Kalalau Trail has been named as one of the most beautiful trails in the world and it has been called as one of the most dangerous trails as well. The 11 mile path winds along the rugged Na Pali Coast from Kee Beach to Kalalau Beach. As I have seen the Na Pali Coast either from up above on the ridge and on a boat a little while ago, I was looking forward to hike the trail, seeing the amazing coastline up close and personal.
There is no way for me to hike the whole trail (22 miles rt). One has to backpack which I wasn’t planning to do. My plan was to hike the first 6 miles to Hanakoa and then turn back, making it a 12 mile hike.
The coastline is gorgeous, no doubt. But boy, it is a long 12 mile! The part of the trail I hiked isn’t as dangerous as I feared, but certainly it is not easy. The path is narrow, rocky, steep, muddy, and very slippery. Even though I was very careful, I slid a few times, once almost fell on the ground.
Two miles into the trail, there is a creek crossing. I hesitated as how to cross. Most people stepped on the wet rocks in the middle of the creek. I didn’t feel comfortable doing so. And my worry was unfounded. One guy slipped and stepped into the water. Another lady slipped and fell backward into the water! Luckily her backpack was the way so she didn’t bump her head on another rock. Her companion was nearby on a rock, but he couldn’t do a thing to help her.
So I took off my shoes and stepped into the knee deep water. It was safer. The cool mountain stream was very welcoming by the time I returned.
Of course it was a long time before I returned.
It rained 90% of the time—no wonder the trail was so wet and area is so lush. At least I was prepared. I had a poncho; most people didn’t. When the sun came out, it was hot and humid. My hair and shirt was completely wet—I didn’t even know it was due to rain or my own sweat.
The 12 mile hike seemed so long. When I said “enjoy the hike” to a lady who passed me, she replied, grimly, “I didn’t. I wish I am home.” Her gloominess took me by surprise, but in a way I understood. It wasn’t a fun hike. Why did we put up all the discomfort to come here? The answer is simple: the place is magical! And we want to be part of the magic, up close and personal, even with all the discomfort and danger (One man fell and died last year).