Vagabonding Field Report: The Kalalau Trail, Kauai

Cost/day: $30 (includes camping permit and food hiked in)

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen lately?
The fact that people are living out here for years at a time is pretty strange/amazing. Kalalau has permanent residents, even a “mayor,” hidden throughout the valley. These people grow just about everything they need to live on, and one couple even sold us some wine they make in the valley. They walked the two miles to the beach with their pet cat on a leash and sold us a bottle of some really nice pear wine. Also, this bug was pretty strange:

Describe a typical day:
Wake up in your tent, grab soap and the dishes from last night that you cooked with, walk to the river for clean up. Boil some water for instant coffee and make breakfast. Go relax on the beach, or hike into the valley, or explore the area around the beach. Make lunch over the fire. Go snorkeling or play in the waves. Watch a beautiful sunset and share some wine with a new friend. Sit under the stars and feel happy. Cook dinner on the fire, then bed time.

Describe an interesting conversation you had with a local:
There are wild goats all over the valley. Someone told us that they go to the top of the waterfall and wait for people to stand under it, then “throw” rocks at them. People have actually been injured. Supposedly they do this because kids like to throw rocks at them and they are seeking vengeance.

What do you like about where you are? Dislike?
I love how laid back and beautiful Kalalau is. Everything is photogenic and interesting, and the people there are friendly and happy. I love how simple life is, and how detached from the rest of the world you feel. I love the feeling of accomplishment you get from hiking the 11 miles in and 11 miles out to be there. I disliked constantly being covered in sand. Sand is hard to get rid of. And as beautiful as the hike was, there were some really tough moments (the narrow path along a rocky cliff wall, the heat, a pack full of camera gear).

Describe a challenge you faced:
The hike was quite challenging. For miles you climb up steep hills, only to go back down and then up and down again. It was important to be sure you were drinking clean water as well, so you have to be careful about where you get it from. Having a steri-pen probably saved us some serious stomach upset.

What new lesson did you learn?
I can survive a difficult hike! Also, you get a good lesson in how to pack for a multiple day camping trip. Don’t take anything you don’t absolutely need, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are awesome.

Where next?
Next is a weekend trip to Norway! More travel stories/photos here.

Posted by | Comments (3)  | June 19, 2013
Category: General, Vagabonding Field Reports

3 Responses to “Vagabonding Field Report: The Kalalau Trail, Kauai”

  1. Geir Says:

    Mastering treks makes you master everything! But why heavy camera gear when you have hybrids?
    And a weekend trip to Norway? That is impossible to master! (i’m from Norway). When and where?

  2. Mohamed Says:

    Of all the natural beauty on the island, nothing is more beautiful than smushed peanut-butter and jelly sandwich from the bottom of your pack after hiking all day on an empty stomach.

  3. christy parry Says:

    so right Mohamed! Geir, hopefully in the next month, I’m sure one weekend won’t be enough! and I can’t go anywhere without my camera gear 🙂