Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kaua'i: Part 4 - Kayaking, Mud, & Saying Goodbye

It's the last day of February and it's kind of hard to believe that we were in Kaua'i at the beginning of this month. So much has happened between now and then - the culture-shock of returning to work, Back Beat on Valentine's Day, and finding a new place. So, before March begins, I'm finishing up the Kaua'i series with a recap of Day 5: our kayaking and hiking adventure and some goodbye photos.

Originally, we wanted to join a kayak tour up the Wailua River, however, the tours booked up fast, so we opted to rent a kayak and do a self-guided tour to the Secret Falls. It was a sunny, windless day - perfect for outdoor activities, and the views from the river were gorgeous. Once we got going, we were happy that we went with the self-guided tour instead of a group. We got to paddle at our own pace, which turned out to be surprisingly fast considering one of us is pregnant, and the other one hasn't kayaked before. We didn't want to risk our phones, so the only camera we brought was a water camera. The quality was a little eh. Also, I suck at taking water camera pics:

Whoops, here's the only pic of Joe kayaking (now you see why he's our main photographer)
The View Paddling Up the Wailua River
The banks of the Wailua River are lined with trees, so every now and then we'd come across a giant leaf floating in the water. Then I would feel frenzied paddling on one side of the boat, the boat would nearly capsize, and suddenly Joe's paddle would be hovering near my head, with him shouting that he had a "present" for me. By the time we ended our kayaking journey, my feet were covered with a pile of giant, wet leaves that he had collected along the way. He's still sad that I left them in the kayak instead of bringing them home with us as souvenirs.

Every now and then, either in Joe's quest for leaves, or because we're just not excellent kayakers, we would veer toward the tree-lined river bank and have to overcompensate by frantically paddling toward the left. Whenever this happened, Joe would shout out in an Australian accent, "Aye, lads! Brace yourself for impact!"

After about two miles of paddling up stream, the river forked and we continued to the right, paddled a short distance through a narrow, tree-lined stream, to a little beach filled with kayaks. This is where the real fun began: hiking through mud. Joe asked the kayak rental employee if he could wear sandals on the hike and the employee laughed and said he would only come back with half a shoe because the trail is so muddy. So Joe wore his old sneakers, and I wore old hiking boots. In the beginning of the hike, it was mildly muddy/slippery, and as we were trying to step carefully through the mud several returning hikers, with mud-streaked faces, passed by laughing and said, "It only gets worse!" They weren't lying.

Before we even got to the real muddy part, we had to cross a stream, using a rope to steady ourselves:

The path continued upstream and this is where the terrain started getting very muddy. At first we tried to avoid the giant mud-puddles in the middle of the path, and stick to the sides, but eventually Joe realized that stepping directly in the sloppiest parts of the mud was actually less slippery, because your feet got suctioned to the ground. After nearly a mile of trekking through mud, and stopping to let children and old people pass us by, we came to a muddy hill that literally went straight up at a 90 degree angle and was about one or two stories high. So that was the end of the hike for me. Our end destination was supposed to be the Secret Falls, but I was not hauling my pregnant self up that hill, so we spent some time in the peaceful stream instead:

Despite not reaching the falls, I'd say our first joint kayaking adventure was a success, and I think I made it pretty far up that trail carrying Ezzy around in my uterus. We did come across one other brave lady on the muddy trail who put me to shame - she was carrying her baby in a strap-on carrier on her chest. Of course, it was at that moment that Joe slipped and nearly took down the pregnant lady and the new mother in one swoop. Luckily, we all came out unscathed. Then it was time to head back: exhausted, hungry, bug-bitten (Joe), and sunburned (me), but very happy overall.

The rest of our day was mellow, we ate, and then did one last photo shoot of "our beach."

It was such an amazing vacation. It's probably the only time we will visit Kauai, since there's still so much of the world to explore, but we could not have asked for more beautiful scenery or fun adventures. Other than the double rainbows (we saw surprising few rainbows for how often in rains in Kauai), we managed to cross everything off my Kauai wish list, and then some. To cap it all off, here are a few more collages of some of my favorite Kauai memories.
Ezzy in Kauai

Beautiful Kauai Scenery

Joemance, Kauai-style
Next time we go on vacation, Ezzy's going to be strapped to one of our chests, taking it all in - only nine weeks to go!

Kaua'i: Part 1 - Turbulence, Roosters, & a Luau
Kaua'i: Part 2 - Waterfalls, Whales, & Malasadas
Kaua'i: Part 3 - Snorkeling, Fern Grotto, & Robinson's Island

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