Thursday, January 28, 2010

On to Colorado!!!!

So Wednesday morning, I'm awoken by my alarm.... 5 a.m.... snooze..... 5:10 a.m. snooze.... 5:20 a.m. Enough already! I reset the alarm for 6 a.m.

6:00 a.m.: I gotta get going or I'll never make it to Chicago on time. I had about 800 miles between me and my cousin, Karen, in Chicago. This is it. The start of another journey. I wouldn't see New Jersey, my family, or friends for quite some time. I imagine 6 months after my stay in the Rockies. The goodbye was simple. If I had to say goodbye 2 days earlier, I probably would have gotten choked up. For some reason, 2 nights ago, I had doubts about leaving my home in West Orange. I was okay at that moment though. Some words of wisdom from both my parents, some hugs, and begin. Car loaded with almost all my clothes, a couple pairs of shoes and boots, an awkwardly placed pair of skis that jutted into the passenger seat area, and gifts for my uncle in Colorado and cousins in Chicago, my car felt a bit sluggish.
The plan was to go to Chicago and see my cousin's Karen and Edwin. It's been more than a couple of years since I've seen them. Have a nice dinner and catch up with them. Then drive a couple more hours into Iowa to hit the midway point. Why not take my time? Well after much internet research, I only found a handful of places not far off track that I was interested in. Unfortunately, most of those places need to be visited in the summer, like state parks and lakes and such. I was considering going to Punxsutawney, PA, where they have the groundhog. Even though I wasn't going to be around the ceremony, I wanted to check it out. I mean, come on, who didn't love Groundhog's Day with Bill Murray. I skipped it though. There just aren't many points of interest. On top of it, having delayed my trip out to Colorado by 10 days, I was ready to get there and stabilize myself.

12 hours later.... I arrive in Chicago. There really isn't anything worth mentioning about that drive there. It's just plain boring. Nothing in PA or Ohio or Indiana... it only gets interesting close to Chicago. So Chicago is really nice in the winter. Lights are hung on the trees along Michagan Ave. There's people in there winter coats along the streets. Plenty of ritzy shops. I passed some kind of ice sculpture display in a park. No sculptures were complete the. I guess they were just setting up. I'd like to return and hang out there sometime. Though I'm not one for cities after my stay in Hawaii, man made wonders can still amaze me.

So my cousin Karen's place is this beautiful 4 level apartment. It was so spacious and just gorgeous. She's an orthopedic surgeon by the way and really bright. I haven't seen her in almost 2 years. The last time, I believe, was at a Chinese New Year party at my house. She looks the same. Actually, in my opinion, both Karen and my other cousin Edwin, always seem to look the same as when I was growing up. They're about a decade ahead of me but still look young. Anyway, the entrance is from the street, and leads into kind of a furnished basement, foyer area. The living room and kitchen on the second. Then 2 more floors of 4 bedrooms. She says that from the 4th floor they can see the fireworks that Chicago has in the summer and holidays. So after a quick greeting, I see Michael, her husband, Melia, their 2 year old, and for the first time Annie, the newborn. One of Michael's first comments was, she looks like a boy. Doesn't she? It was the last thing on my mind but yeah, you're right. Soon enough, Edwin comes with a deep dish Chicago style pizza. Just what I had in mind. I had thought earlier, I'm going to Chicago, what food are they known for. We just stayed in and I decided to stay the night. I was so tired and asleep by 10 am. Thanks Karen, Michael, Melia, and Annie for having me! Hope to see you soon!

 Somewhere in Ohio.
 Nebraska. As you can see, not much of anything along the trip.

