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The Daytrippers: A day hike on Kauai's Napali Coast.

The lofty view of Kee Beach and Haena near the start of the Kalalau Trail.

When I found out there was a guided day hike of the majestic natural wonder that is the Napali Coast, I was off to Kauai as soon as I could book a flight.

Before I continue, some clarification is in order. I’m fairly certain there’s still no humanly means of hiking the 22 miles of rugged, Napali coastline from end-of-the-highway Kee Beach to end-of-the-trail Kalalau Valley and back from sunup to sundown. No way. No day.

The promised prize of my hike with outdoor adventure company Kayak Kauai was instead a visit to Hanakapiai Beach, the first stretch of white sand two miles west of Kee Beach on the Napali-straddling Kalalau Trail.

My guide on the morning I arrived at Kayak Kauai’s Hanalei base of operations was co-owner Miguel “Micco” Godinez. I would later learn that Godinez had hiked, kayaked, paddled, surfed and explored every cave, crevice, canyon and coastline on the island. He’d been up and down the length of the Kalalau Trail more times than he could recall and shared stories of his travels inspiring enough, I thought, to convince more than a few hikers to ditch their day jobs and open an adventure tour company.

“People dream stuff, but they don’t act on it,” said the spritely 60-year-old. “I do.”

Godinez seemed as if he had already been up for hours when we met at 8 a.m., frantically moving around Kayak Kauai’s headquarters in a way contrary to the slow-paced lifestyle of Hanalei. As I got to know Godinez better I understood the motivation behind his frenzy: Life is short. Make the most of every moment. The credo was how he wound up in Hanalei.

In November 1994, Godinez was trekking alone across England on a miserably cold and gloomy day when he walked into a pub near London’s Gatwick airport. “I remember I could taste the air,” said Godinez. On the pub’s wall, his eyes focused on a framed print of the Napali Coast. “I looked at that as a sign,” he said.

He promptly ditched the rest of his U.K. trip and moved to Kauai.

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Napali's Attic: A hike to the Kauai coast's Kilohana Lookout
Kauai’s Napali Coast trail and Kalalau Valley closing for two months, Sept. 7
Kauai’s breathtaking Crater Hill hike to reopen. Here's a sneak peek.

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