Our friends from Vancouver decided to hike out today even though they had permits to stay another night. They figured that the hike in- split into two days- was tough enough that they wanted a cushion day just in case the weather turns on them. We considered doing the same but ultimately decided to take our chances. We wanted to spend a little time exploring the valley.
Since I didn’t do any homework on what’s in Kalalau Valley, we had no idea what to expect to find at the end of the valley. It was a 2 mile hike with gentle elevation gain. The mosquitos were even more vicious than on the Kalalau Trail and we hustled along because a moment’s rest meant a dozen or so mosquito bites. Thankfully our Vancouver friends left us a bottle of bug spray which was able to keep mosquitos at bay temporarily. My sweet flavor of sweat quickly turned me into a moving blood bank for these little vampires. Tricia was not faring much better but somehow she didn’t itch from the mosquito bites. From my perspective, this was both a blessing and a curse: she wasn’t bothered as much by the bites but she didn’t even know she was getting bit by these buggers.
Just when I started to wonder whether our efforts were going to pay off, we found ourselves standing in front of a series of waterfalls with at least three large swim holes. Someone even put up a rope from an overhanging tree at the bottom swim hole. And there was no one around! Did I skinny dip? You bet. I dunked my naked butt in all the natural pools and swung on the rope like a clumsy hairless monkey. I had so much fun at the waterfalls that I forgot about the pesky mosquitos on our way out of the valley. They didn’t seem to bother me as much anymore. We even stopped to appreciate a beautiful wild orchid on our way out.
That evening we made dinner on the beach, watched the sunset into a dense cloud on the horizon, and gazed at stars faintly piercing through some drifting thin clouds.
Today was our last day on the Na Pali Coast. Considering that it took us a total of 7.5 hours to get to the beach, we expected the same length of time on the way out. My biggest worry was the weather. We could get in serious trouble if it starts to downpour when we are on the red dirt section in mile 8 or the Crawler’s Ledge in mile 7. We wanted to start early. I set my alarm for the first time on this trek and woke up at 6:45 am. But we weren’t ready to get on the trail until after 8 am. Hawaii had us on island time.
The weather turned out to be perfect. It didn’t rain at all and the overcast clouds blocked the sun from beating down on us. We marched on through the red dirt section in mile 8 and passed Crawler’s Ledge in mile 7 without any trouble. The only notable incident during those 11 miles actually happened towards the end. At mile 2, I lost my footing while crossing Hanakapi’ai stream and soaked half of backpack. Fortunately, I lined each section of my backpack with garbage bags so nothing important go wet. Since I got my boots wet, I soaked them in the stream and washed the mud off.
We got back to the trailhead just before 4pm. Tricia volunteered to run down to get the car and I took the opportunity to take a shower at Ke’e beach. “Did you take a shower while I ran down to get the car?” I could see the jealousy in her eyes so I tried to brush it off, “oh i just rinsed really quickly. You know, there was a huge crowd so it’s not really a shower.” I couldn’t even convince myself: it felt so good to take a shower. She obvious got to shower first when we checked in the hotel. It’s all good.
We had seven days in Kauai on this trip. We spent four days and three nights hiking and camping the Na Pali Coast. We had one day before Na Pali Coast to explore the west side of Kauai and two days after Na Pali Coast to explore the south side of Kauai. By exploring, I meant we drove around the island indulging ourselves liberally with Hawaiian food and took some short days hikes. I am writing my next post on the food we had on this trip. Of course I took food pictures, how is that a question?