Kalalau Trail (Kauai – Hawaii)
Some backpacking trips boarder on the miraculous. Some touch the divine. The Kalalau Trail on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai pass beyond to an unimaginable paradise where one dreams of Polynesisan ancestors washing ashore in an endless time. An endless ocean surrounds each step on this trail, rain forests of unspeakable lushness enclose the pathways and sun parched lava barrens give way to countless waterfalls and swimming holes.
This trail is not to be taken lightly, the sun is extremely strong and dehydration is a very real hazard. I recommend a 2 litre water bladder with a hose for constant refuelling. 4 litres throughout the day is not unreasonable. A sun hat is essential and don’t risk the crux (Crawler’s ledge) in the rain. The mud is very greasy when wet and you don’t want to slip over the edge, down the sharp cliffs and into the huge surf. Hiking poles take the edge off, especially at the exposed section (Crawler’s Ledge). Given the number of fatalities on this trail, some chains would be nice! Also flash floods swell the creeks to torrents in minutes that can sweep you to your doom or leave you stranded for days. Leptospirosis is present in the streams so treatment is advised. Unless of course, your living in the Kalalau Valley, barefoot is the only way.
Our experience was three days long. Permits in hand as we left the trail head and wandered the jungle trails for hours before being deluged in a huge downpour that resulted in us abandoning our attempt to cross crawlers ledge and the greasy mud. We camped at Hanakoa campground enroute.
The following day, we crossed the ledge and headed to Kalalau Beach. After stuffing ourselves with wild mangos, guava and passion fruit we arrived at the Kalalau Beach campground. FYI Don’t gorge yourself on passion fruits on this hike, we found about 25 in a pool that must have been washed down from a vine further upstream. Passion fruit (Passiflora) have a natural sedative in them so maybe don’t eat a tonne of them enroute if you want energy!
Our trip back we completed in one day and were joined by Hailey from Honolulu who was a stellar hiking companion! Hanakoa falls was especially awesome as a side trip at Hanakoa campground.
We met a dog at Hanakapi’ai beach who hiked ahead of us all the way back to Ke’e parking lot. He didn’t want food, just company, he passed up our Ahi Tuna Jerky for some wild plant on the side of the trail.
The most beautiful trip on earth…
Photo Credit: Giulia Fatica aka Princess Kananaskis, Kaptain Kananaskis