By Halli Holmgren
The trail to Kalalau is one of my favorite hikes because of the amazing views. The trail is 11 miles each way. It starts at Ke‘e Beach, goes to Hanakapi‘ai Beach at the two-mile mark, and then goes to the next stop at the six-mile mark at Honokoa Valley.
In Honokoa, we had to cross a stream with tons of mini waterfalls cascading down the valley to keep on the trail. If you go upstream, you’ll get to a beautiful waterfall. We stayed in the valley for one night, and then left to Kalalau early in the morning.
Near the seven-mile mark, Crawlers Ledge comes up. In this part of the trail, the path becomes very narrow, following along a steep rocky cliff almost straight down. It was pretty sketchy, especially with the wind blowing really hard, making it the scariest part for me.
Soon after that, we came upon a big flat grassy area where I saw a group of mountain goats. A little past the grassy area, there’s the Kalalau sign! But I got fooled, I still had about two more miles to go.
Once we arrived at Kalalau Beach, I felt so amazing! There was so much to do in Kalalau, but honestly, when I first got there, all I wanted to do was to sleep. After our group set up camp, we went swimming in the ocean and checked out all the wet caves, which were really relaxing.
After that, we took a shower at a waterfall on the side of a tall rocky mountain. It was pretty cold, and people would joke and say, “save some hot water for me!”
The next day, we went on a two-mile hike up Kalalau Valley. At the end of the trail, we arrived at Big Pond, and it was amazing. It’s a big, deep pond with a waterfall and a rope swing. The water was so clear I just wanted to run and jump in.
Just a little before Big Pond is the community garden, truly one of the most stunning gardens I have ever seen. It has so many plants like kalo, lilikoi, bananas, chili pepper, avocado, basil, sweet potato, pineapple, papaya and so much more. There are taro patches, tall fruit trees and vines. The garden is very well taken care of.
After the hike, our group went to a heiau to watch the sunset. The sunset at Kalalau is truly breathtaking.
After hiking so much, dinner was delicious! Watch out for the Kalalau renegades — the cats! There are many little cute cats and kitties. If you give them a snack, they will be your friends forever.
In the morning a little kitty that I named Guava cried to come in my tent. When I unzipped my tent, she came right in and climbed all over me and my stuff like it was her house.
After breakfast, we packed up. When it was time to go, it was hard to say goodbye to Kalalau and the cats. It was so much fun being at Kalalau. On the hike out, we stopped at Honokoa thinking we were probably going to stay the night and finish the next day, but then we said, “let’s just go all the way.”
So we went all the way and ended up hiking the last 45 minutes in the dark. It was really interesting to see the trail at night; it seems very different.
We arrived at Ke‘e Beach at 7:30 p.m. I felt so accomplished! We had no ride home, but luckily we met a nice couple who gave us a ride all the way home.
Kalalau Trail is a lot of exercise but totally worth it! I can’t wait to go again!
- Halli Holmgren is a 10th grade student from Kaua‘i. She loves to skateboard, surf, make art and spend time with her dogs.