For two years, I have wanted to hike The Kalalau Trail in Kauai. This November, I had the opportunity to do the hike! I went solo, had a wonderful experience, and can’t wait to do it again. The next time I go, I’m dragging friends with me! This post recaps some tips I have about the hike.
Keep reading for my thoughts after a quick disclaimer and trail map!
DISCLAIMER: Please do your research to make sure you buy the supplies that best suit your needs. I provide this information and these references for informational purposes only. I assume no liability and provide no warranties for these products, the use of these products, the characteristics of the hike, or any other information provided herein. The links I have provided take you to Amazon.com, and I may benefit financially from purchases made using these links.
And now, here are some tips I want to share with you about the magnificent Kalalau Trail!
Make sure you are well packed (consider size and weight). Bring a proper hiking backpack with a sturdy internal frame, and make sure you’ve packed your load so it’s well balanced on your back. My North Face Terra 65 Backpack
Make sure you consider your own needs and pack all the equipment you will need throughout your hike and stay on Kalalau Beach. Remember your toilet paper- there are self composting toilets on the beach. Additionally, remember that you should leave zero footprint on your exit. Everything you carry in should be carried out! That includes all equipment and waste!
Put reasonable thought into the food you’re toting. You’ll be eating at least two meals a day, but remember you’re packing everything in, and out, in your backpack. Freeze dried meals are a reliable food source as long as you have a way to boil water to cook them. I brought enough Mountain House pro-paks
to last 3-days given my appetite and the calorie drain from the hike.
Get yourself a reliable water purifier. You will be hiking 11 miles in and 11 miles out. If you choose to hike to the Hanakapi’ai Waterfall, you’ll be adding 4 miles to the hike. My choice was the Camelbak All Clear Purifier
. It is expensive, but it did the trick. Note: you will still see floating particles in the water you purify! If you want to pre-strain the water, you can always get the CamelBak All Clear Pre-Filter
shortly before my hike, and the money was very, very well spent. The hike includes stream crossings, loose dirt, and slippery terrain! Your boots will keep your feet properly planted in the toughest spots on the trail.
! Your walking stick will be a very handy tool. It will serve as a third point of contact throughout your hike and over water crossings, where it may come in extra handy. Some people prefer hiking with one stick, while others prefer using two.
DO NOT PUSH YOUR LIMITS. Take the trail at your own pace, and NEVER, NEVER cross terrain (including streams) where the difficulty level exceeds your skill level.
Start early! This means leaving your hotel before dawn. I started the hike at 6:30am, in the dark. This meant leaving my hotel at 5am. The hike begins with a few hours of steep, endless switch backs. This is my least favorite part of the hike! It tries your will and assaults your legs!
The Hanakoa Campground at Mile 6 is the only sanctioned campground before Kalalau Beach, for those who can’t hike any further on day 1. Hanakoa is, unfortunately, a mosquito haven! Make sure you have your bug repellent/protectant if you intend on stopping for an overnight here.
Miles 7-9 will test anyone with a fear of heights. Hike safely and conquer this section of trail as many have before you. The trail runs pretty close to the edge and has sections of loose gravel. This isn’t the part of the hike to be social and playful! Instead, pay attention to the trail and everyone will be safe.
Don’t stop hiking when you first see camp sites at Kalalau Beach! After the infamous Red Hill, you will be tired and relieved by your arrival at Kalalau Beach. For the best camping, and best access to fresh water for purifying and drinking, don’t stop yet! Hike about 10 more minutes to get to the “better” side of the campgrounds.
Last trip, I was not able to visit the Kalalau Valley. When I visit next, I’d like to venture out into the valley for a few hours on one of our rest days!
On the way back, start your hike around 7am. It begins with an early stream crossing, and then a steep ascent over Red Hill, which will remind you how difficult a challenge you will overcome by the end of the day! Use this early challenge as inspiration, and kick some Red Hill butt!
Finally, I must tell you about your arrival at Haena State Park, where you officially finish your hike. You will see Ke’e Beach on your way down the last descent, and you may be overcome with emotions! You will have just conquered a very, very tough hike. I found myself singing aloud, with some small, joyful tears in the corner of my eyes. It was that good.
Take some time to reflect and appreciate all the beauty you encountered along the way. The hike was well worth it. I hope you’ll agree.
“People should be able to share their life with whoever they want, and the role of government is to administer that contract that they agree to enter into … We in government don’t determine the quality or the validity of people’s relationships. If we did, we would not issue three quarters of the marriage licenses we do.”—US. Senator Diane Savino, 2009
This morning, I left SFO for my first trip to Italy. I’m excited to be in the air and on my way to meet Ben in Rome.. Because this morning I wasn’t so sure I was going to make it.
Before there’s any confusion, let’s get one things straight: Ben is straight. 1 of my 3 best friends. After that important aside, back to my story. :D
After doing my best to finish up a couple things at work last night, I got home and started packing, planning to also reboot the work machine and finish those things. Instead, I heated a pot of tea and laid down “for a minute”. The rest is history. I woke up at 6:30 for an 8:30 flight. As my friend Janet said this morning, “Now you gotta believe in Friday the 13th!”
Janet, I guess I now also believe in happy endings. :) I was able to dump my checked luggage and go with carry-on only, and decided the cost to park at SFO long-term parking outweighed the pain of not making my flight. (Ben would have thought I was the BEST if I was a no show in Rome!) So I rushed to the airport and made it, passport in hand, with time to spare.
This is sure to be another unforgettable trip for the books. Follow us through Italy!!
Our itinerary: Naples, Pompeii/Herculaneum, Sorrento, Rome, Vatican City, Cinque Terre, Pisa, Florence, Venice!
Be well, enjoy your summer days, and I will look forward to seeing everyone soon!
Nissan Motor Co. is reviving Datsun models in emerging markets, where the biggest growth is expected for affordable stylish vehicles, and has no plans to bring the brand back in developed markets, Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said Wednesday.
The new iPad has a display with a 2,048-by-1,536-pixel resolution. The previous two generations had a resolution of 1,024-by-768. This gives this 9.7-inch screen more pixels than the HDTVs that sit in many living rooms. The result is certifiably jaw-dropping.
I watched The Real Americans last weekend, really enjoyed it, and appreciated Dan Hoyle’s ability to emulate the different characters he met on his 3-month road trip. I recommend seeing it if you can get tickets before the show closes on 4/14! “Portrayed with humor, sympathy, confusion, angst, and song, this vivid performance challenges the audience to move beyond their bafflement and engage with the future of a politically polarized America.”