After resting at Hanakapi’ai Stream, we resumed our backpacking trek towards Hanakoa by climbing up a series of switchbacks along the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai.
The 4-miles from Hanakapiai (mile 2) to Hanakoa (mile 6) climbs 800 feet to the highest point on the Kalalau Trail.
The switchbacks provided a good vantage point to look back towards the trailhead at Ke’e Beach to see the extent of the fire. Fortunately, the fire was limited to this one ridge on the northern side of Hanakapiai Stream.
Mike Algiers, Helene Sroat, Thea Ferentinos and Clayton Kong — my backpacking companions on this leg of the trek — were full of energy as we made our way towards Hanakoa. Many kukui and guava trees provide shade from the sun along this section of the trail.
Guavas were in peak season all along the Kalalau Trail. I could not resist picking a bunch of guavas to snack on as we made our way on the trail.
Helene, Mike and Thea pose at Space Rock — a giant boulder along the trail. We rested for a bit and enjoyed the commanding views from Space Rock, the highest point along the Kalalau Trail.
Some 800 feet below Space Rock at sea level is Ho’olulu Sea Cave, which was used as a resting spot by Hawaiians paddling along the Na Pali Coast. Ahinahina (Artemisia australis), with its characteristic silver-gray foliage, thrives along the edge of the cliffs.
Kukui (Aleurites moluccana) and lama (Diospyros sandwicensis) trees thrive in many of the hanging valleys along the trail. Many lama trees were decorated with a new growth of leaves that were reddish-pink in color.
Some of the lama trees even had fruit on them. Lama fruits were used as food source of last resort by the Hawaiians in times of famine.
When we reached the hanging valley of Waiahuakua we were tantalized by the sight of our destination — Kalalau Valley — way off in the distance.
Motivated by the sight of our goal, we pushed on along the Na Pali Coast hiking in and out of several more small hanging valleys to reach Hanakoa Valley.
When we reached lush green Hanakoa Valley we were happy to rest, relax, and cool-off in the clear waters of the stream.
Hanakoa was once a thriving Hawaiian community with many terraces for growing kalo (taro), one of the main staples for the Hawaiians. Kalo still grows in Hanakoa right along the stream.
We lingered for quite some time at Hanakoa Stream as we ate lunch, filtered water, and regained our energy for the next leg of our trek. Stay tuned to the next segment of the backpacking trip from Hanakoa to Kalalau in the next blog entry.
Native Hawaiian Plants, University of Hawaii, Department of Botany
Hanakapi’ai Fire, Kauai Garden Isle News
Northwestern Kaua’i, Recreation Map, Earthwalk Press