The temperature had risen and it was incredible how much the heat and high humidity made us sweat. Our shirts were soaked and there was no square millimetre left dry. We could feel the drops running down our body. It made us realise how important it was to drink enough water to prevent dehydration. We were already dreaming of a cold soda and jumping into the sea. Together with the heat suddenly the landscape changed and it felt like walking on the moon everywhere was very dry. This time there were goats joining us.
The talking stopped and conversation became meditation, the only thing we listened to was our breathing and the ocean waves breaking below the steep cliffs.
The further we came the more exhausted we were. The more exhausted we were the more difficult and dangerous the trek became. The trail was really challenging us. Both of us were focused and concentrated on keeping a steady pace. We always had to be extremely careful walking along the very narrow and steep ledges. When climbing we faced the rocks and avoided looking down as sometimes the cliffs became very steep. We were exhausted, our backpacks felt like a ton and we couldn’t feel our shoulders anymore.
Up and down the endless steep climbs and steep descents, it felt like an eternity. But regardless how hard, exhausted, crazy, hot and long the trail was, at this point we only had one objective in mind, the Kalalau beach, our final destination. We encouraged and motivated each other to continue hiking, pushing our limits not to give up so close to the end. The views were so impressive each time we got to a summit the scenery provided us with the motivation to move on.
Suddenly out of nowhere the Kalalau Valley opened up, our highlight and ‘crown jewel’ of the trail, simply mind-blowing. We remember standing there with goose bumps and just speechless looking at the scenery, what a magical place! We forgot our exhaustion and our pain. We couldn’t believe that we had finally arrived; we were so proud and relieved.
We descended down the valley and reached the Kalalau beach, found a place for our tent and went straight to the waterfall. Waters were gently crushing on us, we finally refreshed ourselves. Back at the tent we simply opened a can of chilli con carne, went to the beach, watched the sunset. The amazing place made us smile. A hidden paradise. Our eyes were now filled with the hem and haw of lava rocks, the luxurious vegetation, the hard rain, the infinite ocean swelling for miles, endlessly.
Words. Emilie Jean-Baptiste and Patrick Rottensteiner
Pictures. Patrick Rottensteiner
Short movie. Patrick Rottensteiner
Artwork. Ángela Palacios