North Shore and Na Pali

Overlook on Kalalau Trail
After a week in Hawaii, we thought we'd seen it all, but we were just beginning! We'd been told that the parking lot at Ke'e beach filled early so we headed out for another early morning. We put on our hiking boots and scrambled up the Kalalau Trail. This 11-mile trail across the Na Pali area is the only way to cross this coastline. There is no road here. A camping permit is needed to hike the entire route, so we chose a day hike. We decided to hike 2 miles to the Hanakapi'ai Beach and then 2 more miles up to the falls. Parts of the trail can be closed at some times of the year because of muddy, slick trails. You also have to cross streams which can be a problem at certain times.
Because of the winter rain, the trail was rocky, muddy, and slippery. The rugged trail also contained lots of tree roots and other obstacles. The streams were running, but not too bad. The overlooks were stunning.

As we arrived at the overlook above the beach, we were greeted with a sad sign listing eight people who had drown in the ocean at this beach since 1995. The latest fatality was just two months ago. The winter surf was high and could easily pull someone out into the ocean or into the rocks. After arriving back on the mainland, we heard that many beaches on Kaua'i were being temporarily closed for this reason. We could understand the concern.
We headed down the hill to the stream near the beach. Lots of water was running and we had a tough time finding somewhere to cross. Annette slipped on a rock and got her boots soaked, but we made it across. The unmaintained trail to the falls was hard to find. Rather than heading down the wrong trail, we decided to spend some time on the beach and lay Annette's socks out to dry.
The picture below on the left shows the view from our relaxing rock cove. The other photos show the power of the winter surf and waves.
Overlooking Hanakapi'ai

Larry relaxing
in our secluded cove

We had the most relaxing day of our vacation. Because we started early, there were few people on the beach when we arrived. We headed to a quiet area, walking back across the stream and along the water. We were heading to a sand beach between the ocean and a cliff when our iinternal alarms' went off. We realized that the sand was wet to the cliff. This meant that at some recent instance, the tide and waves came all the way up. We should not be here! About the same time, a wave brought water up to our knees and we scampered back toward the more safe rocks and vegetation.

We found a rocky area above the tide line, took off our packs, and got out the blanket. Annette took off her boots and sat her socks in the sun.
After a snack of yogurt and 'nilla wafers, it was time for some relaxation. We got out our sketchbooks and pencils.

As the time got later, more people appeared. It was interesting to see how people reacted to the rocks, waves, and water.

Finally, we decided it was time to head back. Along the way, we saw some interesting creatures. Although the only native mammal left on the island is a bat, we were able to see some more recent additions to the island. At one time, there were no snakes on the island. Recently, a brown Asian snake has taken hold on some islands, so snakes are probably here to stay. There are many feral cats roaming the parks. Many cats were lelt by early visiting ships.

As we headed along the trail, Larry spotted this cute little mouse. Without squirrels, the island is void of small creatures like this. We got the video camera out and were taping this mouse when a fellow hiker stopped to see what were were doing. We got the impression he thought we were pretty strange videotaping a mouse . . . with a huge, beautiful shoreline before us. We enjoy both the large and the small of what nature has to offer. For example, we found this cute, slick little salamander on a leaf.
When we reached the beginning or end of the trail (depending on your viewpoint) at the parking lot, we decided to spend some time on the beach there. Before leaving, we visited the water hydrant to clean off our shoes. There, we met a woman who almost became the next fatality. She was covered in salt water and sand. She'd been walking along the shore when a wave knocked her over. Another wave splashed in, and she quickly became disoriented. Lucky, she was able to make it to shore, but it was another good reminder about the power of these winter seas! Hard to believe that during the summertime, this area provides excellent swimming and snorkeling.
Ke'e beach
Back in town, we spent a quiet evening in our room after a great Mexican dinner at Magarita's across from the hotel.
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Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 12/00
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