February 24, 2009—Kauai
So we are back one day early from our hike of the Na Pali coast. For me it was very disappointing not to have made it back all the way to the last beach. That beach and the surrounding valley and cliffs (and illegal hippie camping), are what everyone wants to see--maybe in my next reincarnation or when we have won the lottery and can afford the helicopter tour. The trail has been rated a difficulty of 9 out of 10 by the Sierra Club, so even to have done more than half was an accomplishment.
The day hike part ends after two miles—that is also the end of most maintenance. One of the semi-permanent residents who was hiking out to get provisions said that Hawaii doesn't maintain it because the rangers don't walk it; they fly into the last valley by helicopter to issue citations for all the illegal campers and then fly out, at $500 an hour. I can see that the state does have a dilemma. If they make it easier then even more illegals will be able to get back there and walk in and out for provisions, etc. However, if Hawaii put a ranger back there and collected the camping fees and enforced the rules, they could probably collect enough money to pay the ranger's salary. We did have permits, but I had a very strong feeling hardly anyone else did. You can only get them by mail or in person in Honolulu and at least 7 days in advance. The weather was part of the reason we couldn't make it. Though it was pretty dry on our four days, it had rained for two weeks solid before. If we could have waited two days for the trail to dry some, it would have made all the difference. But crazy us, we try to follow the rules! I take comfort in the fact that after the day hike part, I saw no woman over 30 and only 1 man our age—a German.
So now we are back at our cheap $100 a day motel, a mile from the bus stop and beach—and not able to get a rental car until tomorrow. Today I rest my knee, wash clothes and boots, and spend hours on the Internet. For those of you not familiar with our future plans, I will explain the need for all this research.
We head back to the mainland next week for 4 days with our daughter Rebecca in San Francisco and then on to our “home” in Missoula for 2 weeks or so. Next we head to Orlando where we will stay with my sister Marie during most of April. Both our daughters are also coming for a 5 day long weekend. Sometime during that 6 weeks, we have to locate a small diesel RV and arrange to have it shipped to Europe for the next 18 month leg of our adventure.