a bit we headed towards where we thought the trail was. It's kinda hidden, but with some poking around, we were on it and heading in.  It was jungle terrain, having even more mud and wet roots than the trail to the beach. The bamboo trees were HUGE and it looked like plenty of Gilligan's Island type huts could be built. A cool rain/mist was welcomed as we pressed on deeper and deeper. We passed a guy on his way back saying that he turned around because of a tricky stream crossing. Soon enough we were there (completely covered in mud) and carefully hopped across the slippery boulders and through the water. Since we were already soaked and covered in mud, the water was somewhat of a relief. Orange tape marked a57-Na Pali.jpg (148548 bytes) couple tricky spots (after I went the wrong way and fell flat on my ass), and we were starting to get glimpses of the gigantic waterfall we were heading towards. Some more slipping around and we broke out of the jungle to the base of the waterfall and a giant pool. It was AMAZING and HUGE!!! At the pool we took a dip and the closer we got, the stronger the wind and mist was pushing us backwards, sounded like a freight train flying right by! After the chilly swim and some pictures, we had lunch and a good long break before heading back down the trail. The return trip was pretty uneventful except for plenty more slippin' and sliddin'. As soon as we got to the trailhead we ditched the hiking stuff and grabbed the snorkeling stuff for Ke'e Beach right where we were parked! Rumor had it there were sea turtles feeding on the coral there, and sure enough!, plenty of them. Not as many fish as Kealakekua Bay, 59-Kee.jpg (156320 bytes) but the turtles were awesome! They didn't mind you getting close and just floating along with them watching and taking pictures. The water wasn't real deep. We either had to find channels in the coral to swim through, or push along with our hands to avoid getting a coral-cheese-grater across the chest and legs!

50-Na Pali.jpg (106794 bytes) View up the NaPali Coast; Warning signs at

52-Na Pali.jpg (185324 bytes)    54-Na Pali.jpg (200266 bytes) First stream crossing; Looking up the river 53-Na Pali.jpg (167275 bytes)

56-Na Pali.jpg (190725 bytes) Gigantic waterfall and swimming underneath it 58-Na Pali.jpg (161834 bytes)

Sea turtles at Ke'e Beach 60-Kee.jpg (153085 bytes)    61-Kee.jpg (173423 bytes)    62-Kee.jpg (205944 bytes)    63-Kee.jpg (197370 bytes)