I have a dire urge to write about Kauai although I know the locals would condemn me for it. Kauai is still considered very rural, undeveloped, and thus un-bothered. The entire island of Kauai is also drenched in nature; I’ve heard many people call it the “Garden of Eden” of Hawaii.
Kauai: a safe haven within a cemented world
I’m the type who likes to be surrounded by wood and leaves, not bricks and cement. I find that the tree/structure ratio meets my standard in Kauai, just as it does in Costa Rica.To give this island justice, I’ll account for my most memorable experience there: an incredible hike I did, where I inched my way through mountainous rain forest canopy to views of Hanalei Bay, and much more of the surrounding beauty of Kauai.
Kauai hiking: the Okolehao Trail
I began down a dirt road near Princeville and took it for miles before reaching an almost empty parking lot (there was one vehicle). I left my rentle car to the sound of bugs heaving and a rustling that I, at first, thought was the wind in the trees. But no. It was beginning to rain.
I looked around for any signs of a trail head, and eventually spotted a bridge built over a small runoff canal. By this time, mud was beginning to accumulate. I tracked mud over the wooden bridge and approached a sign that read “trail.” An arrow pointed into an overgrown thicket. I remembered reading online that the trail could use some walking on.
My adventure was beginning.
The walk to the Hanalei lookout was extremely slippery. There were nets attached to the rain forest floor to help hikers avoid slipping. On a steep incline, a returning family passed me. They were all covered in mud from head to toe. They murmured something about “hello” and “be careful or you’ll end up like us” as I passed.
I luckily stayed upright and made it to the Hanalei lookout!
The view was incredible and worth the muddy trek. I had a panoramic view of the entire bay and could see spots I had visited earlier in the day. I stayed awhile to rest my legs and feet, which were highly subject to forming blisters from my soggy shoes.
After a rest, a snack, water, and the amazing view, I decided to keep ascending for supposed better views of the island.
Daring descents of Kauai
After about another mile in, the thicket was beginning to really cave in on me. I could tell I was on a part of the trail that doesn’t receive heavy foot traffic. This increased my spirit, as I felt luck I was really being hugged by the forage.
I soon knew I was in for a real adventure. I walked up to a ledge and a rope. My mouth fell open. Now I knew why this section of the trail wasn’t very heavily trafficked. I considered my safety, considered returning, but then considered using the rope.
I thought to myself: “I might get muddy, but as long as I make good use of the rope and hold on tight, there’s no reason why I should fall.”
I was right. I used the rope and descended without even slipping.
Following this rope section was about 5 more sections with ropes. I was able to descend each one smoothly, and ascend them fine on the way back up.
I turned back because dusk was eminent, and the rain was suppose to start again soon.
When I made it back to the car, I sat behind the wheel laughing. I just couldn’t believe how incredible of an experience I just had, and how close to nature’s heart I been throughout the entire day! I couldn’t wait to arrive home to tell my Airbnb host all about it!
And to wash my feet!