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No Vacation Required Podcast

For fulfillment fanatics interested in traveling deliriously, living deliberately, and working virtually.

Kauai - Exploring the Island (Awesome Hike Edition)

NVR Guys

It's been a couple of weeks, so I guess we have to say that we're officially settled in here on Kauai. Since we're on the island for several weeks, there's lots of amazing stuff yet to discover, but we've made friends with some nice routines and are no longer feeling like we have to be running around to "get a feel" for everything.{C} Last week we talked about the fantastic beaches here on Kauai and our experience finding a particularly awesome one. Today, we're gonna take you away from the foamy ocean waves and golden sand. We're going hiking.

You don't need a Kauai hippie to tell you that the hiking opportunities on Kauai are vast. Although we have had a few tell us that, and they know of some pretty great paths (and a few other things - but I digress). People in the know, know that a smart visitor takes in some trails while on Kauai.

Free (really) is better.

The other day we struck up a great "what should we do while we're here" conversation with some locals. After oohing and awing over activities such as the $200+ Jurassic Park themed helicopter rides, golfing, zip-lining and extravagant boat tours, one person said:

Be sure to get out for some hiking. It's probably the best way to see Kauai, and it's free.

That wasn't news to us. You probably know that we're big hikers, and that we try to make it a part of any adventure. At the time of the conversation with these particular locals, we had already been on a couple. The conversation struck us, though, because we were reminded that most visitors don't think that way. These locals were sort of begging us to hike.

Visitors shouldn't have to be urged to do something that 1) shows the bones of a location 2) keeps you fit 3) is free!

Two sides of Kauai.

First off, we were on the Na Pali coast on the Kalalau Trail. We wanted to get a taste of it before tackling the entire 11 miles (and camping?). You 'll see from the pictures that it's a gorgeous trail that offers views of the ocean far below. It was a bit tricky, too, with slippery rocks, mud and ants everywhere. (Sidenote: We have ant issues. After standing still for too long on a hike in Costa Rica, we – our bodies – unknowingly became part of the "trail" for an army of ants. Horrifying. Still in therapy.) The 4+ mile trek was well worth it.  The payoff was a stunning and relaxing beach.

The other pictures you'll see are from a hike that exposed us to a completely different part of the island - the much more arid western side. Our drive to the trailhead took us around the island through Waimea and into the wondrous Waimea Canyon. It looked like a miniature version of Arizona's Grand Canyon. The colorful layers that we saw on the canyon walls represent the lava flow from different volcanic eruptions. A feast for the eyes.

Both of these hikes would be totally free if it weren’t for the gas we're plowing through to keep our beast of a rental mini-van in service and carting us around the island. Even so, not a bad deal.

Some tips for hiking.

For us, exploring and hiking provide a great opportunity to help keep up the fitness regimen while on the road. Here on Kauai, it also helps us to justify keeping the shave ice stands in business.

If you've not hiked before, try it out on your next journey. Here are some basic tips to get you started.

  • Dress appropriately. Many people fail to realize that you often heat up quickly on a hike. Wear clothes that breath and layer if necessary.
  • Wear the right shoes. Hiking boots or trail running shoes work great. On the hike to the beach, a woman with heals (no joke!) was struggling and kept asking “how much further.” What the what.
  • Start out nourished and bring liquids and snacks. Embark on a hike after a hearty meal. More importantly, stay hydrated throughout the hike.
  • Match the hike to your ability. If it’s tough for you to walk a mile, a four mile hike is a bad idea.

In future posts we'll get into the other things that have been keeping us occupied, including food.

We've talked about beaches and hikes - both free. What are your favorite low-cost / no-cost activities while on the road?