So 6:30 am, I depart Chicago. Could I make it in a day to Avon, Co? It's like 18 hours. Actually it is 18 hours. So yes I made it here. The drive had some highlights. I crossed the Mississippi! Don't know why I'm excited by that but whatever. Iowa and Nebraska are plain old boring. Rolling hills of farms and farms. There was a windmill farm at one point, which looked pretty cool. Also there was a nice sunset along the way. Most of the day was just overcast and extremely cold. It was in single digits and the windchill brought it to below freezing. I was outside for a couple of minutes, putting more air in my tires and my ears were like frozen when I got back into the car. I guess the temperature drop deflated my tires. I started to recall a chemistry formula that would allow me to figure out the pressure change. PV=nrT. Pressure * Volume = (number of molecules or something) * (some constant) * Temperature After a bit, I figured out how to calculate it. So P1/T1=P2/T2. Then I remembered temperature had to be in Celsisus. I forgot the conversion and couldn't figure out the pressure change. It kept my mind entertained for a bit while driving. I also found out there are interstates with speed limits of 75 mph. I80 in parts of Nebraska and Colorado have it. I didn't know that. I always thought the max was 65. Of course, I still go 10 over. It's just my New Jersey rule of thumb. Luckily for me, I didn't get pulled over. Well not until the very end. As I'm rounding the corner, maybe 2 miles from my uncle's house, this truck begins to tail gate me. I get annoyed and just speed up. Then the lights.... jeez... after talking with him, he pulled me over for not stopping at a stop sign and speeding on another residential road going 40 mph when the limit was 30. After explaining that this is my first time driving in the area and that I've been driving for 17 plus hours, he takes my ID and stuff and heads back. When he gets back, no ticket!!!! He gives me a warning and his business card (he explicitly stated that he has to give those). I'm thankful and shake his hand. He has a nice guy.

So almost 1900 miles later, a total for 30 hours on the road, I'm in Avon, Colorado. I've never eaten so much junk food in such a short period of time. McDonald's was a staple plus some other road stop food. I'm tired and going to sleep. Here some pics of Avon and Vail for those who have never been in a ski town or the mountains.

 Avon, Colorado - Town Center
 They have a lot of circles like Europe. I haven't really seen any stop lights in the area.
 View from town looking at Beaver Creek

 Sunset from my uncle's house in Avon.

 Vail Village
 Ice rink in Vail Village

Friday, January 22, 2010

After thoughts

So I'm back in New Jersey. I remember, upon the descent of my plane ride, looking through the window, noting the lack of green, the lack of ocean, the lack of what I knew was life. After being in Hawaii for a year, it's odd being in a place where the only landscape is residential, commercial, and industrial areas. The only life here is human life and there's a drought of nature. I was sitting in my car, late night, stars out, sunroof open, thinking. I left I place I loved. Then quickly jumped to the opposite (as you may have noticed, my mind can be erratic), I originally left a place I hated. Just as anyone would expect, one was overly freeing and exhilarating and the other disappointing. I can't say it's all bad. It's good to reconnect with family and friends. Well I wouldn't say reconnect for all my friends. Some encounters don't quite feel like a reconnection. Rather, it's a simple touch up of a past friendship. A visit to the past, something I left behind. Others have a greater bearing.. 2 1/2 hours of conversation about nothing and everything at Dunkin Donuts. I had a great time! Thanks Nance.
I don't know. I'm having mixed feelings about being back. All too quickly did I settle back into old habits of playing video games and out drinking and playing pool. It reminds me of why I left. There's little that holds my interest here. Some would argue that it's not the environment that matters but what you make of it. I agree to a slight degree but I've already passed judgment that I cannot retract at this moment. There is nothing that I can make of this place.I suppose another factor that sways my thoughts is my lack of a profession. Though not fully unemployed, I seem to be in a quasi grey area, working part time for my old company, yet having a lot of time on my hands. I liked having time on my hands in Hawaii. I would just relax at the beach or spend a day trying to figure out where to hike and it would be an all day thing. Here, it's not the same. Being unemployed, not by choice, must be stressful. People's profession give them a sense of pride and purpose. Many define themselves in respect to their profession. Though it's something that I am trying to move away from, I understand why. In addition, some financial freedom and a way to support themselves and others. Without it, people must find another outlet. What happens when they don't and cannot find another job? Without a sense of purpose, there's little motivation to do anything. On top of the financial debilitation, well I can't quite imagine some people's reaction to losing a job and unable to find work. I feel better after rationalizing it, realizing I could be in a much worse position.
I'm off to Colorado soon. At this point, the anticipation has ceased and I just want to get there. I'm looking forward to soft powder, something I'll need to break my fall while I try to advance my snowboarding. A glades that I can weave through, bowls to speed down, and moguls to challenge myself. I worry about finding a job over there but know that worse case scenario, I come back here or even to Hawaii in an environment I know to stabilize. Good night!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kauai 12/31/2009 - 01/05/2010

So I finally had a chance to repost my Kauai trip and add some pictures. It has an adventure. Enjoy!

