Hanalei River Kayaking is a very laid-back adventure. #traveltips Make sure you have some strong arms, because on the way up the river you will be paddling against the current, but it’s smooth kayaking on the way back, when you’re good and tired.
There are no rapids here, but one of the things you’ll see besides a lot of taro farms and birds along the way are dozens of buffalo. The biggest buffalo ranch in all of the islands is along the river here. The owner ships buffalo burger, steaks and jerky around the world from this farm. He is an awesome person! While you are paddling up the river, you will be passing by the buffalo farm and most of the time the buffalo will come down to the river’s edge to check you out just as much as you are checking them out. It’s a great photo opportunity if you have the right kind of water-resistant camera or camera case!
I found out about this ranch when I was in Kauai working and had been the inspector for the owner’s property after Hurricane Iniki (You can read more about my adventures in Iniki in my book). After I did my inspection, he invited me to come back to witness the birth of a buffalo calf. It was an awesome experience.
We were in a jeep only 20 or 30 feet from a mother giving birth to her calf and some of the other buffalo seemed to be guarding her. The rancher wanted to show me how protective the herd is, so he got just a little close and one of the males charged our jeep. Thank goodness the jeep was well outfitted with tubular bumpers all the way around so it didn’t do any damage to the jeep or to us, but the male buffalo let us know we were off limits.
Within minutes, the calf was up and walking around. Shortly after that we were turning to go back to the ranch house, when we startled the herd and damn if that new born calf wasn’t running with the herd. Wow—what a sight! I learned some interesting facts about buffalo, like the fact that a newborn calf must be able to run within only a few minutes of birth or else the wolves in the great plains of America would eat it.
Now, I don’t think you will get to experience something like that while you’re kayaking the Hanalei River, but you never know. Please stop by the HOKUKANO RANCH and buy some buffalo meat or jerky.
PS: Now that I’m figuring out more of this social media stuff, I’ve moved my Travel Tips to Tuesday. #traveltipstuesday