MeJane's blog by Nadine Nicholson


3 lessons from the remote wilds of Hawaii #mejane

Nadine Nicholson - Thursday, March 15, 2018
3 lessons from the remote wilds of Hawaii #mejane

Have you ever had such a deep experience that it’s difficult to express it in words?

That’s how I feel while writing this for you.

A long-time dream recently came true.

I led a nature immersion retreat for a small group of beautiful, heartfelt people on the Na Pali Coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

We hiked the gruelling 11-mile Kalalau Trail, camped in Honokaa Valley for one night, camped in Kalalau Valley for three nights, and made our way back out to the trailhead.

I hired a local hiking guide to help us navigate the trail and organize key logistics like camping equipment, food shopping and food preparation.

The experience was profound.

We slept under the full moon in Honokaa Valley, where ancient Polynesians trained their warriors.

We bathed in fresh spring water pools and waterfalls.

We walked in our bare feet and became one with the land.

We shared our learnings around the campfire.

We practiced yoga on a sacred heiau with humpback whales serenading us.

We enjoyed the most delicious organic food.

And we connected deeply with Mama Nature.

This experience is one I will remember for my life.

Here are three lessons from the remote wilds of Hawaii:

1. Every ounce of weight counts.

The distance to Kalalau Valley from the trailhead is 10 kilometres (6 miles) by boat or nearly 20 kilometres (11 miles) by land. This gives some perspective for elevation changes on the trail. We hiked up and down multiple valleys, traversed rivers, waded through mud, and scaled a narrow rock ledge with a cliff drop to the sea. While we packed quite well, we also felt every ounce of extra weight in our backpacks along the way.

How much unnecessary “weight” do you travel through life and business with?

Key message: Travel with the lightest materials possible.

2. Look where you want to go.

If you’ve ever ridden a bike on mountain trails, you’ll know you go where you look. If you look ahead on the trail, you’ll likely stay on the trail. If you look towards a ditch, you’ll likely go into the ditch.

This concept came in handy for me during some of the more technically difficult sections of Kalalau Trail. Crawler’s Ledge is a famous section of narrow trail with cliff drop offs. At one point, the trail turns into rock, narrows to 12-15 inches wide, and drops down into the ocean many feet below. Crazy, right?!

Just before navigating Crawler’s Ledge, I narrowed my focus to the trail and blocked out the ocean far down below. I leaned into the rock wall and distributed my weight toward the mountain and away from the ocean. It was intense and focused. It was one of my most confident moments on the trail.

How much of your focus is on where you want to go versus where you don’t want to go?

Key message: Focus on your own path and lean into the support around you.

3. Those who wander find themselves.

The Kalalau Valley is highly protected by the Hawaiian state government, for good reason. The state releases only 50 camping permits each day and they sell out months in advance.

There are about 10 long-time squatters who make the valley home and stay hidden from state officials. I got to know “Bob” and “Martha” (not their real names) who have lived in Kalalau Valley for 20 years and 3 years, respectively. They shared some wisdom with me, learned from living in Mother Nature.

“The Hawaiian word “Kalalau” means to lose yourself to find yourself. When you come to Kalalau Valley, you are on a soul’s journey to find yourself. Mama Nature sure does love helping people find themselves. She is patient and allows you to work at your own pace. You learn what you need to learn, even if it doesn’t make sense quite yet. If you’re willing to listen, Mama will help you live a long, happy, healthy and stress-free life.”

How much time do you spend wandering in nature?

Key Message: Mama Nature guides you where you need to go. You just need to meet her where she is.

Hiking the Kalalau Trail and camping in the Kalalau Valley was a profound experience.

I will be processing this for months and years to come and look forward to the next time Mama Earth welcomes me in Kalalau. I am deeply grateful.

Call to Action

What did you get for yourself from reading about the wild lands of Kauai? I invite you to post a comment below.