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Discovering the Napali (Part 1: Secrets)

Secrets Beach | On the road to Kalalau

How did I come to discover the Na Pali Coast? The Hawaiian Isles have always held a certain magical, romantic, exotic charm for me... Tarzan and Jane in the tree-house, without all the annoying crocodiles, elephants and cute, but mischievous monkey.

My love affair with this wondrous coastline began as a left-brained intellectual approach to seek out and find the true, untouched Hawaii romanticized in the movies of the '40s and '50s.

I had a chance to go in 1981, taking a leave of absence from my first real engineering job. My plan was to visit my grandparents in India, while stopping off for some R&R at the most remote, untouched place in Hawaii.

The Internet, at the time was just a private chat network for particle physicists, so I dug into our family's trusty Collier's Encyclopedia, and zeroed in on the Kalalau Valley on Kauai's Na Pali Coast as my desired destination. The perilous 11-mile hike would only serve as a filter to keep out the effluent of civilization.

I booked a great deal from Pan-Am that would allow me to fly continuously around the world on a single ticket. Travel had to be completed within an 80 day period. This was 1981, I flew west from LA in mid February... standby for just $1400. I planned to stop 1st in Hawaii, then on to Hong Kong, China, Bangkok, India of course, and then back home.

Hitchhiking north from the Lihue Airport, my first ride decided I needed to visit Secret's Beach, just past Kilauea. This was certainly paradise... I put my pack under a tree, dropped my shorts and jumped into a warm Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life. I had a nice invigorating swim, which was actually about 1 part actual swimming and 9 parts getting tossed around by the February surf. I came back to find my shorts had been washed away... I took this as a sign, or rather a rationalization for my naturalist tendencies. (to be continued)

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North Shore Kauai LInks

North Shore Grindz
Great brick oven pizza at a reasonable price... good burgers, salads, coffee and breakfast too.

Good Mexican food with a decided Brazilian flair... Good Prices and they serve a variety of ice cold beer, perfect just coming off the trail.

Kalalau Spirit

Taylor Camp Movie
John Wehrheim's movie on Kauai's hippie commune of the '70s.

Aaron takes stunning photos of the beauty of the Napali Coast and Kauai's north shore.

Heartbeat of Kauai
Richard Diamond has been publishing the Museletter online since 2002, bringing together Kauai's community.

Athena Grace
Athena paints wonderful tapestries with words, soaking in life's wonder in a Zen manner.

More Napali Websites

Na Pali Coast Ohana
A non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage and natural treasures of the Na Pali.

Kalalau Trail Guide
More good information on hiking the Napali Coast Trail.

Cool Links

The Tenth Dimension
A great movie on visualizing the 10th dimension.

The Story of Stuff
Dramatic video on where stuff comes from and where it goes. should be required watching for all consumers.