Day 3 starts just like every other day on the islands. Fresh brewed coffee and toasted bagels… then off to Starbucks for the ultimate caffeine jolt.

Today we are continuing with the theme of “Don’t just lay there and fry… do something!” Today we will be hiking the Nai Pali coast. The trail head is almost exactly on the opposite side of the island from where we are staying. So we’re figuring it’s a 90 minute drive… 30 to Lihue, 30 to Princeville, and another 30 to Ke e beach.

Upon arrival we make a quick check of our gear… first aid kit, flashlight, water, swimsuits and a couple of towels and we’re off. As we start out it seems like what is supposed to be a trail is nothing more than a creek bed with no water. Climbing up the rocks we eventually hit a more traditional trail. The walk to the beach seemed fairly easy. I later learned that is was because we were walking downhill for the most part! Funny how gravity has a way of making downhill walks easier. I think it was just under 90 minutes into the beach. We were taking it a little slow, since we weren’t really sure where we’d be going after the beach or how difficult the hike would get further out. The beach was beautiful. It is a smaller beach set at the end of one of the pali’s and so while there were not that many people there (maybe 10?) it seemed crowded. A couple of guys had paddled around the pali from the State Park (I’m assuming) with their surf boards. By coming that route they couldn’t have seen that sign that said “Stay out of the Surf” and then with “hash marks” we counted 83 people that hadn’t paid attention to the sign and who apparently died playing in the waves. Needless to say, I didn’t even get my toes wet! Oh well, even if the tide carried them out to sea, it would have taken them right back to their kayak so I guess they knew what they were doing.

Now it was decision time. Continue the hike along the coast to the next beach (about 3 miles) or turn up hill and head for the waterfall and pool at the wall of the pali. We chose the waterfall. I was a little disappointed. Not because I was looking forward to hiking 3 miles instead of 2 and not because I wanted to see another beach… but I had heard that once you get past the first beach it is like going back in time… lush jungles and a place where really few people go. In retrospect, I’m glad we did the waterfall. Our hike inland was great. There were “stands” of bamboo that were about 20 feet in diameter. And the jungle was still very lush. If someone got ahead of you about 50 feet, you lost them… couldn’t see them, couldn’t hear them. We crossed the river about 3 or 4 times on the way up (yeah, on the way back too!). Rock hoping to keep from getting our feet wet. We ran into a group coming out and they said we were about ½ mile away from the falls. Yeah right! Longest ½ mile I’ve ever walked! As we started getting closer to the falls it started to rain. And the trail got muddy and the rocks got slippery… but we made it.

Kauai 2 2007-11 019   Kauai 2 2007-11 005

After a quick lunch, we decided we had better head back. It was still raining and we weren’t sure how much light we would have as the sun set. We were deep in the jungle, at the bottom of a pali and the sun was setting on the other side of the island. Turns out we were fine, but we headed back just the same.

About a mile down, Sandi slipped and twisted her ankle. Like a trooper she kept going and never complained. A mile later we were back to the beach and that formerly gravity assisted downhill hike became the more grueling uphill hike I’ve done in years. The island guide books tell you it is a strenuous hike and we thought, “sure it is”… that’s probably just to keep the crowds down… NOPE! It is definitely strenuous!

All the way out we kept talking about how great a burger and a beer would be. As soon as we got to the car, we through our stuff in and headed out FAST. First stop, Hanalei! We drove past a place where people were eating and drinking out on a porch and that looked good enough to us. Calypso’s! Within minutes, Burgers and Beers were on the way.