Taylor Camp, a lifetime ago, a great Kauai story…Photos…

Today’s black and white photos are all from the book, Taylors Camp by John Wehrheim published in 2009.

Taylor Camp was located on the Napali Coast on the North Shore of Kauai which still has numerous remote beaches.

Recently, when asking locals about interesting facts about Kauai, a few had mentioned Taylor Camp, a property owned by Howard Taylor, the brother of famed actress Elizabeth Taylor. 

In 1969, when Howard became frustrated over his ability to obtain zoning to build a house on his gorgeous strip of oceanfront property at the end of the North Shore, which the county wanted as parkland, he gave up the battle and offered residency on the land to a group of jailed-for-vagrancy-hippies as a camp.

The Napali Coast, the location of Taylor Camp.

Over the next several years the group of hippies that camped on the land grew not only as babies were born but from the addition of other refugees finding their way to what they perceived was an idyllic environment for their simple lifestyle of farming for their own use, smoking marijuana, nudity with a goal for a lack of strife.

Eventually, the county won and in 1977 the land was condemned and the huts, tree houses and tents were burned to the ground while the hippies were driven away, many of whom still live on the island today.

With limited funds, the hippies managed to create a livable environment.

The following quote is from the acclaimed hardcover book by John Wehrheim published in 2009 available at Amazon at this link:                       

Some of the structures built by the hippies living in Taylor Camp were on stilts to protect against high tide and storms.

“In 1969 Howard Taylor, brother of Elizabeth, bailed out a rag-tag band of thirteen young Mainlanders jailed on Kauai for vagrancy and invited them to camp on his oceanfront land. Soon waves of hippies, surfers, and troubled Vietnam vets found their way to Taylor Camp and built a clothing-optional, pot-friendly tree house village at the end of the road on the island’s North Shore.

In 1977, after condemning the village to make way for a ‘State Park’, government officials torched the camp – leaving little but ashes and memories of the ‘best days of our lives’.

Powerfully evocative photographs from the Seventies reveal a community that rejected consumerism for the healing power of Nature, while the story of Taylor Camp’s seven-year existence is documented through interviews made thirty years later with the campers, their neighbors, and the Kauai officials who finally evicted them.”

In 2012, author John Wehrheim also released a stunning movie, available here, a documentary of the complete story of Taylor Camp with testimonies from its former occupants with breathtaking photos and stories.

Many were simple structures such as this.

Here’s a link to an article by the Kauai newspaper, the Garden Island, extolling the virtues of the documentary.

Over a week ago, while out to dinner with new friends Alice and Travis, they loaned us their copy of the above-acclaimed video about the story of Taylor Camp. A few nights ago we watched the interesting documentary in awe of the well-done video and unique story which won multiple awards in the industry.

Clothing was optional in the camp.

Yesterday afternoon, we decided to venture out to the end of the North Shore to see if we could find the remnants of the camp, which apparently has no remaining buildings or distinct evidence of its former existence. 

Having a good idea as to the general idea as to where the camp had been located, upon arrival we realized there was no way to get to it unless we trekked through a dense jungle. Unequipped with proper clothing, insect repellent, or a machete, we took a photo of the general area to share here today. 

Unsanitary conditions were instrumental in the camp’s eventual demise when local residents complained to the county.

A quote from Smithsonian.com describes the location as follows:

“You have to drive the north coast of Kauai—Hawaii’s Garden Island—past Kilauea Falls, the condominium metropolis of Princeville, and funky old Hanalei to find Taylor Camp. Once you get to Ha’ena State Park, where the Na Pali Cliffs guard the island’s impregnable west coast, park the car and thrash through the jungle to Limahuli Stream, which debouches from the mountains on a gorgeous beach.”The drive to Ha’ena State Park is familiar to us. We’ve made that winding, slow driving trek several times since we arrived in Kauai. It’s at the end of this very road, at Ke’e Beach that Julie and I spotted the Hawaiian Monk Seal lounging in the sand about a month ago.
For those of us of a certain age, we can easily recall this “look” one that even the more traditional types adopted into their lifestyles.
Once again, with no available parking spots, Tom dropped me off at the beach to see if “safari luck” would again prevail and another seal would be basking in the sand. No such luck. However, our thoughts and discussions about Taylor Camp created an entirely new perspective of the popular area, always jammed with tourists.
Saturday was most likely a poor choice for driving to Ha’ena State Park. It appears that the tourist traffic is greater in the Hanalei area and other beach towns on the weekends when more tourists fly to Kauai from the mainland for long weekends. Overall, Kauai has become very busy with tourist traffic compared to my prior visits in the 1980s (before Tom).
With poor sanitation and vast numbers of mosquitoes, living in Taylors Camp wasn’t always carefree and easy.
Luckily, the quiet area of Princeville is less populated, or seemingly so, with less traffic and commotion.  If tourists aren’t actually staying in Princeville, they may only breeze through for a few attractions and hiking trails. 
Tom and I both bypassed participating in “hippie life” to any extent. Tom, five years younger than me was a parent by 1970 and I had my first son in 1967. Instead, the responsibilities of family, work, and home superseded any possible interest we may have acquired had life been different for us. At the time, it was an oddity, a lifestyle we could hardly grasp with our traditional values.
We can only imagine what life was like living in Taylor Camp
Now, as we look back at Taylor Camp, we’re in awe over the passion those groups had over “dropping out” of conventional life and morays to pursue that which appealed to their innate desires and needs. 
Many hippies were nomads and wanderers seeking the next exciting adventure, the next source of healthy food and sustenance, and the next comfortable place to rest.
Beyond  the second row of trees is a. dense forest and steep cliffs we weren’t about to tackle
Hmmm…maybe that sounds like us. Perhaps, now, in our old age, we’re a little like hippies, minus a few pertinent aspects, such as the nudity and the pot.
Today, we’re off to a beach party. More on that with photos tomorrow.
Have a blissful Sunday!
                                              Photo from one year ago today, April 19, 2014:
It was one year ago today that we took this photo of the view from the salon, a narrow living room area, where there was a very uncomfortable sofa where we sat when we weren’t out and about. When it was cold or rainy, we would close these drapes to protect us to some degree from the elements. This center courtyard in the “riad” was open to the sky. For details of that day’s post, please click here.