| Kalalau trail, Hawaii
Last year my soon to be mother-in-law Terri and her brother Scott had a trip planned to go to Hawaii. Scott was wanting to take Terri to his favorite place to be in the world, Hawaii. He lived and worked in Hawaii for 7 years and he had also hiked the Kalalau trail a few times himself. Even though he wasn't in good enough shape to hike it again he was wanting to take her on a helicopter ride of the Na Pali Coast and show her the beautiful cliffs and valleys that lead to the amazing Kalalau Beach, but before they got the chance to go on this awesome adventure, he passed away. Scott always said that when he was gone he wanted he ashes spread along the Kalalau trail, so Terri decided that she was going to go and for fulfill his wishes. She decided that she was going to hike the trail just as he did in his younger years and she wanted to do it with her daughter Raechel, my fiance. So it was decided that I would also go, except there was just one catch. Our 14 month old daughter would have to come along for the ride. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal, but this trail is supposed to be pretty intense. Backpacker Magazine has it rated as one of America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes and its 11 miles and 5,000 feet of elevation gain just to reach Kalalau Beach. Knowing this and having our baby Alexa with us, we just planned on going and making it as far as we felt comfortable and where ever we decided to turn around that it would still be an amazing trip.
We flew out there Halloween night, got the rental car and some dinner and headed for the trailhead to set up camp. We came across a local that said that there was a nice beach about a mile from the trailhead that would be a good place to camp for the night. It was right off the water and we could hear the crashing waves of the ocean all night. We woke up early in the morning to check out the view and to give Alexa some time to play in the ocean for the first time.
Alexa's first steps in the ocean
We hung out there for a little while longer and then finished packing up and were off to the trailhead.
View from near the start.
The first two miles are fairly easy. We made good time as we soaked up all the views around us.
At the two mile mark we came to Hanakapiai Beach. Here we took off our shoes to go across the first of many river crossings.
Hanakapiai Beach from the trail above
We only stayed Hanakapiai for a short time. We got back on the trail heading towards Hanakoa valley making sure we would have enough daylight to set up camp.
This is what the trail was like for a good portion of the hike, but there are a few places that are quite a bit steeper and more narrow.
We were going to camp near the Hanakoa stream which is 6 miles from the start, so once we entered Hanakoa valley we all got pretty excited knowing that we had less then a half mile left.
It was morning before we knew it and we were anxious to get on the trail and make the last 5 miles to Kalalau Beach, but we knew that the most dangerous part of the trip was just around the corner. After about a mile and half or so we came to our turn around point. The trail here was extremely narrow, high up on the steep and rocky cliffs. If we didn't have Alexa with us I'm sure we would have just taken our time and made it across, but we felt that it wasn't worth the risk. The next day it was made clear that we made the right call as it started to rain and continued to on and off for two days making the trail extremely slick.
Pic of the turn around point. You can see the trail on the middle left as it raps around the cliff
Terri decided that she would spread part of his ashes here
Since we weren't going to continue on we decided just to head back to where we camped the night before and set up camp again and have a relaxing day, resting and exploring the area near by.
Taking it easy at camp
That night we went to bed with clear skys to be woken up in the middle of the night in a down pour. Bad night for Raechel to decide to sleep in the hammock. It rained until 8am and our plan was to hike back out to Hanakapiai Beach and camp there for the night, but as soon as we reached Hanakoa Stream we discovered that through the night it turned into a rushing river. It took us a long time to find a place that we could safely cross with Alexa.
We safely crossed the river and were on our way back to the beach. All the rain made the trail really slick in spots, but we took our time and everyone made it out safely.
Alexa hanging out in her full rain gear
Our veiw from our camp spot on Hanakapiai Beach
Even though the rain continued we still had a fun time hanging out at camp.
No worries, I can take over the navigation from here
Cool cave on the beach
The next morning we got up and decided to head back out to the car. We only had two more miles left so we took our time packing up. Terri spread the rest of Scotts ashes at the beach and we headed out.
Nice and wet
And we made it out
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