The Start of the Journey
The start of this adventure is at the Ke’e Beach parking lot at the literal end-of-the-road on the north shore of Kauai. The rest of the northwest portion of Kauai can only be traveled by foot, air, or sea. Here as we prepared to set off on the trail, the famous Kauai chickens and roosters greeted us to beg for food.
The first couple of hours on this better part of the trail are just amazing. For me, it was less a hike and more of a moving meditation. The forested trail is comfortable and beautiful, consisting of large rock placements that mixed in with large root systems from nearby trees of all shapes and sizes. The air under this canopy is cool but wafts of warm air from the building heat of the morning sun meet you occasionally. There are some puddles of rainwater from evening showers still on the ground. We gain elevation through this first part of the trail with views of the deep blue ocean below on our right presenting themselves through clearings from time to time.
At the two mile point, we reach Hanakapiai. There is a beach here, but this is not a gentle and welcoming beach. Even from the trail above, when we got our first views, you see the wild wave action hitting the sand here. Scary. There are signs on the trail about the dangers you’ll encounter and warning you about swimming or even getting into the water at beaches like this. Apparently, there are dozens of documented cases of drowning, including accomplished swimmers. We’re on a mission, so we don’t linger too much at Hanakapiai Beach. A little water, some snacks, a few pictures and we’re off!
Continue reading: Part Three – What to Expect on the Kalalau Trail