June 3, 2016.
For our grand finale in Hawaii, we went the tourist route and signed up for a kayak/hike trip to (not-a-secret) Secret Falls. The tour included a casual kayak up the Wailua river to a take-out point, which served as the trailhead for the hike. Hike to the waterfall, hang out and swim, then hike back and kayak out. Seemed like a lovely way to end our trip.
We signed up for the earliest departure we could and met our guides at the shop. Aaron and I were outfitted for a double kayak. We put our stuff in the dry bags, got on the sit-atop boat and prepared to paddle off. There were a few other boats in our group, as well.
Kayaking on the calm river was fun and relaxing. I don’t get on the water nearly as much as I’d like to and since I own no watercraft, it’s not convenient. I appreciated the chance to have someone else deal with the gear and the logistics so I could just enjoy the ride. Aaron and I got into a routine, paddling together, taking plenty of rest breaks to soak up the scenery. It was gorgeous. Tropical plants lined the river bank. Although the sky was gray and the air cool, it still felt like floating through paradise.
As we got closer to our take-out, the river narrowed. Trees and shrubs draped over the edge of the water, crowding us into a thin stream of water. We ducked and weaved as we made our way to the shoreline. It almost felt like we were having a real adventure!
Then we saw all the other boats pull up next to ours. Oh yeah, guided tour. Super popular place. Check.
On shore we prepared for the walk to the falls. The trail was atrociously muddy, as expected. I was prepared with my Tevas today. I figured the guides would give me a hard time about being barefoot.
We hiked in through a tropical jungle to a tall cascade of water falling into a perfect swimming hole. And we were the first ones there!
I knew the solitude wouldn’t last, so we quickly got into our swimsuits and hopped in the water. We swam, we frolicked, we went behind the splashing waterfall, we took it all in. Yes, this is what people dream of doing in Hawaii.
Back on shore we toweled off and partook in the snacks that were brought for us. I got distracted by watching several roosters hopping around on the rocks downstream. It was still funny to see roosters in the jungle.
When our time was up, we packed up to return to the kayaks. Several other groups had hiked out by now and we passed even more people on the way in. At the river, there were a ton of boats parked on the shore. What a mad house! We loaded up and headed back to the dock.
The paddle back was easy and mellow. We had almost returned without incident…
Merely feet away from the dock, a family with two little kids on our tour flipped their boat and all of them went crashing into the water. The kids were crying, the dad dropped his phone to the bottom of the river and the peace was broken. I don’t know how exactly one flips a sit-atop kayak but I suppose having two little ones on board could be challenging.
After all the drama died down we got in the van to head back to the shop and to be on our merry way. I’m glad we went the tourist route at least once to be able to experience the island in a different way. It’s been an incredible trip for a number of reasons and I’m glad we went. I’m also glad to be headed back to Oregon to move into our new home and experience life on the dry side of the mountains!