Monday, January 15, 2007

Hawaii (Kauai, Day 5)

Day 5:

Several people left early, so by the fifth day, we were down to four people, one of whom was leaving the next day. We decided that we were rested enough for another hike, so right after breakfast, we headed back out to Ke'e Beach to hit the Kalalau Trail. The plan was to hike the first two miles to Hanakapi'ai Beach, see how it went, and then decide whether to attempt the two mile side trail to Hanakapi'ai Falls.

We started a bit after 11am, and the first quarter mile or so was fine. The rocks were a bit slippery due to the slight rain showers, but the path was definitely manageable. However, soon after that we soon found ourselves slogging our way through all different kinds of muddy terrain. Some parts of the trail were steep and covered in slippery mud. Other parts were flat and covered in sticky mud, the kind that threatens to suck your shoes off, or rocky and muddy both, so hikers were forced to choose between the two:

On the bright side, the scenery was consistently gorgeous for most of the way:

Near the end of the two miles, there was a stream crossing:

We had neglected to bring sandals or water shoes of any kind, so our options were to cross barefoot, and risk stepping on something sharp, or to cross in our hiking shoes, and let them get wet. I chose the latter; others in my group chose the former.

Since the going was slow, it was about 1:30pm when we made it to Hanakapi'ai Beach:

The beach is divided in two by the stream, and although the water is shallow by the time the stream reaches the coast, it was still an interesting experience to walk across it; the ground sinks a little under your feet, until you are almost knee deep in cold, runny sand.

Anyway, we sat on the beach, ate some sandwiches, and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Because the beach can only be reached by hikers (or kayakers), it's fairly peaceful and uncrowded. While we were eating, we spotted a crab:

After hanging out for about an hour, we decided to head back and see if we could get some snorkeling in, rather than going on to Hanakapi'ai Falls. We were able to slog our way back through all the mud and get back a bit after 4pm, at which point we drove a short distance to Ha'ena Beach Park and hit the beach. Tunnels Beach is within walking distance of Ha'ena Beach, so we walked in that direction, before venturing into the water. The currents were pretty strong and there were several warning flags flying, so I decided to just lounge on the sand with my camera, while the guys went snorkeling in the shallow water. Here are some photos taken from Ha'ena and Tunnels:

Afterwards we rinsed off a bit, although some of the mud from the Kalalau Trail refused to be washed off, and started to drive back to Poipu. We were hungry by the time we got to Hanalei, but decided to try a restaurant in Lihue instead of going back to the Ching Young Village again. Since the sun had already set, the driving was a bit more treacherous, since there are almost no lights on the northern half of Hwy 560, so it was past 8pm when we arrived in Lihue, where four very hungry people descended on the Lihue Barbeque Inn.

The restaurant was filled with locals (in fact, we felt slightly out of place), the atmophere was casual cafeteria, and the food was homestyle and cheap. For instance, the specials cost about $10-12, and included soup, salad, and dessert. We split a delicious macadamia encrusted crab cake appetizer as well as some onion rings, and then each ordered a special; I had the chicken katsu, and mint creme pie.

We finally got home around 10pm, and took some very hot showers before heading off to bed.


This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not that of my employer.