Lets just say… I am not much of a hiker come to find out. Sounds strange considering I moved to one of the most popular hiking destinations in the world! I actually am not sure if that is even true, but based on the amount of people I met who came to Kauai to ONLY hike, I’m going to assume that it is at least half true.
At my restaurant job, I met a few gals. They knew I was relatively new to Kauai and haven’t gotten out much. They invited me to go hiking with them to Wailua Falls. I asked how hard the hike is because I don’t want to slow them down, and they said to not worry. Kids can do this hike barefoot!
Easy peasy right?
I may or may not have been practically in tears with a seven year old who was doing the same hike.
Let me back up. We arrive at the falls and its packed full of cars and people swarming everywhere. We find parking and meet up. I came with a full backpack (after my last hike, I was prepared. You can read about it here ). They were both barefoot and had a flimsy bag casually draped over their shoulders. Based on their appearance, I figured we were in for an easy hike.
The beginning of the hike consisted of climbing over a low concrete retaining wall and shimmying behind a chain link fence with a sign that said to not enter (which we ignored). The next part of the hike is looking straight down a mountain while people magically slithered and used the ropes tied to tree trunks and branches to work their way down the hill. My adventerous friends were already half way down the hill, sliding and laughing. I was still standing at the top, absolutely terrified. I took off my shoes, put them in my bag, and used my toes to grip the earth and began sliding down the mountain. It was quite the experience and surprisingly the shortest hike I have ever done.
Once we were on flat land, we walked through some soft mud and then came to a pond. Can we say beautiful?! Massive, gorgeous, double waterfalls were cascading into the pond of water. The sun was beating down, giving us all a healthy dose of vitamin D. People were swimming, sunbathing, and just truly enjoying the view around us.
Since Kauai is famous for raining every day, our trip was cut short by thick clouds that covered the sun. I am pretty sure that they would have continued to taunt Mother Nature, but I think they took pity on me and we began to go back. Climbing up the mountain was easier, in theory. This time I wasn’t able to see where I was going and didn’t have that fear of sliding to my death and splattering on a rock. I used muscles that i didn’t even know existed. Half way up the mountain, using ropes and tree trunks, I got stuck. By this time, I want off the mountain and will do anything to get there. I dug my feet into the earth and tried to pull myself up. I couldn’t go any further because the girl in front of me also became stuck. I felt that it was my duty to encourage her that she can do it. She was seven. If I couldn’t convince a child she was doing great, then my fear was out of control. She managed to get up the hill with her mom helping her. When it came to be my turn to hurl myself over the edge of the cliff, I came face to feet with some dude who was standing on the edge. I asked him nicely to move so I could stop dangling off the edge and he just ignored me and continued talking to his friends. I did what any rational person would do, and heaved myself over the edge and collided with his legs, knocking him off balance. I was on my hands and knees, trying to reach the top and frankly didn’t have any patience left. His friends all watched as I struggled to my feet and still did not move out of my way or at least help me up.
Note: If you see someone struggling, please help them.
After the hike, we went out to lunch. I never thought to check out what I look like and come to find out, I had red dirt smeared across my face, down my chest and arms and caked into my feet. Luckily its perfectly acceptable to show up to a restaurant looking like a mud monster.
The next day, I went to work and guess who could barely walk? For the next week and a half I hobbled around. It was hands down totally worth it and I might do it again.
Lesson of the Day: Don’t believe the locals when they say something is easy. It is most likely NOT. Also, do it anyway because its a good experience. And finally: Don’t be a dick and help or move out of the way if someone is trying to climb their way to safety.