July 24: Kalalau (the trail that ate our day)

Woke up early for our hike along the Na Pali Coast.  The first big moment of the day was J getting our irritatingly wobbly car into a parking space that was nearly too small for the car.  Then we started out going up, and up, and up with spectacular views, then down, down, down, from Ke’e Beach to Hanakapi’ai Beach.

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The beach is glorious, soft sand and serious waves, a big river with fresh water and pools to play in, and secret caves (you can go all the way through them if you crawl in on one side) at the far end.

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Hanakapi'ai Beach IIAt Hanakapi'ai

After we played at the beach and in the river for a long time, we decided to hike up to the Hanakapi’ai waterfall.  This was going to double the time of our hike (from four miles to eight), but it seemed like a really good idea at the time.  It started to seem a little sillier once we started hiking, hiking in the heat of the valley.  This trail has many stream challenges, and lots of good mud once you get toward the top.  But we learned lessons, like (1) wade through streams rather than taking your shoes off — or take your shoes off entirely, and (2) dive into or do push-ups in pools in the rushing stream to cool yourself on the way up.

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It all became worth it once we arrived at the waterfall, which was a 300-foot wonder with a huge pool for swimming at the bottom.

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The hike back felt pretty brutal, as the day had gotten hotter and the trail somehow felt longer and longer.  J and I entertained ourselves by planning to start a shave ice stand at the helicopter landing site near Hanakapi’ai beach.  We broke up the hike with another stop for swimming in the river, and then continued back up over the ridges toward Ke’e.

Hanakapi'ai Trail

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It would be safe to say that we ended the hike feeling pretty exhausted, in varying stages of hunger, dehydration, and need for shave ice.  A Wild Cherry Pepsi has never tasted so good. Late lunch of fish tacos and burritos at Red Hot Mama’s, then ice cream at Pink’s and shave ice for J at the Wishing Well (which was significantly better than the guidebook had led us to believe).  Back home for snoozing, reading, and dinner in the cottages.

Just a side note: the fresh ahi here is like nothing I’ve ever had.  We’ve cooked in at home for the past three nights, and I’ve felt like I’ve been eating fish at a four-star restaurant.

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