Monday, June 1, 2015

Aloha from Kauai

I know what you're thinking, what?? Kauai?? It was a somewhat impromptu trip, coming together in just the past few weeks. One of my backpacking girlfriends, Heidi, moved here last year and she's had an open door since. Here's a pic of she and I on our Desolation trip in 2013.

Look at that smile, I just love her. Why did it take me this long to visit? No matter, I'm here now.

So Heidi is as crazy active and fit as they come. She's a yoga instructor, among other things, and road bikes, runs, swims...she does it all. I arrived on Thursday morning to beautiful weather.

Before too long we were sitting on the beach, Salt Pond beach, watching the waves.

After some time in the sun we headed to her house and had dinner with she and the family. Up and at 'em Friday morning to head out to Hanakapi`ai Valley for an amazing waterfall hike. Here's a description I found at
Cool Because
You get a river, a beach and a waterfall in an ancient pristine valley
Trail begins at Ke`e Beach traveling along high ocean-side cliffs.  Narrow path passes in and out of several valleys with steep inclines and declines.  Trail conditions may range from muddy puddles to dry, crumbly rock.  Path leads to Hanakapi`ai beach with option to follow along Hanakapi`ai river to waterfall that drops into large, deep pool.
Not Good For
Those that do not have strong endurance and are not in good physical condition.
Extreme inclines and declines on uneven, narrow footpath on high cliffs.  Loose rocks underfoot and from eroding cliffs above.  Trail is slippery when muddy.  Strong sun, little shade.  Heavy backpacks can cause overexertion.  Filter all water.  Strong currents and flash flooding can occur at the river.  Dangerous shorebreak and riptides at Hanakapi`ai beach - use extreme caution.
Oh my can't imagine the pristine beauty of it all. The pictures just don't do it justice but I'll post some anyway.

The first vista point after 2 miles, looking down at Ke`e Beach

Heidi and I loving life

Glancing down the Na Pali coast
Girls on the move

One of the many river crossings on the way up the valley
The hike was challenging but not hard. I wore tennis shoes but changed into teva sandals at the first of 5 or so river crossings. And then, after 4 miles of beautiful hiking, we came to the falls.

And we made it! This is just a tiny part of the falls, they are huge!
It's hard to give you a sense of how tall this waterfall is but this pic comes close.

Look how tiny the man is in the foreground
After a lunch of PB&J, and a bag of lychee fruit we started back on the 4 mile return trek. It started to rain and the drops of water felt just perfect. And it made the trail muddy, changing the hike altogether. I was scooting along, stomping in mud puddles, feeling like a kid at Disneyland!

On the return trek 
My mud-covered legs
At the 2-mile point we stopped at Hanakapi`ai Beach to take in the scene and snap a few pictures.

Hanakapi`ai Beach
Cairns at the beach, this IS the way

Our muddy toes

After the hike we headed to Hanalei. As we pulled into the parking lot at the beach I was awestruck. I've seen some beautiful spots in my time but this really blew me away. So picture perfect, I felt like I was on a movie set.

Sunset at Hanalei

Heidi and I having fun!
We swam, sat in the beach chairs, solving all of life's problems by realizing we didn't really have any that needed solving. Just be. And in this moment, being is perfection.

After the beach we drove home, starving, and Heidi cooked up some black bean and cheese quesadillas while I made homemade pico de gallo. I wish I'd taken a picture but I think hunger took over. That and a shared cerveza and we slept like the dead that night.

So that was Friday...Saturday we packed up to head to Polihale Beach for a night of camping. Yes, camping on the beach. And I mean on.the.beach. Heidi's boyfriend has a truck and we drove right up and slept feet from the waves. The Polihale beach is on the other side of the Na Pali coast from where we'd hiked the day prior.

Driving in

Our setup. These people know how to do it.
Pupus (appetizers) on the beach.
Sipping tequila (thanks Andrew!)

The beautiful sunset

And sharing it with Heidi made it all the better

More sunset
We played in the waves, sat in the sun, sipped tequila and laughed. Life doesn't get much better than this. The moon was so bright and the company so good, it was hard to settle down for sleep but we did eventually. The next morning was more of the same before packing up to head home for a much needed nap! I slept like a rock for a couple hours before heading out to The Beach House for a martini and some food.

The view from our table
I had a wonderful evening, enjoying the moment just as it was. I am the luckiest girl alive. I could go on and on about how grateful I am to have made the changes I did, that I got up and did it, that I continue to live it every day, in every choice, with every step and every breath. If you doubt yourself, stop doing that, if you are afraid you won't make it, do it anyway. Just take the next step. And after that, take the next one. You don't have to see the way to start the journey. Like I said, I could go on and on, but I don't really need to, this post does it for me.


  1. looks and sounds like a fantastic trip!

  2. you look great and you look like you're having/had an amazing time! you deserved this!


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