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Hiking alone in Kauai

Vancouver, Canada
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Hiking alone in Kauai

Hey hikers! I am coming to Kauai for 10 days, and will be spending about 4 days by myself. I am planning to camp in the Koke'e state park campsite, and do day hikes around the park. I have been looking at the Alakai swamp trail, the Kukui trail into Waimea Canyon, and the Awa'awapuhi Trail. My questions are: 1. Are these safe to do as solo day hikes? I have quite a lot of hiking experience and I know what I am doing, but I don't want to get lost. Are the trails easily marked? Also - is there any issue of being a woman alone in the wilderness? Here in my hometown a few women have been assaulted in our big city parks. 2. Are most of the trails in Koke'e park accessible with a rental car? I am planning to rent a cheap car, nothing fancy. I don't want to get stuck in a ditch somewhere!

Thanks for your help!!

Oshkosh, Wisconsin
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1. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

This is just my opinion (and I travel alone frequently) but I would think the hiking trails would be a heck of a lot safer than camping alone. I would feel so incredibly vulnerable being in a tent, alone. You are brave.

Kris

Santa Rosa...
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2. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

"Also - is there any issue of being a woman alone in the wilderness?"

I don't know if anyone is going to tell you no, that there are no problems with a woman alone in the wilderness, even on Kauai. Granted, it's not a large mainland city but I for one wouldn't tell you that it will be just fine and dandy. I'm not familiar with the campgrounds up at Kokee. Hopefully the campgrounds there are chock full of other campers all within close proximity of each other.

As far as hiking alone goes you should NOT do this alone,. If something happened to you who would know? Always best to be with others on a hike. This aren't like trails throughout metropolitan Vancouver area. There are organized guided hiking tours throughout Kauai. Do a search online, or check some guidebooks. Possibly Kokee State Park itself has some. Or hook up with others from the campground.

Kauai, Hawaii
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3. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

Thanks Napa,we have our own personal rules that we follow, as well.

When I saw this post, about hiking and camping alone, it went against our standard mantra, well Erica and my procedures.....we do not hike alone, nor snorkel or dive alone, or swim in the ocean alone.

I did not see from the OP's post :

that she had her DNLR OR COUNTY camping permits , which should be taken care of before heading across the pond. Or if she has the UKG or Kauai Hiker or other hiking guides. Being an experienced hiker, she probably does. Page 124 and 125 in the UKG has good scoops on permits.And, many pages on hikes that the author has actually treked.

We plan ahead as to which trail or entry we are going to use for the Alakai Swamp trail. Without a 4 wheel drive, we access the alakai swamp trail hiking in from the Pihea trail.....the added perk there is the great views of the Kalalau Valley. Plus for the visitors, if they drive the back road dirt trails they are in viloation of their rental car contract going off road.

The Awa awapuhi trail to the view point is easy going down, and a bit challenging on that 3 plus mile walk back up to the trail head. Erica would kid me , as I am plodding back up, that if I am still alive when we get back to the car, she is treating lunch and cold brews. Actually, I made it in good stead.

We check with the gals at the Koke'e museum as to trail conditions at the time or on early morning that we intend to hike up in Koke'e. They are up to date and will have lots of valuable information on trail conditions,and maintenace .plus reports from recent hikers.

In fact this morning ( sunday ) , we are picking up a friend and driving up to Koke'e to hike the Berry Flat trial, that should be lush and green and easy. But we will also call ahead.

For the OP, on many of the trails, we sometimes see very few others, and sometimes no one else . Any kind of injury, especially to an ankle, or taking a pig trail and getting lost could result in a bad situation especailly for a solo hiker .Other trails , there are other people, Never know.

Kauai, Hawaii
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4. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

Just to add for those hiking alone.

A man was finally found and rescued after hiking alone up in wiamea. He became disoriented and called is mom on his cell phone....she alerted the fire dept. They began a seach, and after spending the night lost, we was eventually located and the rescue helo was brought in and we was air lifted out from below waipoo falls.

This can be verified in todays ( monday ) Garden Island Local News on the the Garden Island Newspaper website.

Moorpark, California
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for Kauai, Catalina Island
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5. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

My husband travels to Kauai frequently on business. He has a couple of hikes he likes to do on his day off (Kukui in Waimea Canyon or Kalalau to Hanakapiai Falls). He calls me just before he heads out and calls again when he is done and always tells me how much time it should take, etc.

California
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6. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

I would ask kauaihiker, our real expert on the forum for hiking and camping. If he doesn't come on here, pm him.

