I Got Scooped

While I strive to be a source of information about the Kalalau trail, I wasn’t able to hike it this year and see the repairs that were reportedly done in the dangerous-looking sections. Another resident, Arius Hopman, hikes the trail more regularly and has finally taken photos, and Juan posted them on Island Breath. Arius is a landscape photographer with a beautiful gallery in Hanapepe (or a gallery made beautiful by his works I should say), his works are also on his website. I don’t know him, but I have seen him at his gallery on Friday Art Night.

While I’m not going to take back all my doubts about the solidity of the work, I do admit the trail looks better. For someone like me who has only been hiking on it for the past 5 years and got used to the roughness, the repaired parts look like a sidewalk now, for better or for worse. It should make it easier for people with a fear of heights to hike past without being paralyzed by the void.

One image shows a “trail puka” (hole, pronounced poo-ka), an “erosion hole in the trail from goats, runoff and hikers who get pushed off the trail by encroaching brush.” They are prevalent in the third mile leaving Hanakapi’ai and in the ninth mile, on some of the steep little valleys leading up to Red Hill. To me, these are the critical maintenance spots because they can easily cause ankle injuries or worse on a steep slope. Plus once the hole starts, erosion just keeps making it larger until it cuts the trail and a bypass is created, causing more erosion. These areas should be high priority for maintenance because the holes are difficult to repair, yet easily and cheaply prevented by cutting the brush.

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© 2024.

1 Comment   »

  1. Kevin says:

    I don’t understand why everybody makes such a big issue out of the condition of the Kalalau trail. I hiked the trail in May of 07 and didn’t really think it was that bad, you should see some of the popular trails here in Colorado. I understand wanting to fix up a few of the mudslide areas and dangerous crossings but a 2-3 foot wide graded trail the whole way? To me this seems very excessive. Isn’t the inaccesability and remoteness a big part of the areas charm? I feel that making the trail too easy will bring a lot more people to the area and only increase the problems with crowding and garbage.

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