A travel moment in Kauai

Waking up on the North Shore of Kauai on the first full day of our honeymoon, my bride and I decided it was time for some adventure…the pool could wait. Our destination was the much talked about and highly regarded Kalalau Trail that runs along the Na Pali Coast.

We began our hike at Ke’e beach, up into the forested trail and along the cliffs facing out into the Pacific. When the first small cell of rain passed by, we commented on how good it felt. When the next rain burst came, “…at least it’s rocky and not muddy!” We continued to hike, stopping at the edge of the cliffs to take pictures of the magical scenery that surrounded us.

The rain came again, but this time, it didn’t stop. The rocky trail quickly turned to packed dirt, which even more quickly turned to mud. Our steps became ever-the-more ginger as we descended down the cliffs onto Hanakapi`ai beach, our turn around point. Not surprisingly, the steep and muddy trail is much harder to climb up than down. As to avoid puddles, I found myself working towards the higher side of the rain-depleted trail, which eventually led me to an untenable situation. I had risen above the lowest part of the trail by about 18 inches, and the higher ground I had taken ended.

“If you take this step, you’re going to fall,” I thought to myself. “Take a step,” I thought. “I’m going to fall,” I thought. I took a step and like a baby deer on bacon-greased ice, I went down.

To say I was covered in mud, is an understatement. It was much closer to being dyed in mud. My white shoes and socks were beige, my skin, normally very pale, looked like Snooki from MTV’s Jersey Shore, more Charlie and the Chocolate Factory “Oompah Loompah” then any close to natural. All I could do was laugh. I had seen it coming, and my prophecy was fulfilled.

Although my ego was wounded at first, I had plenty of time to recover on the remaining hour long hike back to the parking lot. In fact, as we walked I started to view my mud covered body as more of a badge of honor than a mark of shame. I was a walking, talking cautionary tale for all those who passed us on the trail, naively hiking in the serene, sun-shining, mud-free part of the trail. Flip-flops? No way. White shoes? Take a look at these, buddy. Baby on your back? Don’t even think about it.

We made it to the end, and headed straight back to our hotel to cleanup. We pulled up to the valet, and I squished a wet and muddy $5 bill into the attendant’s hand, with my apologies. Striding confidently into the luxury hotel, I arrived at the lobby entrance at the same time as none other than actor Pierce Brosnan. “James Bond,” I thought to myself, “...you don’t know what adventure is.”

J Girard

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