I got in so late on Sunday that I drove to the North Shore in blackness. The irony is that the North Shore of Kauai is the wealthy side of the island, yet they have no street lamps. It was so dark that I barely found my turn off. So you can imagine my surprise when I woke up in the morning to find THIS out my front door:
Yeah. I felt like I had awakened in Jurassic Park.
Motivated to see more of what I'd missed in the blackness, I was out the door before seven a.m. and on my way to find Tunnels Beach, Bali H'ai, and the Kalalau Trail.
My guidebook had warned me that people post "No Trespassing. Private Property." signs to all the side roads leading to the beach, whether the road was private or not. I don't know whether I would have risked ignoring any of those signs since the roads where they were posted were already filled with law breakers by the time I'd stopped for breakfast. I found one road that was unmarked. It had one squeezy space left - filled by a cart full of scuba supplies. I waited patiently while the divers put suits on, figuring they'd wheel the cart down the path and finish at the shore. When they went for their BCDs, I knew it was time to back up down the long lane (the only way to get out), and try another tack.
It was a fairly long walk across a stream and down the beach in thick, sinking sand and areas of tiny, pedicure-callous-removal shell bits, but I parked my car down the road so I could realize my dream of seeing this:
It may just look like another tropical beach scene to you, but this was my childhood vision of Bali H'ai. Did I sing the theme song as I've always promised? By the time I had slogged across the sand in the steamy, mid-morning heat I didn't have enough breath left to belt it out.
OK. Let's be real. I chickened out because there were way too many people around. I sang it softly to myself. It made me just as happy, like my little, private song.
After this I was off to find the Kalalau Trail.
There is a "parking lot" at the head of the trail. Picture the parking lot for the Renaissance Faire on the only sunny day in a wet summer. Now add boulders. I kid you not. I was almost sorry I'd gotten a gas-saving, mid-sized rental instead of a Jeep. One shock-breaking go round and I was out of there.
All along the road, cars were parked on either side. I managed to get a spot some distance from the trail head and got out. As I walked, I
think I passed two couples who were older than their thirties. This did
not bode well.
I saw a young girl returning from the trail, carrying a pack and a look of exhaustion. Her gear looked like it weighed more than she did. When I said hello she breathed a reply that sounded more like an exhalation than a word. I felt sorry for her. If this was what the trail did to a vital young person...hmmm.
A few distracting photo ops later, I was heading back for my car, deciding to return very early another day for a cooler, more prepared, and possibly closer start.
On my way back, I saw the same girl hitch-hiking along the road.
I was once young and nuts. Well, more nuts. I hitch-hiked all over California in my hippy days. I hitch-hiked in Europe with my ex. But now the mother in me said: "What the %$&$% is she doing?" and picked her up.
When I told her that I was going to try the first two miles of the trail. Her reply was: "The first two miles of the trail SUCK. It's all uphill followed by all down hill. It's the worst part of the trail."
Thanks for the advice, Alicia from Seattle. It was fun talking with you! Here's to both of us having more safe adventures!