This is my final post from my Kauai trip. Saving the best for last!!
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At the end of the road on the North Shore in Kauai is the starting point of the Napali Coast and Kalalau Trail.
The hike to Hanakapiai beach is by far one of the most beautiful but also very steep and challenging with loose jagged rocks and slippery red dirt along the sheer cliffs.
But seeing the Napali Coast from this viewpoint is absolutely breathtaking and so worth it!
After hiking two miles of rugged terrain along the coast, we (my local island friend) arrived at the stunning Hanakapiai Beach.
The only other way to get here is by boat or helicopter. We explored caves, picnicked on the rocks, played in the shallow waves when they appeared (most of the waves were humongous and dangerous), and rock-hopped along the bottom of the cliffs to hideaway inlets, more caves and beaches, only getting crashed into the rocks by a giant wave once.
Luckily I stayed upright and protected myself with hands first. We kept watching the sky and debating whether to attempt the second half of the hike (another four miles round trip) inland to see Hanakapi’ai Falls.
It can take up to two hours just to reach the falls, and requires numerous stream crossings which can trap you in an instant in a flash flood with very little rainfall. And then we still had the additional 2 miles back along the cliff. Of course I said let’s go!
Although Hanakapi’ai Beach (the first half of the hike took us there) is a dangerous swimming spot, most drownings and near-drownings in Hanakapi’ai are in the river when people try to cross in water that is too fast and deep and are swept away by flooding river waters.
The very narrow and hard to see trail to the falls crisscrosses the stream several times and is so slippery! I ended up ditching shoes about half way through the hike so I could navigate the rocks better climbing monkey style.
The jungle is filled with mountain apple trees as well as small bamboo forests. We waited till late in the day so the trail was unpopulated and quiet and arrived safely, even swinging in some trees along the way.
Such a fun trek to the awe-inspiring 300-ft waterfall!
I was literally frozen with this sense of wonderment when we reached the sparkling pool beneath it. It was magical and drawing me into its beauty.
All I wanted to do was bathe in the cool waters and lay my body under its spray.
I found this large rock I could climb onto and just be still. My friend just took pictures from a distance as I took this time to let it all soak in and fall in love and lust with nature.
I didn’t want to leave but we were running out of daylight and still had a 4-mile hike back! We picked up the pace and even put in some trail running.
Caught a gorgeous sunset from the Napali Coast on the way back and finished the last half mile of the trail in the pitch blackness of the rainforest with just a tiny flashlight to lead the way. It was quite a rush!!!
So if you ask me if I had any romance or love in Kauai, I can honestly say yes but not in the way it happens between adults. It was a passionate affair with nature and learning how amazing I can feel being in its presence!
Someday I hope to go back and experience it in a much different and romantic way, but I truly cherish this time I had alone and the adventures that came from traveling solo. Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you!