Kauai, HI: Actual Day 1

We got up at 6am (apparently the rest of the family had been awake for hours, but I kept my word about sleeping in!) and drove to the beginning of the Kalalau Trail, right at Ke'e Beach.  There's really only one main road around the island, and it can't go the entire way around because of the mountains along one side, so essentially we took the road to the end and started our hike. 

I'm so impressed with how well my nephews did during this hike.  Cole hiked almost the entire thing, which was about 4 miles roundtrip (for our hike we only went to the beach and back, not the waterfall which would have been about 8 miles).  And Wes did really well, and then slept on Patti's back for the rest of it which means she was hiking with an extra 30+ pounds on her.  She also seemed to be coming down with a cold (that all the rest of us got) so we voted Cole and Patti the MVP's of the day for crushing that hike.
The photo above is the view from the middle of the hike, right as we start a series of descents to get to that beach you can see emerging.  When we started out, it was kinda cloudy and drizzly.  But as we hiked, the sun came out, the rainbows came out, and the water sparkled and turned the most beautiful shades of blue.  So check it out!
See Wes's happiness in the picture below?  His hat had just blown off and he was inconsolable, until Dad (Grampa) climbed down some sketchy cliff area and grabbed it.  From my view it wasn't necessarily safe but could have been a lot sketchier, but Patti was terrified that he was going to fall all because of a silly hat.  But the hat was recovered soon, and Wes went back to just being tired, not sad he lost his hat.
Did we mention the mud?  See Becky's leg?  That's how we all were during these Hawaii hikes.  Rain constantly rolls through the area, so the hikes don't stay very dry, and popular hikes mean more shoes tracking more moisture through areas that might have stayed kinda dry.  We slipped and slid up and down the trail, and I finally understood why a friend had been shocked when I said I was just packing sneakers when she had recommended hiking boots.  We tried to avoid the mud when we could, which made for awkward stretched out steps.  And when I finally gave up trying to avoid the mud, it caked the bottom of my running shoes and made things even more slippery.  It was slow going at times, especially since I kept getting behind the group by taking all these pictures, but umm, so worth it.
A smiling Wes!!
We hiked down down down, and came upon a river.  I briefly debated taking off shoes and socks to keep them dry, but based on how muddy and wet they already were, I just trudged through the water.  I had a backpack on with my nice camera and my phone, and the river almost knocked me over at one point when I stepped on a large slippery rock, so I was so thankful I had at least some grip to my shoes and not just my bare feet.  That was the scariest moment for me, but mostly because I'd lose all the pictures I'd already taken in all formats.
Once you cross the river though, you're on this private beach!  It's only accessible by hike, or technically boat or helicopter, but it made it really fun that it's a beach you can only get to if you put in the work.  We played here for a little.
Then we turned around and hiked back.
We played at Ke'e Beach at the end, and scrubbed the mud off of us.  Then we stopped in a small town and filled our bellies with food and soft serve.  Jet lag and hiking all morning really took it out of us, and we pretty much just stuck around the hotel the rest of the evening, playing in the pool and letting Cole get used to the slides.  Check in soon for more Hawaii pics!

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