We are tired of waiting all day, we’re anxious, and tense. But, as we start crowding into this tiny boat, our mood changes immediately. We have a mound of garbage bags in the middle, our legs are straddling the side, Julie is upfront like a hood ornament, and all of us are bouncing up and down as the waves hit our boat. The ride back is a blast; the sun comes out and we get warm, the clouds gather overhead and we get cold, the wind blows hard, and rain comes at us sideways. We bounce of big swells and the sea spray hits us in the face. There are huge smiles, the mood is now completely different, and we are loving every minute of it.
We’re seeing a different perspective of the hike with the cliffs above the water that we hiked on days earlier. Lots of coves and amazing features that the ocean has carved on the waterside cliffs showed us their secrets. We joke that is seems that a US Navy SEAL team is being extracted from action. It also reminds us of the end of a Bear Grylls “Man vs. Wild” episode, where he being taken back to civilization as he summarizes his adventure.
The trip lasts around 45 minutes, instead of 8+ hours of hiking and we felt it was a great reward and ending to the adventure. Near the end, the captain advises us to play it cool and have our friend with the bad knee act it out obviously as he drops us off at Ke’e Beach. The reason being that the lifeguards there will not be too happy to see a boat coming into these waters filled with snorkelers and tourists.
We approach Ke’e Beach and cut the engine to minimal throttle and coast into the shallow waters, avoiding snorkelers, and we then hop out and dump our gear into the water and start making a couple of trips to the beach. What a site for the tourists and families on the beach. You have a boat dropping off some scraggly people with garbage bags; they come onto the beach with huge grins, high fiving each other and then take some pictures of themselves.
There were many other little details, interesting people, anecdotes and stories from this trip, but unbelievably … this was the condensed version. Overall, the group may have different feelings at this point still about it all. Nevertheless, for Julie and me, it was an awesome hike with some amazing moments, stunning views, and wonderful memories. The beach shower, the body surfing near Honopu, the first night on Kalalau, the “survival” situation on the departure day, and the boat ride back all made this one memorable trip for the ages. While there was some disappointment based on our expectations, overall, it was well worth doing and an awesome experience.
If you plan on backpacking the Kalalau Trail, we’d be happy to provide further details on preparing, what to bring, how to get permits, and other details.