Kauai: Part I Kalalau

How do I even begin describing our trip?  It was literally full of rainbows, countless waterfalls, and chickens.    

It all started back around the new year.  Finances had lined up and it just seemed like the right time to book that vacation both Bron and I had been dreaming about and make it into a reality!  In all of Hawaii, Kauai has the reputation as the adventure island: plenty of hiking, kayaking, and places to explore.  It wound up being a perfect fit for the way Bron and I like to vacation!  The island was unpopulated and quaint with cute little shops and local restaurants and beaches with hardly anyone on them!  It was very laid back and stunningly beautiful.

In fact, the very stunningly beautiful Napali coast line is exactly where we began our vacation adventures.  Steep green mountains jut out of the Pacific Ocean creating a primitive eye candy scene like I've never laid eyes on before.  We hiked it, all ll eleven miles in to a gorgeous and historically sacred beach area known as Kalalau that cannot be accessed any other way.  No boats.  No planes.  Only on foot.  (Unless one breaks the law, which we actually saw happen.)  But since we're law-abiding citizens, we procured a permit and began our hike the morning after we flew in.

We flew in on a Saturday night after the sun had set and rented a convertible mustang.  Woohoo!  (Apparently, everyone rents those while in Hawaii.  Haha.)  We couldn't see a thing as we drove along the dark coastal highway, but I could smell the salty ocean and feel the humid breeze.  The blanket of night was such a tease!  I was sooo excited to SEE what was the island had in store for us the next morning.  I wasn't disappointed.  In fact, I was awoken by a rooster's crows just as the sun began to rise.  The whole island is overrun by wild chickens!  Such a funny surprise.        

The 11 mile hike in to Kalalau is very do-able, but it isn't for the faint of heart.  It winds in and out of the jutting terrain, gaining and losing elevation, one hill after another.  I'd recommend having at least some backpacking experience.  With our Teton backpacking trip under my belt from the previous summer, I knew I had the mental fortitude to conquer this hike.  I also knew that I needed to constantly eat and drink.  Only our family and close friends knew our little secret at that time: I was eleven weeks pregnant!  And sick and tired as a dog.  Fortunately, all the ocean air, exercise, and fresh fruit kept me from throwing up the entire week.  I didn't throw up all week!  It was truly a little miracle.  In other words, I'm moving to Hawaii if I'm ever pregnant again.  :)

Feeling half-miserable and having miscarried the year before, I was pretty paranoid about getting enough food and fluids.  I also knew I couldn't possibly strap a backpack around my bloated belly.  But Bron was determined to make this hike work.  And I'm so glad he did!  I called him Sherpa Bron because he carried the majority of our supplies in his backpack.  It was totally worth it.  Months later, we're still talking about this hike!  It was our last big adventure of the year... until Baby makes his debut in November.  I'll let the pictures do all the explaining...         

^^My handsome man, Sherpa Bron, with the majority of our gear strapped to his back.^^
^^First view of the Napali Coast^^
^^Fruit hanging out over the ocean.^^
^^Just completely covered in green!  I kept expecting to see some monkeys, but of course we never did.^^
^^All waterfalls and streams lead to the ocean.^^
^^The clouds just rolled in and out all day long while Bron and I's jaws scraped the clay-like dirt.  We were in awe.^^
^^I was like a giddy 8 year old girl over these PINK blooming trees!^^

In the above two photos you can see where the trail felt a little more treacherous than it really was.  It was the combination of the wind and being exposed on the cliff's edge that made me feel a little nervous.  But we carefully trekked along and made it across.

^^This view is for reals?!?!  Truly a God-made paradise.^^
^^Oh, how lucky I am to explore and vacation alongside this guy!  This whole experience is one we'll remember for the rest of our lives.^^
^^There's the tiny baby bump!^^
^^Wow.  Just WOW.^^

We made it to Kalalau in the late afternoon!  And I still had a smile on my face.  We stopped at a creek crossing to talk with a local who has lived about half his life out there.  It was fun to hear about his and others' efforts to farm things like rice and beans and how they hide from the authorities.  Another guy came down while we were talking, stripped down to his birthday suit, and washed himself right there in front of us.  It was definitely much more awkward for me than it was for him!  Haha.  Apparently, some of the folks who live there are nude all time. 

Bron and I hiked a little further and found a good campsite to hang up our hammocks.  (I'm regretting I never got a picture.  But I actually missed a lot of pictures on this whole Hawaii trip.  I blame pregnancy.)  Then we headed down to the beach to bathe in the cooold waterfall there and eat our dinner of sandwiches on the sand.  It felt so good to simply relax and take everything all in!  Kalalau is an incredible place.  We watched the sunset on the beach, massaged each others' sore shoulders, and then crashed into our hammocks not long after dark.  I was beat!  It rained the whole night, but it was a calming pitter-patter.  And we slept with our bags completely un-zipped.  It never got cold.  I could get used to that kind of camping!  

^^Kalalau.  View of the cliffs on the beach at sunset.^^

The next day, we hiked out.  In hind sight, we should have camped another night, but we're like little kids when we're on vacation: there's just too much to explore and not enough time!  We did, however, spare enough time on our return hike to take a niiice refreshing dip in this secluded waterfall and pool.  One of my favorite memories, actually.


  1. I'm so glad you and your husband got to do this together! I've been to Kauai years and years ago but we are thinking of going again the end of this year or early spring and I've my heart set on this hike. I loved this post. I loved your little bump making a debut here too. :) And I would love to hear more about your kayaks!

  2. Sooo beautiful! I went to Kauai as a kid, but when my husband and I went to Hawaii last year, we did Oahu. I like Oahu, but I think Kauai is even better! Looks so beautiful! :)

  3. Beautiful! Kyle and I are planning to visit Kauai the end of January next year, as long as all the stars align for us. Seeing your pictures makes me excited! I giggled at your mention of renting the convertible. Kyle and I were totally dreaming of renting a Jeep Wrangler and zipping around the with the top off. :)


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