Hike to Kalalau – My 34th B-day Part 1

May 23rd, 2011

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Kalalau trail.

11 miles one way.

Top 10 most dangerous hikes in the world. Top 10 most magical places in the world.

Once seen by helicopter, now, I’m hiking it!

This trip to the depth of Kalalau has been in my mind for a long time. Finally, everything is falling into place for it to happen. My sweet friend Maureen feels the same way. She wanted to do it too and it’s finally flowing.

Airfares are free with points.
My birthday tradition of doing something bold and different is happening.
We thought we knew a bit what we were getting into but…
WE HAD NO IDEA.

The first day, my body reacted from the fear on my unconscious mind. My hip, my leg was almost paralyzed. I woke up with intense pain. I flew to Kauai anyways. Our plan was to start hiking the very next day.

I got to Kauia to the B&B and rested, rested and rested.
I iced my hips and elevated my leg all day.
I was determined to not let my fear take my freedom away.
I was determined to hike to the portal, to the very intimate creases of Mother Earth.

Next day, I was perfectly fine.
I felt a little discomfort but not enough to make me stop.
We got a ride to the beginning of the trail around noon and started the journey.

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I borrowed a metal hiking stick.
Maureen found a wooden stick at the trailhead.
We were just to find out how important and life saving tools these were.
We sat and pray before we started.

Dear Father,
thank you so much for the opportunity of being here
here, on this planet
here, on this body
here, on this valley
here, on this island

We gather before we start to acknowledge your presence and love
and to express gratitude for it.

We ask for your protection
We ask for guidance
and the clarity to hear our own intuition speak.

Dear Mother,
your beauty is beyond words
we see it in every little detail of yourself
so alive
so giving

Thanks for calling us and allowing us to go deep into you;
deep in Nature
to appreciate your vast beauty
the waters, your blood
the trees, your lungs
the ground, your body.

Please guide and protect us all the way
We are happy to be here in your presence

Guardian angels
spirits of light
laughter & joy
Christ frequencies of love & compassion
be with us, around us, be us

Thank you for the synchronicities of life, pathways and people that lead us to be here

Here we begin:

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The first 2 miles to Hanakapi’ai Beach were hot & sticky. I thought “intense”.
We run into Joel and Victoria at the beach. Even though swimming is not allowed  because of the dangerous currents, we did. We swam half naked, playing with the waves and feeling the intense currents. Nice refreshing break!

My hip was still giving some problems. My contacts started to bother me. I left my contact solution since Maureen was bringing some. Hum! Not really the best idea. My contacts were not happy. All of these resistances my body was coming up with!  Feeling once again, my body and my spirit so distinctive.

My body was saying “I’m afraid”
My spirit was saying “I’m here, I’m present, I’m strong, I’m doing this.”

I took my contacts out and even though my glasses make me feel so uncomfortable,  I put them on and kept myself on the journey.

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A good swim, a few snacks, cave discovering and wave contemplation
now we were ready to keep going for 4 more miles to the first camping site.

Next, a trail a little more exhausting than the first 2 miles.
Wide open trails which later became super narrow with lots of vegetation around. It was not clear where the border was. We could only feel it with the stick. Thank goodness for it!

We were encountering people turning back with swollen broken ankles & completely dishearten. We would listen to their stories and then repeat to myself and Maureen “ That’s their story, not ours” “We are strong, we are protected, will make it safe”

I knew this part was going to be narrow & muddy. I experienced it before years ago when hiking to the waterfalls. I thought it was hard…

Hummm… the hard part …didn’t even started yet

A very much needed soak in the river followed after an intense 6 mile hike.
Heavy rain welcomed us at the campground.
Super honest, vulnerable, funny and lovely conversations in the tent with my dear friend Maureen.
Oh! I so love this woman every minute a tiny bit more.

The inflatable mats I brought had holes on them.
They kept getting flat on us all night long!
Next day, our bodies were beat up, from the hike and the hard sleeping surface
Although, our spirits still strong and confident.

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We started the journey for the next 4 miles to Kalalau Valley

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80 ft cliffs

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The trail,
so steep, so narrow, so incredibly dangerous
at this point I had to stop taking pictures
I had 34 pounds in my backpack
and a pair of not so good keen sandals hugging my feet.

One mistake was fatal
I felt as if death was flirting
I felt scared and vulnerable

Maureen had no difficulty with heights because she often practice rock climbing
Heights and instability in my feet was my weakness at that moment

The wind was incredibly strong, specially when turning in and out from the valleys on the cliffs
It felt as if the wind was going to blew me away down the hill

Unprotected, slippery, run down, powdery Kalalau trail

A breaking point
A place in the trail that was so frightening.
I panic

there was almost no path to walk on
NARROW
slanted
powdery
crumbly

I took the first step
I was slipping

on my right, a steep rocky dry cliff with no vegetation
on my left, a down hill with a few roots sticking out
the wind blowing
there was nothing to hold on to

Maureen had already gone through
she was waiting for me on the other side
I saw myself sliding down the hill
I experienced death for a few seconds

I was not ready

so, I stood there
and I cried
paralyzed

Maureen came back to get me
she hold my hand while I balanced in the narrow trail to take off my shoes

I needed to feel the earth
to grasp it
to ground

She couched me and supported me while I,
bending my knees as much as I can in order to balance the weight of my backpack
holding softly the unstable roots with my left hand
I made it all the way through

Phew!

From that moment on everything was different
I trembled for a while
humbled
raw
loved
saved

in gratitude

to my own spirit and strength
to my ancestors
to my primary guardian angel
to my physical, worldly-in the moment guardian angel, Maureen

We continue

The beauty, the magic of the valleys
was unfolding, blooming with every step

and I was as present as I could ever be
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I asked for advice to the people that have walked this path before
There was nothing said to warn me about the challenges.

One piece good of advice was “right before you get to the 8 mile marker, go to your left, don’ go over the path that’s been blocked by rocks, a lot of people go over it without noticing”

Well, we did went over without noticing. It was actually right after the 7 mile marker instead. I noticed  the “7” engraved in the rocks.

Immediately after we wet over the path, I noticed I have lost my pocket camera
I was still a little shaky so Maureen said  “no worries, I’ll backtrack and I’ll find it”
Once again, she was so supportive and full of compassion and love…

Two minutes later, I heard “ Found it”
Thank goodness for this woman!
All the pictures that I took and all the ones that I was to take for the week were saved!

So, we kept going

Now the challenges were more about muscle strength, climbing up and down
and that’s were my strength lies
so, I helped Maureen and did my best to cheer her up when she needed it.

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and we were there,
right around the corner,
the most magnificent valley
Kalalau Valley

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In an altered state my body, soul and mind were
a once in a lifetime experience to hike to the valley

Happy Birth – Day to me

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