We had stayed the night at Kevin’s house so that we could wake early and go for a hike. While the road ends at Ke’e beach, there is a hiking trail that continues on. We planned to hike roughly two mile segment that would take us to Hanakapi’ai Beach. Kevin and Hyun Joo had hiked it before, with the kids, so we knew it wouldn’t be TOO grueling. Still, I was annoyed to find I’d forgotten my hiking sandals. Kevin loaned me his reef shoes, which were a bit big, so I tucked them into my pack in case I needed them.
Our early start got us a good parking place and we headed up the mountain. I was wearing my Birkenstocks and feeling pretty smug about my ability to climb rocks with them on. Must be that I’m such an old hand, wearing the ‘Stocks since the 80s, hiking all the time…
Footwear and smugness was soon forgotten, however, as nature just hurled one gorgeous thing after another at us. We kept saying “This is actually REAL.” It looked like what other places try to be and each time we rounded a bend, something more lovely than the thing we’d seen before would come into view.
A light misty rain started to fall, making the path kind of slimy and slick. But then we rounded a corner
The rain stopped and we continued climbing, constantly exclaiming over the beauty.
At the coconut festival and in shops, we kept seeing photos retouched with lurid paints. We wondered who on earth would want such a tacky thing. But when I uploaded all these photos, I felt like no amount of saturation would get the blues blue enough, the greens green enough. I can see how you’d reach for your black light paints in desperation.
As we neared the summit, the rain started again. Would we get another rainbow?
I mean really, it’s almost showing off at this point. The rain made the descent rather treacherous, even for an old Birkenstocky like me, so I took off my shoes and went barefoot the rest of the way down. I don’t think it hurt, but I was pretty distracted.
There were ripe guavas overhanging the trail and sometimes I’d find one that had fallen yet wasn’t rotten. We came to a stream and found a whole bunch floating in it, cool and preserved and waiting for us. It pays to get up early.
Finally we turned a corner and saw our goal, Hanakapai’ai Beach:
As we climbed down, Hana started complaining about the ants. That’s when we noticed that the ground was aswarm. Ants EVERYwhere and if you stopped walking, they’d go right up your legs. I was barefoot (unless mud counts as shoes), so I was very motivated to keep on truckin’. They didn’t bite, but it was still icky. Steve noted that there appeared to be two different sorts of ants, so maybe it was a turf war. Move along, monkeys, this is not about you.
Continuing the “the water is trying to kill you theme” of the trip, we passed this sign:
Kevin says the tally has never changed that he’s seen. But what I want to know is: Where did the sign come from? I’m assuming the Park Service didn’t put it up. Did some one walk two miles and decide to stop for a carving break? Make it at home and pack it in?
Cross a stream and down to the beach.
Kevin and Hyun Joo said that they’ve come in the spring in the past and those stream rocks are underwater. There is a rope strung across them and you hold on while feeling for the rocks. i like this way better.
There were lots of caves in the cliff walls. Apparently, these are often underwater as well, so we picked a good time to go.
The hike back out was more treacherous and I stayed barefooted for much of it. Passing hikers admired my badassery, but I assured them it was just a lack of proper footwear. At one point, I switched to the reef shoes because even my own grippy toes weren’t cutting it.
We’d worked up a powerful hunger, so we drove to a taco truck in Hanalei Bay.
We ambled up to the truck to order. The woman taking the orders is English and has an East End accent. Kevin asked if the tortillas were corn or flour.
“Ermmmm..” she looks off into the truck. “They’re all, er, flour.”
“Okay, could I just have the insides of a taco on a plate or some foil?”
She smiles at me, “Could you just not eat the taco?”
Yeah, sure, okay. Kevin orders. His kids are 5 and 7, so that means food issues. he asks for the fajita burrito without beans.
She smiles. ‘Yeah, we’re not good with special orders. We usually just forget. I’ll write it, but it probably won’t happen.”
For the record, it didn’t. Also, he ordered four steak tacos, asking her several times “did you get that I want four of those?” when he saw that she didn’t write down a four. She only gave him one. The “kids” quesadilla that was to be jalepeno-less had jalepenos on it. Daniel took one bite and burst into tears. It was wicked spicy. She was never snarky or anything, just utterly unconcerned.
I heard another customer ask “When are you open?” And she replied “12-3, most days.”
This, my friends, is a Good Gig. Three hours a day, if you feel like it, and you don’t actually have to give people what they ask for. Really, she should just move to a “You sit down and I’ll bring you what I think you should eat” model. it would work. I tell you, I’m moving to Kauai.
After trying to convince these big snails to come out on our hands, no dice, we headed back to Princeville.
We spent the rest of the evening at Kevin and Hyun Joo’s , swimming in the pool and relaxing. We got some takeout and then headed back to Lihue.