Sunday, October 14, 2012

Backpacking: Na Pali Coast (part 1)

Finally, I am starting to get my photo's from Kauai organized to share them with you. Originally, when I started writing this post, I wanted to talk about our whole first day... BUT, I have too many photo's I want to share, so please bare with me through our first half of our first day on the Na Pali Coast.
The Na Pali Coast is an epic backpacking experience that crosses over several valleys and canyons, through jungle, mud, slick rock, thick vegetation and narrow trails. The views are nothing less than spectacular.
We started our backpacking adventure with little sleep but great anticipation. Our excitement carried us through to our destination, Kalalau Beach, also known as paradise.
Heinz & I at the Kalalau trail head, Day 1. Tired eye's, but still excited.
The Na Pali Coast (Kalalau trail) is on the north shore of Kauai. The Kalalau trail head is located by Ke'e Beach, also known as the "end of the line". You can't drive any further on the north shore. From here, its a grueling 11 miles (one-way) of pure adventure and S-E-N-S-O-R-Y O-V-E-R-L-O-A-D.

From the get-go, the Kalalau trail had amazing views.

The first few miles on the trail were a muddy and slippery mess. Luckily, our trail shoes were a perfect fit and stood up to the challenge.
The vegetation was unreal.

Heinz and Hala tree's.

The one and only spider we saw on the trail. Looks poisonous to me.

Looking back at the coast.


Waiawi, commonly known as yellow strawberry guava was scattered all over the trail. It was literally falling from the tree's as we hiked.

There were parts of the trail were you could see the ocean and then other parts were you felt like you were deep in the jungle. The tree's were awesome and never ending.

Looking back at the coast. Red-faced and smiling.

Looking down the coast. Still a ways to go.
At the half-way point, there were a few camp grounds and most people stop and either stay the night to break up the hike or continue on the long journey. Our goal from the beginning was to hike all the way to Kalalau beach. Before continuing to our destination, we opted to take a mile side detour to Hanakoa Falls. Finding the trail was less than obvious, but non the less, we made our way to our first of many water falls. 
Which way?

Hanakoa Fall
The water was bone chillingly cold. It felt great to take our shoes off and wade our feet in.
Just think, ahhhh.

Back on the trail. From muddy, soggy jungle to dry, red dirt, this trail gave us so many variations. We were never let down.
The tree's giving us directions on the trail.

I love the red dirt with the greens and blues of the mountains and ocean. The red dirt reminds me of Moab.

So many awesome flower's. I can't wait to share them all.
Some of the cliff edges on the trail.
Now this is Kauai. 

Hala. The leave strips from hala are used to weave baskets and mats. There are two separate trees, male and female. This one is female because of the fruit it produces. People think that the fruit is pineapple, but it is called, keys. Keys was eaten during a time a famine. Probably not the most appetizing. (National Tropical Botanical Garden, Limahuli Garden, p. 38)

Can you see how narrow the trail is on the right hand side? As Heinz would say, "No tripping, slipping, or falling."

We were a few miles away from the Kalalau beach (our destination). The views got better and better with each step we took.

From here, the trail takes you down into the Kalalau valley and spits you out on the Kalalau beach.
You'll have to wait to see more backpacking adventures. Stay tuned.
Until next time,
Happy Trekkin'.