OHE December 1, 1999 (Kalalau)

Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 10:06:22 -1000
From: Dave Webb (dwebb@mailhost.k12.hi.us>
Subject: Kalalau Valley

Thanksgiving weekend Kalalau hike:

I hiked out to Kalalau valley this weekend with Sam for a few days of camping and getting away from it all. The valley and beach are so relaxing and isolated that it seems as if you are on your own little world! I had never been there in the winter time before and was interested in how different it would be. Many people have probably hiked the trail before, so I wont say too much about the actual route along the coast, but I will describe some interesting things that happened to us over the course of the adventure.

We left early Thurs morning on the 615 flight to Lihue. Originally, I had planned on going over the night before and camping at Haena in order to get an early start. One small problem - big holiday weekend crowds filled all the Wed afternoon and evening flights! D'oh!! Oh well, going to be getting up early when camping anyway, might as well get some practice. Arrived no problem and took a taxi to the trailhead and started at 840 am under sunny skies. The trail was actually more difficult than I was expecting, especially considering carrying a large pack. We encountered some blowing mist along the trail between Kee and Hanakoa, but we were prepared with rain jackets and waterproof pack covers (great investment by the way). Besides, I knew that the weather would dry out the further that we went around toward the leeward side of the island.

The trail was pretty dry on our hike in. Most of the streams were low, or nonexistent. Hanakoa falls was flowing in the back of its valley and we really enjoyed that view. Sam isn't too crazy about narrow crumbly trails, so I got a bit of a toungue lashing along those sections! I tried to tell her that I honestly didn't know that the trail was that bad but she wasn't having any of that. If memory serves me there was some profanity thrown my way but my experience teaching high school has left me impervious to that. Anyway, we made it! I thought the latter end of the trail was absolutley fabulous!! That sucker is literally hugging the edge of the seacliff in a number of places. Spectacular views!! We arrived at the final stream around 430 in the afternoon and both mysteriously lost all of our clothes and "fell" in. Weather was great. Stars and sunset fantastic.

The two layover days that we spent at Kalalau were relatively uneventful - just the way we wanted them to be!! Having nothing to do but lay around all day is a really great feeling. We visited some of our favorite places; the waterfall, Kalalau stream, the heiau, plus I followed some directions from Patrick to find ginger pools and outlaw pools further up Kalalau stream. If you haven't been there before you really need to know where you're going in that valley, it is quite a maze with trails branching off everywhere.

We were fortunate to be blessed with good weather for most of the weekend with the exception of Sat afternoon when the wind really picked up and starting blowing the clouds over to the beach. It was strange to experience it raining at Kalalau when my only other experiences there had been under the scorching summer sun. There were some pretty big swells coming through from Fri-Sun, probably as big as 6 feet or so. Hard to imagine ever launching or landing a kayak when the waves were like that! To my surprise, the beach appeared the same as in the summertime. I suppose since we haven't had any large winter storms yet the sand hasn't been sucked away. It would probably look much different in Feb or March.

We got an early start on Sunday morning because we wanted to really take our time and enjoy the views while taking lots of photos. As it turned out, that was a good idea. The weather was windy and rainy at the start of the day and that made the trail a lot more treacherous than on the way in. There are several badly eroded sections between the 7 and 8 mile markers where you really have to watch your step. With the slippery trail and blowing rain we moving pretty slowly. That did give me a good chance to really look around so I considered it a blessing. When we rounded the corner and came into Hanakoa valley the waterfalls were really flowing. The rain Saturday had really increased the flow of water in the stream and we had to be much more careful at the crossing.

The next valley along the coast, Waiahuakua, held a nice surprise. When we crossed on Thurs the stream was totally dry but on Sun there was a massive waterfall coming down from the top of the cliffs and a raging stream as well. Pretty neat!! The next valley after that had water as well. Ho'olulu stream was flowing down from the top with a nice, feathery waterfall. The coolest part was that it was an upside down waterfall!! I had heard the legends of the upside down waterfall in Nuuanu valley but I had never seen one. When the wind would gust, the water falling over the lip of the falls would be blown back up! I couldn't believe it. Our next difficulty was when we reached Hanakapiai stream. There was a huge falls coming down from the back of the valley that I had never seen before. I dont think it was the normal Hanakapiai falls since you cant see that one from the stream. Crossing was a bit of an adventure since the stream was raging and there were 6 foot waves breaking and washing in to the stream mouth. I crossed at the stream mouth and stepped into a waist deep hole and almost fell and Sam crossed a little further upstream and we were both just happy to have gotten across.

We got to the trailhead and hitched a ride with some tourists from NY. They were nice enough to drop us at the Holiday Inn in Kapaa. We ordered pizza and spent the night before flying back to Oahu Mon morning.

Overall, it was a great adventure. I would probably recommend going in the summer since the days are longer and it's usually calm enough to swim in the ocean. Swimming over to Honopu beach is really fun. The winter does have advantages though. Cooler hiking conditions and more waterfalls being a couple of examples. Also easier to get camping permits.



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