Kauai Not? Camping and Farming in Hawaii

Onto the next island! I did not want to volunteer on Kauai but still wasn’t sure what I was doing. I found an outdated travel book full of interesting sounding places, but it turns out every one of them was closed. Well, now I know why it wasn’t updated. I was looking for a sign and unclear of what to do. The next more mainstream book flipped open to “go camping on Kauai!” Well, I’ll take that as a sign.

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I fall asleep on most planes. This time I woke up to this fantastic mythical looking view. This does not look like it should actually exist.

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Beautiful Anini Beach where I spent most of my time camping. The local story is that the beach used to be called Wanini but the W fell off the sign.

After a stop at a Walmart with a strangely cheap rental car, I was full of camping gear and ready to go. Sort of. I’ve only been car camping in California before so this was interesting. Luckily Hawaii is not full of large, dangerous predators so camping is relatively easy and you don’t have to protect your food or anything. The county of Kauai lets you camp for sixty days on permit and I never made it past that or to the hippie enclaves at the end of the eleven mile hike. My days were spent pleasantly in the water, on the sand, and chatting in front of fires with tourists and more long term beach residents alike.

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Sunset off the side of a road. There were endless dramatic sunrises and sunsets.

I soon tired of moving campsites so often and sleeping inside a tent around lots of people was decidedly less charming than the screen meshed hut I was in before. This time around I checked out WWOOF-ing again as I was ready for a bit more work with the land. I ended up on Kauai Authentic Farms and got to enjoy an even closer knit family oriented community on a homestead farm. This means they grew things mostly for themselves and this meant a Noah’s Ark of a small number of each type of critter and lots of interesting exotic fruits and grasses. The latter is because cows like exotic bites too. Oh and I guess the farmer was testing out high protein grasses for the local college.

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The happy pigs that I had arrived to learn about the butchery of. The bottom one was thought to be pregnant for a few months, apparently it’s hard to tell with pigs. She was indeed, not pregnant but happy to get extra food and pets.

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The season of birthing as this calf was born when I was there. There was fresh, unpasteurized milk to be enjoyed and cheese to be made.

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I think I ate a papaya daily but then one month one of my favorite fruits ever, the wax apple, exploded everywhere.

I had never lived off the grid before and it really turned out to be less of an adjustment for me than I thought it would be to use an outdoor kitchen, solar fridge, and not have a running water toilet. The beautiful screen mesh tarp roofed hut overlooking the ocean and secluded on a hill certainly helped. Similar to the Big Island, I also got to enjoying showering outside amongst the plants in mostly hot water. The bevy of friendly folk and children running around was enjoyable as well.

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Camping the last week with farm landmates teaching me about hunting for sand crabs and how to cook them on what my camera made look like a magic fire.

I’m pretty sure I could starve out there and marveled as the others pointed out so many different edible foraged plants and fishes. Time not spent farming was spent snorkeling, picking fruits, preserving and processing veggies, fishing, scraping opihi clams off the rocks and playing with the kids. It was really great to see a bunch of children trying to get me to climb trees with them and getting just absolutely dirty. Things you see less of in cities. I switch quickly between cities and rural areas, but this experience definitely made me wonder if a homestead farm would not be a bad place to be for a while. Unfortunately this time an ankle sprain I got fjording a river multiple times to a waterfall before I even got to the farm got worse over the course of a few months and I could no longer do farm work.

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An end to this Hawaiian adventure.

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