Posted on December 16, 2009 under General
Packrafting in Paradise

By Co-owner and Guide Michael Wald

Winter in Fairbanks has its charms, but it sure feels good to get some sunshine and warm weather in Hawai’i. We can’t keep our boys, ages 1 and 3, out of the warm water. The island of Kauai is truly spectacular and we have had beautiful weather for the entire time we have been enjoying the little beach town of Hanalei on the north side of the island.

The island isn’t big (especially by Alaska standards) but it does have a few little rivers that are perfect for Packrafting. Packrafts are little 4 pound rafts that easily pack into a daypack and can be carried anywhere you can hike. They are used in the Brooks Range to access otherwise inaccessible rivers and creeks or to cross rivers too deep to ford on backpacking trips. (I have lots of arctic packrafting trips dreamed up if anyone is interested. Napmaktuak Pass anyone?)

Here in Kauai, we found a little jungle trail and hiked up the Hanalei River and then paddled back down. It was just a day trip but banana trees, freshwater lobsters, deep swimming holes, and waterfall-streaked mountains were just some of the sights. I had never paddled in warm water before but I think I could get used to it. Enjoy the little movie of our trip my friend Ben Shelton made.