Hiking the Kalalau Valley

Trip Start Feb 28, 2008
Trip End Mar 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Friday, March 7, 2008

Today we got up pretty early, had breakfast and packed up everything. Then we hiked to the trailhead of the Kalalau Valley trail and dropped our packs. It's about a quarter of a mile back up the Kalalau coast trail so we didn't want to have to go back to pack up. We haven't been up the valley trail before and we had heard that there were a lot of old settlement remains like stone walls and some stones used as tools for grinding so we thought it would be interesting to hike up it.

We found some lemon trees not far from the trailhead, but neither one of us felt like climbing up the tree to reach the ripe ones that were near the tree top. The whole valley was green with moss growing over everything, especially on the stone walls. Such and enchanting place. There were large forests of ficus trees. The Kalalau river flows through this valley and we crossed it a number of times as we followed the trail. Actually, the main trail was hard to follow because there were so many branching trails that it was easy to end up back at the beach, which happened to us once. We ran into a group that we met at the 8 mile camp site and they had already been up the valley a couple of times. Since they were going the same way we were we followed them for a while. At one point we came across one of the squatters that was attempting to bathe in the stream. One of the guys in the group kept asking him for directions to the waterfall he was trying to find. He didn't seem to understand, or maybe he just didn't care, that the guy was a little uncomfortable standing there in the nude in the stream. He was trying to cover himself with his towel, but trying to not be conspicuously uncomfortable. Nudity is pretty common around Kalalau, but usually those who are comfortable with their nudity, don't cover up. It was like he was trying to be hip about it, but not really succeeding. The group was moving fast since they had already been up the trail and we wanted to take our time to see things and take pictures, so when we came to a forest of bamboo, we held back to take some pictures and let them get ahead of us. There were large thickets of Hau trees which are a kind of Hibiscus with large yellow flowers with ruby red centers. These thickets are so twisted with branches as large as my arm in diameter that it is difficult to get through them. Someone has cut paths and propped up branches using branches they cut off to make a path to get through these thickets. It looked like a lot of work.

Eventually, we came to the end of the trail where there were some pretty pools along the river that was now more like a small stream. We stopped here for lunch and headed back. On our way back we took a spur trail to see where it would lead. It came to a lovely garden with a little creek that meandered through it. I say garden because it was obvious that someone had planted impatiens along the creek and had cleared this area. It looked maintained. We discovered a couple sitting in a little clearing by the creek and apparently just chatting. I had heard that there was a community garden here that the squatters shared and I think we had just come upon it. We stayed long enough to take some pictures because it was a lovely garden. Then we headed back to our packs.
We had another orange for a snack before we started off to the 8 mile camp site. While we were sitting there this gorgeous nude black man walked down to the creek. He was tall. sleek and sinewy. Wow, I think I was actually drooling. J Here I have to say that the majority of people I saw around the Kalalau area that were obviously living there on and off were all in super shape. They were all lean, muscular, yet sinewy like an Olympic athlete. Men and women alike. Obviously, something about this lifestyle was good for them. Since most of them tried to live off the land as much as possible we figured they didn't eat nearly as much as a couch potato. Also, it's strenuous getting around anywhere in this valley. I wanted to take a picture of this man so I could share it with the gals to say, see what sights you are missing! However, I didn't think it was appropriate and I refrained. Let me just say, gals, you missed some fabulous sights, indeed! There were many sightings of similar specimens. For you men, there were a number of female sightings as well.

We got back to 8 mile camp to find Bill still there. No big surprise. We washed up at the creek, it felt so good to get cleaned up as much as you could with no soap. We went back and I put up the tent. Bill offered to boil some water for tea and coffee, being the lovely host that he is. He also offered us dinner of black beans and rice, but I really wanted to eat as much of our food as we could so we wouldn't have to carry it out. Bill told us that he was going back into town in the morning as well so he could restock. So, it didn't make sense to leave it with him since he wouldn't be there to eat it. I didn't want to throw it out, having carried it this far. So we declined his offer. We did give him some of our mixed nuts and cranberries. Even if he didn't eat them right away, he could use them when he got back from town.

I've been thinking about our vacation trips lately and I've come to realize that what really makes the trips fun and exciting is the newness of the experiences. As much as I have enjoyed being in Kauai again, it hasn't been the same as the first time because it's all familiar. I already know what to expect. I've often thought about investing in a place somewhere in Kauai because I love the climate and the plant life. Now that I've come back to Kauai, I realize what really intrigued me was the new experience. I had never been to any place tropical before my first trip to Kauai. Now that I've also been to India and Belize, I realize what I really liked about Kauai was the new experience. So, I've decided I may never return to Kauai because there are too many places in the world I have yet to explore. Rather than go back to places I've already been, I want to go to some place new each time.
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