“They said within minutes, the river was swollen,” said Kauai Fire Dept. Deputy Chief John Blalock.
The hikers were tired, shaken-up, wet and muddy.
The last of 55 stranded hikers made their way home on Thursday, knowing one of them did not make it out alive.
“I know better than to go there on the rainy days, but had a couple of friends that were visiting,” said Daniel Wright.
He said he was with a group of friends, who like dozens of others Wednesday morning, ignored the rain, wind and mud and entered Kalalau Trail head, aiming for world-famous Hanakapi’ai Beach two miles away.
“By the time we started to leave the river crossings were already too high,” said Wright.
“The conditions were not the best, there was a lot of wind,” said Blalock.
He said by 4 p.m. they were getting calls of dozens of hikers trapped up-stream, in inlets and out croppings, by a now gushing Hanakapiai Stream.
“It came to a point where we left three people there because of the dangerous conditions,” said Blalock.
Some watched as one woman, visiting the islands, tried to cross, but was swept downstream.