December 31, 2009 8:09 pm

So new years Eve... waking up today I knew it was gonna be hectic since I needed to move out. I had plannd to stay with the Brodie's for a week before I left back to New Jersey. Here was the plan... wake up early, pick up Nicole's car, pick up belongings by noon (I'm proud to say that everything I own fits in a ruffle bag, a bag slightly larger than a carry on, a large backpack, and smaller laptop backpack), run to the office for a couple of hours, run to the post office, buy a present and ship that as well, drop off keys, go to mililani and drop off everything , head back down to aloha tower for fireworks and drinks and crash some where... perhaps at work... or if I could get a ride back to Mililani. That last part changed drastically.

So 4 pm... bored, restless, and displaced (I hide behind these words). ... no where to go.... no real plans or company for the new year... hoping I could just get on standby and head to new Jersey. Nope. Despite my new found, United Elite Premier status (which only gives me the ability to sit in economy plus seating) It would cost an arm and a leg to fly out tonight. My previous reservation would essentially be voided and I would have to purchase a new ticket. What to do? What to do?... I felt like... don't know how to describe it... just plain old bored.

So I have this great idea. At this point, I still have all my baggage in Nicole's car and all my errands are done. She wouldn't need the car back til tomorrow. So I drive to the office, unload everything there, and start some online research. Kauai! Hmmm.... can I get there today? Its gonna be expensive. Where am I gonna stay? Don't I need a car? Weather? I also scheduled to work on sunday noon to finalize some issues and pass the torch to my replacement. Is it absolutely necessary? Last flight... 9:45 pm... it was already 7 pm... hmmm... this planning had already cured my boredom. It was just fun trying to figure out if thi could work. I could go down to aloha tower... watch some fireworks... get a bit drunk... and call it a night. But with who? This last question weighed on me heavily. Nic... out with her friends. Hillary and Noelle... on the east coast. Jenine... family. And others... not interested in chilling with them. Hmmm.... lets do this... one bag with the essentials:

1 pair of shorts
2 pairs of boxers
2 tshirts
1 sweater hoodie
1 sarang
2 pairs of socks
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Bar of Soap
Camera and charger
Phone and charger
GPS and batteries

I'm off!!! Drop off the car to where Nicole can pick it up easily the next morning... catch a bus to the airport... buy my ticket. Now patiently and eagerly waiting to board!!! Gotta love spontaneity.

December 31, 2009 almost the new year
So I arrived in Kauai not too long ago. Dark already... it's difficult to see the landscape... as I walked from the airport to the main road, I frantically search on my phone, where to go. East or West? Lihue, an airport town... or to Wailua... Lihue is closer but Wailua is along the beach. Wailua it is.

After walking a mile and 1/2 along side the road, a stranger stops in his PT Cruiser. Wayne, asks where I'm headed. Of course, I have no idea so I'm honest and tell him, "down the road."  Looking back, this might be a rude retort, but after explaining my lack of plan, I'm sure it doesn't matter. So Wayne works at Kauai Community College, a couple of towns to the West, once a night and he was on his way back to the next town. He's been here for 4 years, originally from Cali, and started a photography company when he first got here. It's no longer in business due to the slowing tourism. Nice guy. Thanks Wayne!

January 1, 2010 12:18 am
I lay here on a beach chair.... just beyond Kauai Sand Island hotel, a cheap hotel, in case I needed to stay a night.

The new year is here. Neighboring beach goers crowding around bonfires and playing with firecrackers... dancing about.... waving sparks of light.... hidden faces flashing throughout... murmurs of smiles...silhouettes of bodies in the not too far distance. Fireworks on the horizon.... crashing waves... the soothing sound of. the ocean.... cool breezes.... slight chills... its good to be free!

