When you visit the Garden Isle you can’t not go hiking or enjoy something outdoorsy. However I am not shy about sharing how not outdoorsy I am – I do like a good patio and a cold drink, though. So when the hubs mentioned how much he would like to do this popular hike of Waimea Canyon while on our anniversary trip, I did have a sincere moment of pause. Who works out on vacation?
But every now and then a wife must take part in something their husband enjoys or wants to do. He’s so great about being a good sport about the things I want or activities I enjoy, so it was easy to give that same courtesy in return.
Nonetheless, on our second day we were off to Waimea Canyon State Park to begin this excursion. Waimea actually means “reddish water” and reflects the erosion and reddish-tint of the canyon’s soil. This canyon, and pretty much the entire island of Kaua’i, is an enormous volcano that arose from the ocean floor. So the canyon valleys we saw while on our hike were created by the collapse of this volcano ages ago. Pretty neat, huh?
We set out pretty early in the morning after a quick breakfast at a fun spot near our hotel. We knew this hike was going to be an upwards of 2-3 hours so we were sure to eat well beforehand – yay carbs! The only issue we ran into, and lesson learned, was to bring a hell of a lot more water than just a 12 oz bottle between the both of us.
Yeah, another duh moment.
The drive up the hillside and towards the canyon was absolutely beautiful. It was neat driving up the windy roads and having an excuse to take the top of our Jeep off (we eventually had to put it back on because of the sun and eventually a little bit of rain). The views as we made our ascent were picturesque as well as the ocean – it seemed as if blue just went on forever.
Once we trailed further and further from town our scene just turned green. Green grass, green hills, green trees…It was no wonder why Kaua’i was given the name the Garden Isle.
We finally made it to the state park and got situated with our things. I had bought a Longchamp backpack just for this trip since I didn’t want the hassle of carrying a purse and this little guy came in handy more than once. A great little buy for a vacation or traveling!
Anyways, back to our hike.
We set off mid-morning and began making our way along the trail. Now mind you, this trail is simply a one way dirt path that seemingly never ends. After about 10 minutes or so we came across a little fork in our path, not really knowing which way to go. There were no indications of what was at either end so we chose left. Unfortunately this decision lead us to nowhere and we had to turn around. Already a bit tired (we only had just begun!) I couldn’t believe we made a wrong turn.
Eventually we made it back to the fork once more and chose right. Although there were no official signs, people wrote the word ‘waterfall’ and an arrow pointing in the direction we were walking. Of course we were excited at the thought of finding a waterfall, so we continued on.
I can see why people find an interest in hiking, especially long distance hikes. It definitely challenges you physically as well as mentally. I’m glad we decided to do this because it allowed us to be unplugged and talk amongst ourselves as we journeyed further.
I was also able to be within my own thoughts and almost kind of let go of anything running through my mind. Doing this hike I found to be quite freeing – all you can do is just be one with nature, as corny as that sounds.
About 45 minutes to an hour later we came to an opening on our path. For the first time we were semi out of the woods and had a clear view of the canyon below and beyond us.
Just, wow. Standing there and looking out ahead makes one feel so small.
Yay! We finally made it to the top!
But this, believe it or not, was only the half way mark. Half way!
Philip wanted to continue on to the waterfall, which was another 30 minutes or so along the trail. As tired, hot, and sweaty that we both were we couldn’t pass up seeing it. So, we hung out here for a moment – caught our breath, then made our way…
While on our hike down to the waterfall we came across this giant boulder that had the letters ‘K’ & ‘P’ carved into them.
Finally a waterfall!
We made it to our destination and found it to be the perfect place to take a rest. We’d been on this hike for a couple of hours at that point and all we wanted to do was take in our surroundings and cool off. But of course this would also mark a time where Philip chose to cool off by actually going for a swim!
Leave it to me to decline a dip only because of my fear of bacteria or fish in the water. It did look refreshing, though.
(I should note there were no fish or deadly bacteria in the water. Philip survived his swim.)
After enjoying our rest, and Philip’s swim in the water, it dawned on us that we eventually needed to begin our trek back up the canyon.
Our journey back up was difficult for me only considering how much work it took to get to where we were at the waterfall..at the bottom of this canyon. This time instead of hiking down, we were hiking up so imagine a Stair Master from hell lasting another hour and a half. Kill me. This is also when running out of the water we packed became another issue. I was tired, thirsty, and at various moments wanted to give up. Once we were making it closer to the top, and where our car was parked, it began to pour down rain. It only lasted for a moment before passing, but finally we made it back to the comfort of our Jeep.
We stopped into town and grabbed a bite to eat to refuel after our little hiking adventure then made our way back to our hotel for much needed drinks and a splash in the hot tub.
Although my mind hasn’t changed on the whole outdoorsy-ness thing (if you haven’t sensed that already), I can say that I appreciate even more God’s creation and how vast it is. You truly seem so small compared to nature and I loved that the hubs pulled me outside of my comfort zone so we could experience this together.
Next time though, I’m opting for the helicopter tour.