Kilauea Lighthouse and the Kalalau Trail

Trip Start Apr 12, 2014
Trip End Apr 27, 2014

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Where I stayed
Waipouli Beach Resort Kapaa
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Erin was up at 6:30 and the rest of us were up by 7:15.  We had breakfast (cereal and juice) and packed what we needed for the day - water, hiking boots etc.  We didn't have enough water bottles so we went to Safeway and got a couple of big bottles.  We were headed north by 9:35.  We arrived at at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge just as they were opening the gates.  We parked outside and looked from the overlook first.   From there we saw all the birds we had seen Monday plus the Great Frigatebird, another one for the life list. It was then that I discovered that my camera is no longer displaying anything on the screen.  I changed the battery but no luck, the screen stayed dark.  Phewee!  So the pictures you see from here on out will be from Derek and Erin.  They both take excellent pictures so this could be even better.

We drove into the refuge and parked and then went to the entrance station.  They let all four of us in on Erin's National Park Pass.  Yeah!  Larry and I have our own too but we forgot to bring them.  We got to see the Hawaiian Goose, the Nene, up close and personal.  We spent about an hour and a half just watching birds.  From the end of the point we could see Moku'ae'ae Island which is a bird sanctuary.  From the point we could see all the birds closer and learned a lot about each of them from signs posted all around the walk.  As we were looking at the birds off the end of the point I spotted a couple of birds in the bushes just over the fence.  They turned out to be Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, another life bird.  The refuge has half buried pipes all over Moku'ae'ae Island and they were on the point too, for the shearwaters.  While we watched other birds we could hear the shearwaters "moaning and groaning" in the surrounding bushes.  At the visitor center I bought a flower book called Hawai'i's Floral Splendor.

Our next stop was along Hanalei Bay where we sat on a log on the beach and ate our sandwiches, potato chips and carrots.  We could see Princeville across the bay with lots of condos and resorts.  We drove to the end of the road, our destination being Ke'e Beach and the trailhead for the Kalalau Trail. It took us a while to find a parking place.  But when we did we put on our hiking boots etc. and headed to the trailhead.  On the way there was a farm where they were growing taro in flooded little ponds.  In the pond we saw two Moorhens.

The Kalalau Trail is 11 miles long but you can only hike the first 2 miles and the trail up to Hanakapi'ai Falls without a permit.  If you go farther you have to have a permit.  We knew the first mile ascended through several switchbacks and the second mile descended to Hanakapi'ai River and Beach.  It definitely ascended but the views of Ke'e Beach were great and when we rounded a bend after the 1/2 mile mark we could see the Napali Coast.  You have seen it too if you have seen Jurassic Park.  Spectacularly lush, steep faced mountains with deep canyons rise out of the deep blue ocean and are shrouded in clouds.  It is a magical place.  After the first 3/4 of a mile Erin turned back because she thought the scenery would be the same the rest of the way.  Larry, Derek and I proceeded on and started descending to the river.  Derek and I had fun stopping to see beautiful orchids and other flowers along the path.  When the trail got very steep going down to the river, I decided to turn back and head back up and then down to where it got rocky.  I got rained on a couple of times, just sprinkles.   Larry and Derek went until they could see the beach and then they turned back too.  While I was waiting for them I had fun resting and talking to the people going up and down the trail.  It didn't take us as long to get down but all the rocks and large "steps" are hard on my knees.  I am so grateful that I can still hike and see places like this. 

Erin had spent her time on Ke'e Beach where she saw Hawaiian Monk Seals.  When we walked past the farmer's pond again, there were Koloa Ducks in it, another life bird.  Larry pulled our car into the parking lot and we all put on our sandals/flip flops.  On the way back to Kapa'a we stopped at the Hanalei Lookout where you could see the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge.  You can see a broad valley with lots of different kinds of fields, including flooded ones.  So there were some birds to see.  We saw nene, the Hawaiian Coot (life bird) and the black-necked stilt. 

We got back to the condo shortly after 6:00.  I fixed taco salad for supper while Erin went down to see the beach and Derek and Larry relaxed.  We ate supper on the lanai outside Larry and Derek's bedroom.  We could hear the band at the restaurant at the pool playing.  After supper we all took very needed showers, blogged, read and went to bed.
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