Our evening at Hanakoa was a wet one. It rained throughout the night and the area in Hanakoa Valley was surprisingly humid. If you should ever make plans for this hike, my recommendation would be to stay about half-mile to one mile further. There is a single spot that is much more open and dryer, but could be occupied because it is a small area.
I’m standing like a super hero in this picture, but my feet were barking from the previous day’s struggle. We tried to dry off our equipment as well as we could, then packed up our belongings. Back on the trail, we walked by a helicopter landing site, maintained by the state. There are about three or four landing sites along the trail to retrieve hikers that can’t journey any further, but we didn’t encounter anybody who needed help.
After about an hour on the trail, we reached the cliffs at about mile seven. Although only a short distance, this stretch is very precarious. My photographs don’t illustrate the true prospect of danger. One misplaced step and you could easily fall off the mountain face and end up in the ocean, most likely unconscious. This was the only part of the trail where I was waiting on Karel. I’ve never seen anybody hug a rock wall so tightly. Apparently, he is more burro than goat.
With the hazardous section behind us, we continued to trudge up and down the trail for a couple of hours until we reached a sign stating we had arrived at the Kalalau area. The clouds had opened up and welcomed us with phenomenal views. We took our tripod selfie, knowing we had about another half hour’s trek to the beach. As we descended, we saw red rock, blue skies and green growth…true RGB.
What we saw next, we were sincerely not prepared for. The trail that precedes the beach is level, but thick with vegetation, limiting our view only to 10-15 yards. As we rounded a curve, we both stopped in our tracks and saw a completely naked woman walking ahead of us. We had heard there was a hippy community at the beach, but no clues were given as to a nudist community. We eventually caught up with the barefooted gazelle and spoke with her and a friend (this one clothed) about camping locations. Over the next 24 hours, we spotted about a dozen people sans fabric in the area. As a side note, I ended up speaking to the naked gazelle again and discovered she was from Austin…small world.
The people of this community were very unique. I’ll go into details in the next entry.