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Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi’ai Waterfalls… and back

On my BFF’s birthday I reluctantly agreed to hike the Kalalau Trail to the Hanakapi’ai Falls – which some consider one of the most dangerous and strenuous hikes on Kauai  -including the DLNR – click here to see the Safety Video for this hike.

Three weeks before the hike, I started doing some research on how to prepare and what to bring in order to survive this adventure.  Mind you, I’m not a hiker but in good shape … and still foolish enough to believe I could make it through easy peasy.

First, I had to motivate myself to mentally “kinda want” to do this.  I watched videos, read reviews, and saw “A Perfect Getaway.”  This movie is about a murderous couple visiting Hawaii who hike the Kalalau Trail to escape and possibly find more victims.  Totally unrealistic – right?

Secondly, I went shopping on Amazon Prime.  I bought myself a comfortable pair of stain-resistant, quick drying hiking pants and water-ready hiking shoes to get me through multiple stream crossings, muddy trails, and mosquitos.

This is what I brought with me on the hike and it served me well:

    1. Water – Two 1.5 liter bottles of refrigerated water. I only drank one bottle during the hike, but it’s always better to have more just in case you get stuck overnight,
    2. Food – 2 granola bars, a bag of cherries, beef jerky and a cold sandwich. Honestly, I thought I’d be ravenous during the hike, but I think my body was in survival mode and I only ate a granola bar and half a sandwich.  Again, it’s better to be prepared for an emergency so bring some food.
    3. Extra Clothes – extra socks, a windbreaker and a microfiber towel which doubled as a shawl when it was blustery at Hanakapi’ai Falls.
    4. Walking Stick – A wise friend lent me her Wood Walking stick. This literally saved my knees and helped me maneuver through the muddy wet rocky terrain
    5. Sunscreen – put it on before the trek and after you swim the falls. In the afternoon, the 7th mile is scorchingly hot since there’s little shade.
    6. Insect Repellent – keep it handy for those pesky mosquitoes. Not sure if it deters the ants but stay well away from those.
    7. Your phone or camera for taking pictures. Just remember, you probably won’t have cell phone service, but at least you can still check the time, take pictures and count how many thousands of calories you’ve burned.

Just to make the Hike a little more rewarding:

  1. Start early around 6:30A so you avoid the crowds and the air is still nice and cool,
  2. Have an icy cooler filled with your favorite beverages waiting in the car when you get back. A beer to celebrate making it though is icing on the cake.
  3. Take a dip at Ke’e beach. After rinsing off the layers of mud and dirt, put on your bathing suit and rest your weary limbs on the comforting hot sand and cool off in the calm ocean water.
  4. Take a day or two to just relax. It took me two days to walk around without wincing.

Kauai is my BFF’s favorite island and it is fast becoming mine as well.  Aside from the friendly, laid back vibe, Kauai’s natural beauty is lovingly preserved by both locals and visitors alike.  The respect and love for the aina is truly felt on Kauai.

Awesome view from the Kalalau Trail
Awesome view from the Kalalau Trail


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