Part two of the Hawaii adventure, since Kaua`i is just a quick jaunt from Oahu and it would have been a shame not to pop in to see family there, too . . .
First shave ice of the trip! I’m not a huge fan — it’s too cloyingly sweet for me — but when in Hawaii, and especially with guests . . .
Ahh, now that’s more my style! Wild guava on the Kalalau Trail, along the beautiful Napali coast. SD and I developed a highly technical guava-gathering system that involved her vigorously shaking the guava tree and me poised below, darting this way and that in a reverse whack-a-mole attempt to catch the fruit as they fell. Totally successful.
My uncle and his family just call this rainforest “Jurassic Park” after the movie filmed there [rusty remnants of the entrance gate flank the road in], but it’s officially the base of Mt. Wai`ale`ale, which for a long time held the record for the wettest place on Earth. The hike is a staple of any Kaua`i trip. First a pleasant walk down a pothole-ridden dirt road to a drop-in spot into an irrigation channel. The water winds down through the mountains to the fields below — sugarcane, I believe, way back when — frigidly cold and fresh. Armed with all the flotation devices we could scrounge up — including some toddler-sized bodyboards and a floating “chair” minus the mesh part you’re supposed to sit in — we plunged in and entered a pitch-black concrete tunnel just tall enough not to whack your skull but not quite deep enough to avoid scraping your knees and feet on the rocky bottom. The current rushes you along as your eyes strain to catch a glimpse of . . . anything. Finally a teeny bright speck appears in the distance — you’re not sure if it’s the exit or just your light-deprived eyes playing tricks on you — and eventually you emerge into a pool of water below a small waterfall. The fall is a convergence of two streams — you can climb up the step-like rocks and find strawberry guava trees bearing along the branch to the left — and below the water again splits between its natural course and a continuation of the irrigation route. When it’s sunny out, it’s a perfect place for a picnic and an afternoon spent lazing on rocks and jumping into the pool from the rope swing on the slope above, but this day was pouring rain and we only stayed long enough to snack on guava and snap a couple photos before hiking back.
On our way out . . .
A wild pig hunt! The boy holding the innards had just butchered the pig with a small knife under the watchful eyes of a couple older men, careful not to puncture any organs and taint the meat. They then washed out the carcass in the stream and packed it into the truck, ready for a luau!
Wailua Falls — beautiful from above, even more awe-inspiring when you’re right underneath it. We tried to swim in between the streams, but the whipping water was so fierce that it was hard to breathe and impossible to see, and the unrelenting current was exhausting to fight against. Back at the top we got a fresh coconut from a vendor in the parking lot — the top hacked off and a red straw dropped into the water. Simple, delicious.