January 1, 2010 3:22 am
After a couple of hours, some uncomfortable naps on that beach chair (though I'm thankful that I did not have to sleep on the sand), I awake. StIll determined to rough it, I head back to the road and start walking from where I came from. I recall another stretch of beach with grand bonfires... a public beach park. Lucky me! A dying fire was lurking about. As hints of embers lie among ash, I delicately add some drift wood... cautiously... in fear that the it will die... finally, I rekindle the flame.

Here I rest again along side this cozy reminder of ski condos... crisping trees... crackling flames. My camp for the night.

My camp!
With flash.

January 1, 2010 1:48 pm
Its been a long day. Up just before sunrise, smokey embers close by. What to do? Its funny I'm bumming it and yet I have an electric tooth brush. Oh almost forgot... I woke up several times throughout the night. A sarang as a bed and backback as a pillow is not comfortable. And a fire only warms one small side of me at a time. Should have taken Christina's advice and made the fire as big as I possibly could. 

Good morning Kauai

At one point during the nigh, I reach into my bag. To my surprise a gooey dark substance with a sweet smell covers my hand. After digging around a ketchup packet had exploded covering my phone, toothbrush, and some other paraphernalia. Gross... pain in the ass. Never putting condiments in my bag again. So after washing some of my stained clothes in the ocean, which to much surprise was warm and relaxing, I dry them from a stick over the fire. And now, a very smokey pair of shorts, socks, and sarang.

So this morning, went to Nounou Trail which goes up "the sleeping giant "... ill post details and pics later (click here for my traditional hiking posts of Nounou Trail East). Maybe I can upload them via picasa from my phone. After, I headed back to my "camp" and grabbed a shower at the beach park. The shower is right near the road. Its funny washing up in shorts as people drive by but I wanted rough it. Anyway, after 10 miles mostly walking around from and to and hoofing it took the next town, I sit in a coffee bean in Kapa'a, really just charging my phone. This couch is the most comfortable thing in the world. Soft leather, cushions.... I could fall asleep. The counter girl is pretty cute to. Skinny blond with light eyes... a bit mousy looking. Nice to have eye candy!

The sleeping giant.

View along the trail.

January 1, 2010 8:57 pm
Sitting on the beach, beside my fire. Its been a long day. So I trekked along the east coast. Downtown kapa'a is nice area with local shops, like a one street town. Kauai's filled with areas like that. Its quiet, slow paced, local. 


So from kapaa beach there's this long paved beach walk. I took it to the end... it had to be several miles. All throughout beautiful views of the coast, people strolling, jogging,biking along the path. Fishing in the ocean or an intersecting stream.

lots of roosters around the island.

This made me laugh. Lol!

saw this sucker along the beach walk around Kapa'a
looking North up the coast

looking South

beach at the end of the beach walk

God damn mosquitoes keep interrupting my train of thought. Might have to move. Thought this beach would be okay.

So the end beach park was pretty chill. Lots of young surfers... family outtings.... and what not. so I start and a pickup offers me a ride...

Gotta move locales... to be continued

January 2, 2010 10:38 am
Alright so.... as I was saying... grabbed a lift from some folks.... headed up the coast... there's only one main road on this side of the island. It reminds me of the winward coast north of kaneohe on Oahu. Got dropped of in Haliaea. After walking 3 more miles, some tourist from Canada pick me up. 

Saw these in that 3 mile stretch along the road. There's little things like this all over the island.

Glad I ran into them. Was going to stop are princeville but fortunately my Canadian ride sad there's nothing there. On to hanalei. This is the second to last area beofre the na Pali coast. Its a nice little touristy town. One street town... bunch of local shops... old elementary school turned it to surf and local shops. Cute place.... one of the most impressionable in my life so far. Got there at night so a majority of it was closed.

