Hawaii Vacation Misadventures of Andy & Sheila: ‘No Picnic for You’ Edition

Hanakapiai Beach taken from Kalalua Trail
On our first trip to Kauai, we were exceptionally excited to hit some of the island’s outstanding hiking trails. High on our list was hiking the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail.

Through our research, we had read that the Kalalau Trail was a fairly strenuous hike. We had also read advice to bring a picnic along to enjoy at the beautiful Hanakapi’ai Beach, which is at the two-mile point of the trail. From Hanakapi’ai Beach, you rest, eat and muster up the energy to hike back to the parking lot.

We felt confident that we knew what we were going to do. We had scoped out a Safeway grocery store in Princeville, where we planned to purchase picnic snacks. We had this so perfectly planned. No problemo!

Through our planning, we’d aimed to hike the Kalalau Trail two or three days into our trip. We thought it would be a good idea to adjust from the jet lag and get a bit rested after our 14-hour journey by jet.

On our first full day of the vacation, we had planned to take a Na Pali Coast catamaran tour from the North Shore. That morning, we called to confirm the tour when we were informed that the tour was canceled due to high seas. Since we wanted to make the most of our time, we checked our itinerary and thought, what the heck, let’s do the Kalalau Trail today.

That wasn’t a very good decision for two jet lagged souls, but we were pumped up on vacation adrenalin and couldn’t wait to get out to explore Kauai.

Hawaii-October-2008461We donned our hiking gear. Grabbed our water bottles. Then we hopped in the car and headed for the trail.

We were probably about 20 minutes into the trail when we realized that we had passed by the Princeville Safeway without stopping in for picnic supplies. Because our plans had changed at the last minute, we completely forgot to pick up those picnic supplies. Still coasting on adrenalin, we thought that there was no need to go back to the car and then onto the Safeway. We’re tough, we thought. How hard can this be? We hike all the time.

Rut roh!

Let me tell you that the Kalalau Trail is a pretty darn tough trail with lots of elevation changes and switchbacks. It’s a trail that you definitely want have eaten some protein before you start hiking it. What did Andy and I have for breakfast that morning? Sugary cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing. That’s not exactly a stick-to-your-ribs type breakfast.

So, here we are on this trail that’s got us huffing and puffing and we’ve not eaten anything of nutritional substance and we have no picnic supplies. God must had some pity on us because I found a 90-calorie Special K bar in one of my pockets. That’s all we had between us. 90-calories…to share! I’m cracking up again as I can vividly picture the memory of Andy and I sitting on Hanakapiai Beach carefully rationing and sharing this Special K bar. We couldn’t help but stare at the smarter and perhaps less jet lagged hikers enjoying their full picnic lunches. Doh!

Of course, we didn’t die from starvation on the Kalalau trail, but we were famished at the end of it. If you are thinking of hiking this trail, be sure and read my tips for hiking Kauai’s Kalalau Trail and don’t forget the picnic!


This post is part of an ongoing series of Hawaii vacation mishaps. For other posts in this series, see this series announcement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like