Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hawaii - The Waterfall Hike

I had heard from others who have visited Kauai about the Hanakapi'ai Falls. Apparently, there is a place where you can hike a few miles along the Na'Pali coastline (not accessible by car), and then head a few miles inland to a beautiful 300ft waterfall with a freshwater pool at the bottom you can swim in.

Sounds amazing, right?

Zac and I had to see for ourselves.

We estimated that the hike would be about 6 hours, so we tried to leave as soon as possible. I think we started hiking around 8:30 or 9:00am. We were on vacation, though, so we didn't keep track of time too much.

The first part of the hike was difficult. We had to climb the trail that was comprised of mostly large boulders. I watched my footwork carefully, and reminded myself every now and then to look around.

Here is a view of the beach area where we started the hike:

Soon we were on a smoother path that wound its way along the edge of the mountain line. The temperature wasn't bad, but we were working up a little bit of a sweat. That made the breeze we'd catch when we were near the ocean even sweeter!

We continued hiking the beautiful trail:

After a time of winding around the mountains, it was time to descend to Hanakapi'ai beach. We took switchbacks and finally came to a stream. There were large rocks we used to cross, and it was a lot of fun to choose our path!

Soon we started inland and the trail got considerably more narrow. We crossed the stream multiple times and were so thankful we packed our water socks which we bought on our honeymoon! Here is a picture of one of our crossings:

We continued for about two miles, getting closer and closer to the waterfall. The hike was the hardest at the end; the trail was difficult to find at times, and challenging to follow with the rocks we had to climb.

Here we are, getting very close to the waterfall!

In the end? ABSOLUTELY worth it! The trail opened up to the gigantic waterfall and we saw about 6 other people scattered on the rocks on the side of the pool and in the water.

It's hard to show just how big the waterfall was, but look at the edge of the pond in the forefront of the picture and you can see people swimming.

We quickly joined those in the pool where we discovered the water was VERY cold. We did get used to it after a time, and even braved the waterfall. We swam behind, around, and through it.

I remember the feeling I had as I swam below the waterfall, with the drops of water landing on my head. I thought to myself, "This is one of those moments to treasure for the rest of my life." It was amazing.

After a light lunch on the rocks, we packed up and headed back to the car. What a great hike!

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