Anyone who’s watched the movie Jurassic Park will be familiar with the famed NāPali Coast. To view the NāPali coast, one would have to be on a helicopter, catamaran, or kayak. Since none of those options appealed to us, we decided on the second best option – hiking it.
The Kalalau trail is the 11-mile trail hugging the coast. This trail requires an overnight stay and a camping permit. The idea of not having a shower at the end of a sweaty hike just wasn’t quite appealing to us, so we opted to do the shorter day hike to Hanakapi’ai Beach, which is a 4-mile out and back, with the option to tack on another 4-mile out and back to the Hanakapi’ai Falls.
First, we had to secure a park & entry or shuttle bus permit, which becomes available 30-days prior to the planned hike, and sells out within minutes. With my luck, I ended up securing the more expensive shuttle service that includes the park entry.
Back in 2005, we didn’t make it very far past the viewpoint as I had gotten sick from an apple. The funny thing is that the apple incident is the only thing we remember about that brief hike. As we were hiking, we kept saying to each other, “how come this [trail] doesn’t look familiar at all?”
The hike to the beach only took an hour and a half, and Joe’s ankles were still holding up, so we opted to hike to the falls.
Joe’s ankles started smarting a mile in, and I was prepared to turn around before reaching the falls, but he managed to push on, and his efforts were nicely paid off.
After a lunch break at the falls, we slowly made our way back. One thing we’ve begrudgingly come to terms with at our age is that we don’t move as fast as we used to. With Joe’s ankles and my knee, we’re hiking more gingerly and getting passed left and right by those who are decades younger than us. Signs of inevitable apoptosis, such is life.
Eight miles and 6 hours later, we were back at the trailhead. Sixteen years since our first “not-so-serious” attempt, we’ve finally completed this hike.