So after settling at the beach and starting that fire (where I wrote the last entry), i scoured the beach for a better spot. No luck. Tired and sore, I dredge through town looking for an inn. No luck. I end up crashing in the shopping area, on a bench for a bit. After an hour nap, suddenly I'm awoken by the chilling night. I was freezing. Gnawing on an energy bar, shivering down the road, I'm not sure where to go. Its past midnight, felt like 50 degrees, all I know I was cold and had no shelter. Wrapped in my sarang and beach blanket, shorts and slippers... Imagine yourself aimlessly wandering with about 15 pounds on your back. It's after midnight and after hiking 4 miles earlier in the day and walk 8 plus miles the rest of the day.... being up since 5:30 am, seeing the sunrise... all I want is sleep! Your feet are tired, sandals are uncomfortable. There are few street lights, no one driving on the road, no one awake. Like a zombie you slowly drag your feet. Why? Simply because you have no place to settle. You need to keep moving to keep warm.
I have no choice... back to the beach... needed to make a fire... my first try didn't work... nothing was catching. I couldn't get anything to kindle. Everything was soaked from the midnight dew.... agh...

I remembered seeing some burning embers lying in ash earlier but sometime after my last blog.... I lucked out... there was some still burning.... made a fire at that spot warmed up a bit... brought the fire over to another spot and mapped for a bit. Still uncomfortable though... sand was wet... and fire only warmed one side of me. I'm not sure what I would have done if I didn't find that fire. I suppose I wouldn't sleep and just keep on moving. This was the worst night of my life!!!! No exaggeration. .. can't think of a more terrible time. Having no shelter sucks and is so debilitating.

Hanalei Bay,at sunrise
A bit after sunrise. I always think it's interesting when you can see the moon so clearly during the day.

This dude was there at like 5 a.m. Serious local surfer. No leash. At one point, his board washed up and as I approached it to make sure it didn't get washed back out... he's yelling don't touch it. Guess it's some bad mojo or something... or he just doesn't like people touching his shit.

January 2, 2010 2:51 pm
So after my distraught and chilling experience, I am currently in a studio for the night. $80 pretty nice and I can check out tomorrow afternoon which gives me enough time do the waterfall hike tomorrow. Haven't done much since earlier.... took a nap on the beach... sat on the grass in town center and browsed the web.

Hanalei is a nice little town. It's touristy, has a beautiful bay, local shops, some decent eats... just chill. This is actually where Puff, the Magic Dragon is from, though it's pronounced slightly different to make the song rhyme. Some shirts had Puff on it... forgot to grab a pic though.




These 4 pics are of the town center of Hanalei

Kauai has a certain indescribable allure to it. As I said earlier, its mellow and slow paced. Its the country. Hitchhiking is legal and drivers stop and offer rides. Beach fires are too and you'll usually see a more than a few when driving by. The highway is really just a local 2 lane road. Towns are spaced out with vast amounts of green everywhere. Rolling hills, mountains in the backdrop. But i know nothing of the island other than my not so common experience if it. I'd like to come back for awhile and experience more someday. Off for another nap. 


Cozy little studio. I slept all day. 2 x 3-4 hour naps, then 8 hours of good sleep.

January 4, 2010 9:16 am

So just a brief update. At the airport because I have nothing to do. I have 10 hours before my departure back to Oahu. In so tired and can't walk anymore...

So yesterday and the day before... after renting the studio for a night. I napped for 2 hours.... napped for another 3.... after waking up around 8 pm, grabbing a slice of pizza, some chips, and frozen food dinner, I returned to the pad and ate all of it! I hadn't really eaten all day. Then I went to sleep for the night. :-)

Yeah I was that exhausted from the prior days and sleep deprived.

So Sunday morning, 6:30 am, on the road again... haena park. This is where the kalalau trail starts and is the end of road (Kuhio Highway) on the north side of Kauai. Its funny, on the mainland I don't really see major roads just end. On the islands, its much more common. Just something i never considered. So after walking about a mile, this local, Bison, picks me up. About my age... Hawaiian, Japanese,Chinese mix... cool name. He grew up on the island and has a good welcoming spirit despite his thuggish appearance. He lives close to haena point but was nice enough to drop me off at the end. He showed me where some celebrities had some houses.... like Stallone, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis.... Most of the houses aren’t in use most of the year. What a waste. We got into how the north shore of the island has changed. I made a comment that there weren't many Hawaiians or locals in Hanalei and he was telling me there used to be more until all the mainlanders started moving in. He also mentioned how it used to be more of a community where people would be much more friendly and open. Neighbors talking daily and open invites to dinner.... there were less boundaries... and everyone knew each other. Now it’s what I see as an American lifestyle where people don't smile or say hi in passing. I think the latter is a sham.... I’m a hypocrite for saying but we have to get back to basics of life and society. It was interesting and refreshing to hear.

