Author Topic: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl  (Read 11185 times)

Offline high end hobo

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It all started back in August when Dan posted United Business class saver space in the spring to HNL and suggested some DDFers join him for the Kalalau trail. I had never heard of the Kalalau trail, but being always ready for adventure, I was excited for the challenge.

After it seemed Dan's trip wouldn't work out, Efflpletzl messaged myself and MosheD, suggesting we do it ourselves.

For starters I wanted to thank Dan, for without him and the forums, this would have never have happened. I also wanted to thank SF for giving me some photography tips before I left. I apologize that I was exhausted and didn't have the energy to dig my DSLR out of my bag and take nearly as many photos as I wanted to. Some people hike with their DSLR around their neck, but I was worried that I would trip and ruin it.

Anyways we met up, and realized that United saver would be impossible as we didn't want to wait until the spring to go.
We decided to book on Delta Metal, with myself using 25K Korean, someone else used 25k Flying blue.
The benefit of Korean is they allow two free stopovers, but they're a real PITA to get a hold of, you need to call them, and they call you back when they're open. Then you have to deal with Delta saver availability issues. In fact we needed to change our entire trip dates, because by the time I got through to Korean award ticketing, Delta had pulled the space. Plus Delta's Availability are heavily married, so there was no space LAX-LIH, only MSP-LAX-LIH, which was very frustrating, and the agents are unhelpful. In the End Bh I got a Stopover in LAX on the outbound, and a stopover to visit family in DTW on the inbound, Luckily you can place the award on hold until like a day before flying, and changes are free. The guy using Flying blue took a trailing stopover to Cancun.


I flew to LAX on Friday, spent shabbos there, and after reading enough DDF I realized my life wasn't worth living unless I visited the Tierra Sur restaurant at the Baron Herzog winery. I went there with a friend on Sunday, then drove down the beautiful Pacific Coast highway to LAX, to meet MosheD and Efflpletzl, who had just flown in from NYC. We met up in the Delta Skyclub LAX, which is really superb for a Domestic lounge.


We contacted the Shluchim in Kauai and offered to bring food from the mainland, which they greatly appreciated.
After an uneventful flight to LIH, we arranged someone to drive us to Princeville, where we had booked a private villa on Airbnb, we got a great deal through the AmEx promo. When we got there we went straight to bed, as we wanted to start hiking early the next morning.
At 6:30AM we left for the Kee'e Beach trail-head, getting there at about 7, just as it was getting light out.

We didn't purchase camping permits and didn't run in to any issues, however we heard that after we left the beach on the return, the police came and were giving out citations to those there Illegally
We planned to Daven Shachris at the Hanakapiai river, which is at the two mile marker. This turned out to be a very good idea, as the first three miles are the most strenuous, its very important to pace oneself, starting early and taking breaks when necessary. The entire time we were worried about the river crossings holding us up, but all the river crossings there and back were low enough that we were able to cross while stepping on boulders and not getting wet. The one exception was crossing the Kalalau river, one member of our group slipped on a wet rock and fell waist deep into the river, ruining his phone. While I don't think you need a waterproof sack for your Teffilin as I had (a backpack rain-fly would do fine) you should have a little waterproof pouch for your cell phone.

The trail had very tropical feeling, very wet and very muddy, with all sorts of flora and fauna all around. At the mile two marker we were already covered in Mud and throughout the day I slipped on the mud more then once, on downhill switchback curves while trudging through 3 inches of mud, luckily I didn't fall off the trail. Just watch out for slippery roots.

After eating and Davening we continued onto the third mile, which is very difficult, but our excitement and enthusiasm kept us going. We were unaware that the first three miles are the hardest, and at about the 4 mile marker, one member of our team told us the uphills were just too difficult, his muscles were cramping up and we should go on, we really didn't want to leave him but he didn't want to hold us back from reaching Kalalau. We advised him to hike to the river at mile 6, camp there, and head back the next day. Keep reading to hear how he amazingly made it to Kalalau though! The reason I included this is to advise everyone that the hike is harder then you think, and less is more with carrying. The guy who had a hard time brought lots of good food, but regretted it and ended up sharing it with other hikers and the ever present cats along the trail.

The other member of the team and I pushed on, and reached the 6th mile marker, the Hanakoa river, where we ate lunch while sitting on large boulders in the middle of the river. After crossing the river the trail to Kalalau was hard to find, as there was a camping area there. We thought we found the trail and continued going, half a mile of uphill hiking later, we reached a sign saying 'Trail ends here' with a big waterfall nearby. We had taken the wrong trail and had gone a mile out of the way roundtrip, which devastated us, as we were very fatigued. We pushed on, the 6th mile to the end isn't very difficult, except for maybe crawlers ledge, which I think is overated, I was basically able to hold on to the side and guide my way across. The only time I felt fear was on the return, there was a 170 degree turn around a ridge (basically cliffs on three sides), I was alone, and the turn was steeply downhill, without really a path but rather climbing down boulders, I was afraid to jump down for fear of the momentum carrying me over the ledge, so I slid down on my back. The pressure on my Backpack caused it to slip towards the ledge when I was halfway down though, precariously dis-balancing my center of gravity, I was only half way down though, and had to leap to the bottom, relying on physics that my pack would recenter itself, for that second hanging there with my pack disbalanced was the only time I felt fear.