I too would be very concerned about camping alone and being a female makes it even more iffy.

The guy they found lost in the canyon was just plain old lucky his cell phone even worked. Most do not.

California
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7. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

Here is something that just came in from the county. I am sure these people did not heed the warning of bad weather and look what happened.

<<The County of Kaua'i reports: 60-70 hikers stranded at Hanakapiai, 23 others rescued No injuries reported. HANAKAPIAI -- An estimated 90 hikers or more were stranded at Hanakapiai yesterday evening due to the rising stream, which made the crossing treacherous. Rescuers aboard Air 1 were able to fly 23 people out to safety before darkness set in. The rest of the hikers spent the night in the valley along with two rescue specialists. No injuries were reported.

Another rescue team is preparing to fly to Hanakapiai early this morning and assist the remaining hikers.>>

Nanaimo, Canada
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8. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

Thanks for the info about Hanakapiai jebett. I have a friend on Kauai right now, and she mentioned the 70 needing rescuing. I thought it was a typo!

Hope they manage to get everyone out safely.

To the OP, what time of year are you planning this trip? That might make a difference to the condition of the trails, but you can still sprain an ankle anywhere, anytime.

Kauai, Hawaii
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9. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

90 people trapped when hiking the hanakapiai trail ( and to the waterfall).....this was 90 all at one time. And here we go again with the helicopter rescues, and emegency personnel. Must have been a nice evening for those visitors who were stranded due to darkness falling, and had to sleep out in the wet and cold for the night. Actually, it was cold ( for us ) this morning when I went to the gym. I imagine it was not too comfortable for the 70 hikers who spent the night up at hanakapiai stream crossing.

Yesterday, ( sunday) I could easlily see from Lihue, the huge mass of dark clouds , and rain up toward the north shore and Mt. Waialeale. It was slammed, and we would not have headed up north.

We headed west, to sunshine, and clear skies on the ridge. Once up near waimea canyon , the clouds started to move over the area. Then up higher in koke'e the drizzle started, we did not even get out of the car, we turned around and drove back down the mountain to the coast that was OK on the west side.

Plan B, we hiked a coastal trail past glass beach, and then returned to port allen for lunch and coldies. Great views, tourists looking for glass on the beach, and a few others walking the trail.

Regressing: those clouds covering the north shore were no surprise deal to those hikers.....I saw them, from lihue covering the northshore at about 8:00 am. I told Erica that those clouds were moving to the west, she decided they were moving south. The west side was clear as were the mountains and ridge that we were heading for. I still maintained that we were going to be wet, but Erica and her friend thought that we could drive up and check it out, we could always turn around.

Once up there, sure enough, the clouds and fog rolled in, and we cancelled those hiking plans for the Berry Flat Trail in Koke'e, and did not even park. But 90 visitors did not heed any of that, and they were up on the north shore where it was raining up in the mountains all morning long ...and of course that means the rivers filling and flowing to the sea.

Oh, well, last year I think it was around 70 plus people were stranded overnight, after a couple of helo loads of them were rescued before darkness set in. The rest of them spent the night. And then two weeks later an additional 27 or so did the same exact thing, even tho they were warned about the conditions. One 42 year old visitor woman was swept down the river and drowned trying to return across the rampaging river.

I imagine some of those yesterday, hiked up to the falls, and than was really inadiseable considering the dark rain clouds cover the mountains.

Erica and I were talking about it this morning, and the visitors are responsible for the costs of rescueing them on a continual basis. We pay the freight for all of the costs of rescue operations. Well, as residents, we have come up with a plan that we have witnessed on some of our sailing vacations. Those Caribbean islands wised up long ago. At least 30 years ago, when we took our first sailing vacatiion in the BVI.

We , as tourists, pay a $ 20.00 each departure tax, or we do not leave the island homeward bound. We plan for that, so we have some cash in order to pay. Now, you have to pay that , and have your receipt, that I stick in my passport, before going though security and our baggage checks.

No, we do not cry and snivel, or complain, never have. We happily give them our $ 20.00 each, show them our passports and travel visa, and then go into the departure hall, to board the aircraft.

So, before leaving kauai, the visitors pony up the depature tax that could also assist in the costs that they incur while on island .

For us, when traveling, we know that we are helping out the British Virgin Islands when we pay our departure tax, and actually makes us feel good since we have marvelous vacations sailing those islands.

Edited: 3:42 pm, April 07, 2014
10. Re: Hiking alone in Kauai

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