We did the same stretch of coastline today, except today we do it by land. Entertainingly, we get to see the kayaks that were us just a day earlier as we walk along the cliffs of the Napali Coast. More than yesterday, however, we appreciate that we are in a rainforest. The weather changes every 10 minutes alternating between hot humid sun, dark windy storm, and everything in between. The path also takes on a few different looks: thick and squishy clay-like mud, slippery mud between rocks and tree roots, slippery boulders mostly covered in the red clay mud, and deep stream crossings that require some boulder hopping (or crawling in my case). Needless to say, we realize we’re going to finish this day a bit muddy, a bit wet, and a bit tired, but all worth it because of the sights, sounds, and memories that we’ll get along the way.
Lindsey and I walk first the 2 miles to Hanakapi’ai beach, where we sit, enjoy, snack, and picture-take. Then we continue on for another 2 miles to the Hanakapi’ai waterfall. This is quintessential Hawaii: giant waterfall falling into a huge pond (maybe even a small lake), rainbows come and go, the sun comes and goes, people swimming, laughing, and enjoying nature. All straight out of a movie.
Through all the challenges of the trail, I believe that I would’ve had a much harder time had I not schlepped my hiking poles from the mainland. They prevented me from sliding, balanced me across some rather tricky stream crossings, and served as a monopod for my camera when needed.
On the way home we spot at Tahiti Nui, a great local dive in Hanalei for a pair of much needed Mai Tai’s. Legs still covered in mud, feet still soaking in wet shoes, but a solid sense of accomplishment and excitement for having conquered a small piece of the Hawaiian rainforest.