Its easy to miss the mile markers and mile 8 was the last one I saw. We kept going and going, and I was looking for mile 9 but I must have missed it. Finally we got to the Kalalau sign followed by a steep decent into the valley. I was completed drained (it was about 5:30PM) and wanted to camp at the bottom, which were nice grassy bluffs leading out to the sea. My hiking partner consulted the map which showed that after the steep decent we should be at mile 10, so we're almost there and we should keep going, I didn't want to trust him because you always feel you're farther then you are, and I didnt want to set out again only to have to hike two miles. I lied down on the ground and was instantly asleep, but after about a half hour my hiking partner pushed me on and we continued. Luckily he was correct and after a little while we reached the Kalalau river, which we crossed on the stones. As I mentioned above, this is where one of the guys slipped on a wet rock and ruined his phone. After we crossed the river, we spent about 10 minutes looking for the continuation of the travel, which ended up being up to the right, from here its only half a mile to the beach, and 2 miles upriver to the end of the valley trail.

We reached the beach with great personal excitement, there were alot of tents set up, but still there was plenty of space for us. We wanted to camp on the beach but were advised by the friendly locals not to, due to the surf and tide. We camped a little back from the beach, near the local residents hangout (these were all taken down by the police shortly after we left http://kalalautrail.com/one-arrested-70-cited-and-tons-of-trash-airlifted-out/). We set up our tent, and went to shower in a fresh icy waterfall nearby, we were advised by the locals not to go into the ocean for dangers of strong current. After somewhat successfully making a fire  to soften my dried Salami, I ate it in a wrap with sriracha sauce, I went to my tent about 8:30PM, and a big cat who had broken in to get food jumped out, so make sure to always keep your tents zipped.

The ground was hard, but I still slept like a baby due to sheer exhaustion, finally waking up about 9:30AM, and literally couldn't believe my eyes...


To be continued shortly (with pics)

Offline @Yehuda

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Wow, great start (perhaps more than just a start really). Exciting read - can't wait for pics!

Offline Chapshnell

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love the writeup, on my to do list. keep it coming

Offline tageed-lee

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Can't wait for the pics! Congrats on doing the whole hike! Thanks for sharing!

Offline Yaalili

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Thanks for the write up.

Offline E R K

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and literally couldn't believe my eyes...

To be continued shortly (with pics)

The Suspense is killing me.

Offline yochiek93

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Amazing can't wait for the rest

Offline Welder

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Great writing! Thanks. Looking forward to the rest.
"We Need More Welders and Less Philosophers" - Rubio

Offline Dan

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Keep it coming!

The muddiness is likely do to going in the rainy season, did you regret that at all?
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline ushdadude

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Awesome TR so far.
I did the first 2 miles with DW while you were there. They were indeed more difficult than anticipated. We probably should have stopped at the 0.5 mile marker. Great views from there.

Offline MosheD

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2016, 01:18:46 AM »
It was a great trip. Great write up this far HEH.
I will try and get the pictures I have up soon. There are phenomenal views the entire time, it's like being transported into a dif world.
I would like to thank Efflpetzel for intiating and putting together this adventure. Also Dan, for creating a forum where this can happen. (I told some friends I'm going to Hawaii with two random DDFers and they think I'm crazy.)
Keep it coming!

The muddiness is likely do to going in the rainy season, did you regret that at all?
Could be, but due to there being rain really all year round in Hawaii (from what I read) and much of the trail being in rainforest like terrain, if he shocked if it wasn't muddy in the summer too.
The mud really wasn't that bad though. There was only one REALLY muddy stretch near mile 2 on the way back imho.

Awesome TR so far.
I did the first 2 miles with DW while you were there. They were indeed more difficult than anticipated. We probably should have stopped at the 0.5 mile marker. Great views from there.

It fed is harder than you think but imho, any healthy person should be able to complete it. (We met an 11 year old girl who did the entire trail, and saw some older people as well!)
It's alot about the attitude. Not knowing exactly how far you are most of the time is both a blessing and a curse...
Also the way back, once you know you can do it, is MUCH easier.
My .02

Offline Dan

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2016, 01:27:38 AM »
Could be, but due to there being rain really all year round in Hawaii (from what I read)
News to me:

Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline high end hobo

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2016, 01:33:05 AM »
News to me:



The mud wasn't bad, it made it more fun in a way. I'd prefer the mud over more heat and having the trail and camping sites more crowded.
The mud got so caked to my skin, I tried pulled it off but it tore my hair out like a waxing job, in the end i scraped alot off with my knife, and after about three showers was able to my legs back to normal.
My tzitzis strings have a reddish tinge to them, so every time I see them I remember the trip ;)

The TRs I've read from summer hikers were also covered in mud

Offline MosheD

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2016, 01:35:41 AM »
Yes, I'm the one who only has photos from the first day 

Also, obviously water is VERY photogenic, but the vast mountains that surround you are also incredible...

Offline MosheD

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2016, 01:39:47 AM »
More

Offline MosheD

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2016, 01:44:18 AM »
2-4 are crawlers ledge

Offline MosheD

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2016, 01:46:56 AM »
Close-up of crawlers ledge

Offline high end hobo

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2016, 01:53:44 AM »
Yes, I'm the one who only has photos from the first day 



I can also put up 100 kilobyte photos ASAP.
Quality stuff takes time. mine are already on my flickr around, patience...
« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 02:01:05 AM by high end hobo »

Offline MosheD

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2016, 01:56:54 AM »
I can also put up photos
I can also put up 100 kilobyte photos ASAP.
Quality stuff takes time. mine are already on my flickr around, patience...
Ok looking fwd.
I just figured I'd put up what I have, I'm sure you're will blow mine away
...especially the ones I took

Offline whYME

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Re: Kalalau trail: an epic adventure with High end Hobo, MosheD, and Efflpletzl
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2016, 02:14:13 AM »
The muddiness is likely do to going in the rainy season
I did the first 2 miles in April and it was quite muddy then as well. Although it does sound like it's worse now.