Friday, May 14, 2010

Top of the World

I woke this morning and I was so sore from kayaking and so tired from lack of sleep that I almost didn’t go on our planned hike. The call of the pool and the sunshine was great and with Kristin opting out I almost gave in, but I decided I wanted to go on this hike and I knew that I had tomorrow to be out at the pool. Krista, Lizzy and I headed north to meet Brandon and stopped to get some drinks and food for the cooler for lunch. We all drove to the Kalalau Lookout and as we did I slipped in and out of consciousness along the way… I was really exhausted, but as we came to the top of the mountain to start the hike I took a deep breath and we walked out to the lookout. We got to the railings and instead of a stunning view of a canyon, we saw…. white, lots and lots of white. There was a thick fog over the whole valley :-(. Trying not to let the lack of enticing views thwart us, we followed Brandon over the railing and down the beginning of the narrow trail. As we hiked down the path the clouds would move and sway like swirls of cotton candy, but it took about 20 minutes before we had any measurable clearing of the clouds. Finally it happened, slowly the clouds danced away and we could see the huge green hills on the other side of the lush valley below. We could see waterfalls and sharp peaks below us and we knew…. we were on top of the world, and it was captivating!

As we walked all we could say was “WOW”, with every step. Literally I think Krista, Lizzy and I said wow somewhere near eleventy billion times in the 2.5 hours we were on that ridge. After about an hour we hit the peak and had some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen. The huge green mountains were below us and then even lower was the beautiful vibrant blue ocean. It was stunning! The things we saw on that lookout very few are ever fortunate enough to see – even the locals. It was spectacular. We sat quietly and enjoyed the view for a few minutes before we headed back up the mountain.

As we sat there looking down on the Napali Coastline, from the mountains we had watched above us from the sea at the beginning of the week, we took in the beauty. I remembered that on the catamaran as I looked up at some of those extreme peaks I thought how smooth they looked and how fun it would be to slide down them. I know that sounds very strange, but from so far away they looked like they were these inviting rolls of dirt covered in a lush green carpet. I imagined sliding down them like we had done on our stairs as a kid on a piece of cardboard or some manner of sled. It’s the same sort of thought I used to have as a kid whenever we passed the old Reams building in Provo. For those of you that grew up here you know the one I’m talking about… it was large and green with rolling curves – it looked like a huge turtle shell and I used to imagine skating up and down the large swerves of the roofline like a mini rollercoaster. Maybe I was just a weird kid and now I’m a strange adult. I realize the impossibility of these things and the danger each would pose but something in my imagination sees such a thrill in either and at that moment the idea of hoping on something smoothing and flying down the some 3000+ feet of green mountain sounded fun. Ok – enough crazy talk…

We headed back up the ridge and did to our legs what we had done to our arms yesterday. This wasn’t as severe as the kayaking was to my arms. Likely because my legs aren’t as weak as my arms, but it was a good work out. As we hiked back up, the clouds came back in over the valley and hid the amazing views from us again. We had hit the summit at exactly the perfect time to see the whole vista before us. As we hiked it got pretty hot and loved standing at the edge of the white abyss and feeling the breeze as the clouds blew by. It’s pretty amazing to be above the cloud line on an extreme cliff like that. A little scary to think one faulty step and you’d fall thousands of feet with nothing to stop you (especially with my record over the last couple days), but exhilarating too. I would stand on the edge and let the breeze blow up from the ocean and up my body and out through my hair. There was a slight mistiness to the breeze that would cool my skin and instantly take the heat off my body in tiny kisses of moisture. It was an amazing sensation.

We finished the hike and headed down the valley again. We stopped to look out over the Waimea Canyon – the Grand Canyon of the Pacific – and its vast valleys of trees and waterfalls. Another stunning view. We even treated ourselves to some fresh pineapple and mango from a local vendor. One the way back to Poipu we stopped to get some shave ice at Jo Jo’s shave ice. Now, I don’t usually think shave ice is all that impressive… usually; I just get it with no flavor because I love ice and the flavoring is too sweet for me, but this time was different. Brandon took us to the “real” Jo Jo’s. This place was incredible. All the flavors are homemade and the ice is as fine as power and packed tight to hold in all the flavors. The best one was called the Double Haupia special – YUM!!! It has the most incredible macadamia nut ice-cream at the bottom of the cup then all the shaved ice is first covered in a clear coconut flavored syrup and then topped off with what I can only call liquid heaven, haupia. It’s a coconut cream syrup that is the perfect amount of sweetness mixed with the perfect amount of creaminess. I could drink that stuff straight from the bottle (and would have if they offered it that way). Unfortunately I asked them not to put too much sauce on mine thinking it would be the sickeningly sweet stuff they usually have at a shave ice place. After tasting mine and realizing I was wrong and should have let them just go for it I was really grateful that Krista would share hers, since hers had the proper dosage of this magical substance. Lizzy even stumbled a little on her diet and had bit of this heavenly mix – well worth it :).

After all this excitement it was back to the hotel and a relaxing evening for me. Lizzy and Kristin headed to the airport and I sat and listened to the birds coo as the sunset on the pacific. AHHHH – another perfect day in paradise.
I have loved being so active and I’m so glad that Brandon was kind enough to take us on all these fabulous adventures, but I’m pretty excited to do nothing tomorrow. I need a vacation day before I head home.

These pictures dont do it justice, but enjoy:

Waimea Canyon

More memories tomorrow…