So at has point I noticed a ceremony with just a handful of people. It was peaceful and quaint. If I were ever to get married, it would be like that.... simple, no frills, and pure.

and off to the falls, the route takes the first 2 miles of the Kalalau trail to the first beach and then veers off into the valley for another 2 miles. It was fantastic!!! I ended up hiking with 2 tourists from the DC area, Johnnie and Carla. They’re known each other since elementary school. They’re visiting their friend Ryan, another elementary school friend, on Oahu and decided to come out to Kauai as well. That’s a long time. The longest person I know, other than family, is Enrique and Leach from Roosevelt Middle School. Johnnie was telling me about a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon as a boyscout and how they ran out of water and that he was so grateful after to be alive. All I can picture wass this episode of ”I Shouldn’t Be Alive” on Discovery, where there was a troop of boy scouts that almost died cause of a heat wave. Actually, one kid did die. Anyway, it was nice hiking with them. We got lost a bit here and there, but we were able to find our way. The falls were amazing. It’s just so refreshing to be out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nature. I find peace in it. Anyway… the hike took about 5 hours. I’m so glad I had a chance to see part of the coast. The details and pics of the hike are posted in another entry. 

 Haena Beach park from a bit into the trail

The Na'Pali Coast.

The falls!!


Thanks for the memories Johnnie and Carla. Best of luck in life!

After that hitched a ride back to Hanalei from this dutch guy. I forgot his name but he had some business in L.A., dealing with marketing for Kettle One. We got to chatting about liquor to begin then I just told him my story (as I did with every person nice enough to lend me a hand). Everyone has a different take on it. Some show a bit concern, other’s reflect how they wouldn’t be able to do it, and others just accept. This person was just pretty excepting. It seemed like a very formal conversasion. Soon enough though, after directing him to some stores in Hanalei, he dropped me off. Nice guy. I wish him the best. 

Dutch Kettle One dude.

I got cleaned up, made sure the studio was as clean as possible, and left. After spending some time with Lesly at PERCH (my company) and giving her some guidance (she’s new and my future replacement for the front office), I was able to hitch another ride. It was two guys in a compact… Dave and Andre. Nice fellas… don’t remember to much about them. I know one was from Salt Lake and the other from California. They were up in Hanalei bay to do some surfing and headed back to the other side of the island. Just chatted a bit about Utah and skiing, then a bit about the island. We made a quick stop by a shore near one of the hotels by Wailua. They wanted to check out the surf. Luckily for me, they weren’t interested. They dropped me off in Lihue, somewhere on a main road. 

Dave and Andre. Thanks for the lift.

It was about 5 pm when I reached Lihue. Uh…. there’s nothing here.´Lihue is like a ghost town. Even considering it was a Sunday, nothing was open, hardly any cars around, even fewer people on the streets. The busiest thing I saw was Star Market (grocery store) and then a walked a couple miles to a local mall. Guess what… by the time I got there, most of the stores were closed. So I walked over to a Borders and hung out in the Starbucks, charging my phone, surfing the internet, and playing Sudoku. There really was nothing to do over there and I had no where to go. I contemplated if I should try to go to Waimea for the night. After two nights ago, I was really concerned about the cold and also about the rain. I had no idea what Waimea had to offer though… beaches? City? So against my urge to make it to the other side of the island, I stayed in Lihue. I walked down towards a park I planned on crashing at. It was a handful of miles away though. Along the way, went to a bar, warmed up with some beer, a quick karaoke song, Brown Eyed Girl (Nik, that’s you!), and continued my way down. The park wasn’t that nice and though it was along the ocean, it was more of a fisherman’s park. So no nice beach or anything. After jumping around a bit, I was able to get some sleep on a bench under an awning of a building. Wow… I’m a bum… literally.

Of course, I didn’t get much sleep, 3 or 4 hours of uncomfortable and interrupted slumber. So I woke up and headed back to town center to find some food. Along the way, I did something rather odd but I think I find funny. I had to brush my teeth… so in the middle of walking down one of their major roads, I break out my electric toothbrush while walking down. Passed a diner and got some odd looks. After a bit headed to the airport

Check out this thing. The legs were about an inch and a half. The body at least an inch long. There were spiders like these all along the road to the airport. 

