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The trip of a lifetime | Kayaking to Kalalau

hmmm. this post is going to be hard to write. no matter how many words i use i could never fully describe what we experienced during this particular week, but i’ll do my best.

to give you guys a brief rundown of the logistics of our trip, last week for my 26th birthday myself and 15 amazing friends kayaked 20 miles from the north shore of Kauai (Ke’e Beach), all the way to the west side (Polihale), covering the entire Na Pali coastline from one end to the other, one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world and it is only accessible by foot or water. we did the trip over 4 days, spending the first 2 nights at kalalau beach sleeping in hammocks, bathing in waterfalls, dancing under rainbows and chasing sunsets. the next night we spent at a beach further down the coast called miloli’i where we were the only people we could see, minus our new friend “griz” who lives there off the land. we searched for shells, the boys hiked into the valley to find us fresh spring water, and we finished every last bit of red wine that we had left. it was definitely the most incredible experience of my life… what an adventure.

first of all, i learned a lot from this trip. i think i underestimated how big of a deal it actually is to travel and prepare for this many days and this far of a distance on the open ocean. for a girl who hates planning, this trip took a TON of it and luckily it all somehow came together thanks to the efforts of MANY people. of course i am always leaving things to the last minute which lead to us forgetting essential camping gear like flashlights, trashbags and for some strange reason we only thought to bring 2 single person hammocks for the 3 of us in our “group”, and we just found the kayak we used the night before we left, ha!! we did however remember to bring a tent, but thanks to a later sinking kayak fiasco we ended up losing that before we even reached the beach on the first day… oh boy.

the first day on the kayaks (which was my birthday) was definitely the most interesting and entertaining. i had convinced myself that it was very unlikely for the kayaks to tip over and that we would all arrive dry and happy, having just cruised along the most beautiful scenery taking pictures, swimming etc. well, let me tell you this was not the case, ha! the trade winds were strong that day which made the paddling easier since it was at our back, but it also made for a wind swell. everyone flipped their kayaks at least once, some almost 10 times, (all except david and tiffany who somehow managed to have no problems at all ha! lucky!) and due to a series of unfortunate events, peter and i actually had to swim about 40 minutes while our kayak was being towed by another kayak (which flipped later on as well haha)…. good thing i am a good swimmer! i had to try real hard to not think about sharks… swimming as fast as i could in what i couldn’t help but think was a neon-shark-bait-bikini, and i had never been more grateful that peter was as ocean smart as he is, (plus he was on the swim team right up into college so that made me feel better, ha!) we both managed to stay calm, and couldn’t stop laughing, a leak in our kayak, of course that would happen. luckily all of our gear (minus a few minor items) made it to the beach safely despite the total yard-sale that was happening outside the beach as everyone tried to get their kayaks in past the shorebreak. flipped kayaks and dry bags and other random things floating everywhere …. it was entertaining for those already on land to say the least! and you know what, it made for the best story afterwards. i can’t imagine if everything had just gone smoothly, where is the adventure in that!?!? 😉

i would love to explain to you the magic we all felt once we were settled in the most beautiful place on earth. we hiked and explored, layed out on the beach, rinsed off in the fresh water of the river and waterfalls. we counted shooting stars and rainbows and dolphins, enjoyed campfires and laughter with the best of friends. and after our first day of kayaking, the next 2 times were a piece of cake. we patched up our leak with duct-tape and it was smooth sailin’. we’ve been back for a week today and i still catch myself daydreaming of this place and these experiences with this group who never stops smiling. it was definitely life outside of the comfort zone, but that’s what made it so great. what an incredible way to kick off my 26th year, i think it’s gonna be a good one;)

with that i’ll leave you with a few favorite photographs. so grateful for these amazing people who have come into my life and welcomed me with open arms. these friends have the warmest and sweetest hearts, laugh like crazy people, live for adventure and just love to love life no matter what anyone thinks. such good energy and they all made my birthday so special. it was definitely a trip of a lifetime! can’t wait to do it again, (and maybe next time be a little bit more prepared, mentally at least!;))


Processed with VSCOcam with k3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with k2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with k2 presetfirst thing when we got to kalalau after setting up camp was taking a 3 hour hike into the valley to find these pools, the guys were even riding down the waterfalls like a slip and slide… how is this place even REAL!?2015-07-04_00042015-07-04_0005Processed with VSCOcam with k3 presetstill so excited that we made it… not many people can say they swam to kalalau, haha! what an amazing birthday sunset with amazing people:)Processed with VSCOcam with k3 preset2015-07-04_00062015-07-04_0009so happy to have had my highschool bestie out visiting for the week to experience this crazy adventure with!! now THAT’S what i call a “trip to hawaii” 😉2015-07-04_0010this next day was the most epic sunset of our lives… 2015-07-04_00112015-07-04_00122015-07-04_00132015-07-04_00142015-07-04_00152015-07-04_0016Processed with VSCOcam with k3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset2015-07-04_0019the next morning we left kalalau and kayaked a few hours down the coast to miloli’i… such a change of scenery and still soo beautiful! how’s that cliff!?!? …and there were seashells EVERYWHERE!Processed with VSCOcam with k3 preset2015-07-04_0021Processed with VSCOcam with k2 preset2015-07-04_0023

the kauai tribe with our new friend ‘griz’.. can you spot him? …ha! 2015-07-04_00252015-07-04_0024our last day we kayaked 3 hours from miloli’i to polihale. it was the first time kayaking with basically no swell and no wind. the water was crazy beautiful but the no wind made for a much harder paddle! luckily we saw the catamaran tour boat that our friend wade works on – dave and tiff waved them down so they could toss us each a cold beer! best beer ever!

Processed with VSCOcam with k3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with k3 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with k3 preset…and that my friends was our week! hope you enjoyed this post, go do something crazy today! 😉 xo ~ meg


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  1. Cheryland Cal Bystrom says:

    Sounds amazing !! So love Kauai !! One of my favorites!

  2. Jackie Haugen says:

    Bahahaha this was my nightmare! hahaha. The pictures are awesome!! Miss all of you so mucho!

  3. Stephanie Smith says:

    Mack and I are enjoying these blogs, especially the ‘neon-shark-bait-bikini’….. hahahaha thats me!! I agree, its total shark bait! Keep the blogs coming! 🙂



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