Since then been wandering around. Now at the airport, tired and waiting. This airport is even nice. Not in a luxurious sense, but right outside the drop off, there are narrow but grassy areas… enough to lay down and chill out. I have never seen any airport like that, Newark, Honolulu, Seattle, Denver (I might be wrong on this one), San Fran… oh except Maui. It’s just cause it’s a small airport. 
Walked around the Marriot hotel which is close by the airport. This hotel is pretty amazing.

This was a good way to break in the New Year. I’m happy that I got a chance to visit Kauai before leaving Hawaii. One day, I’ll be back on this island. I imagine I might get bored, but I like having time on my hands and am getting comfortable with it.   

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hanakapiai Falls (Kauai)

Trails: Kalalau Trail to Hanakapiai Falls
Distance: 8 miles
Elevation Gain:  1900 ft

Hiking time: about 5 hours with
Area: Na Pali Coast on Kauai

Trailhead: Haena Point
Trailhead Coordinates: N22 13.225 W159 34.959
Sights: Na Pali Coast, Hanakapiai Falls
Directions via bus:

Directions via car: Take Kuhio Highway up the East Coast and around the North Shore to the end. You'll end up at Haena State Park

Recommendations for hike: Good shoes, water, sunglasses, sunscreen would be nice for the trail to the first beach but unnecessary for the trail to the waterfall. Some food perhaps. 
Trail Conditions: Muddy due to rain runoffs and rocky. Good shoes. Prepare to get wet so. A fellow hiker, Carla, recommended Chacos which came in handy when we reached the trail to the waterfall. You're gonna get your feet wet and I hate hiking with wet socks and shoes. Especially when I have to make a return trip of 4 miles.


January 3rd, 2010
So after resting for like 20 hours it seems, napping on and off, and just glad of being off my feet (you can read more on my entry about Kauai), I set off for this hike. I began by hitching a ride down to the end of the road to Haena Park. It's a really nice place. There was a small ceremony on the beach over there. Got there around 8 am and there were already plenty of cars.
This hike follows the beautiful Na Pali coast on Kauai. So along the way I ended hiking with some people from the D.C. area. They were about my age and on Kauai and Oahu for some vaca. They've actually known each other since elementary school! I never thought about it but it's rarer than it seems. Anyway, the trail starts climbing immediately. It's well marked and not too tough. I'm glad I did it in the early morning though. The return trip in the sun is significantly harsher. Immediately, you have a beautiful view of Haena Park beach and get a nice view of the coast line.
After about 2 miles, you'll reach a junction. To the right is the beach (don't go swimming, you'll see why in a picture later), to the left the trail towards the waterfall and also to continue along to Kalalau Beach. The hike to the waterfall isn't too bad, though we had some trouble finding the way. There were certain points where we had to back track or find another way, just cause we lost the trail. At one point, we were at the stream crossing and didn't see the connecting trail on the other side. We ended going up the river through some current and soon found out that there was a way.
Eventually we made it to the falls. Amazing!!! The pool is huge and falls, I'd say 150 - 200 ft high. It's open sky too, though it was too early for the sun to shine down. After taking a quick dip and hanging out for a bit, we headed back. Once we hit the beach again, we found that there were hordes of people doing the trail. It was pretty crowded. The heat didn't help either. All sorts of people from backpackers to day hikers (I know that's not really all sorts but it seemed like a variety). After reaching Haena Park, I said bye and hitched a ride back to Hanalei.
Enjoy the pictures!

 Ceremony on the beach.

 Haena Park beach from a little into the trail
 Trail conditions
 The coast!!!!
Some more. Much nicer in person
 So we saw this sign as we approached the first beach. Once you get down there it looks pretty rough.
The beach from above. 
 So this little falls is across the stream along the way. I wanted to explore but also just wanted to reach the final falls. 
 Looking into the valley.
 Almost there.
 The pool. Not the best angle.

Note: After looking at these pictures, I need to upgrade my camera. They don't do it justice.