On Sunday, the 10th, her ninth birthday, we twisted the crepe paper we’d crammed into our carry-ons to help celebrate and stuck it to the ceiling. While she brushed her teeth, we snickered in the dark at how surprised she might be when she walked back in on a bunch of streamers.
Only streamers turned into stream-er when we realized we’d brought the tape dispenser that held two pieces of tape and both of them reluctant to leave the roll.
So we sang. A little louder than we might have. And we watched the single streamer buck up and do the job for ten.
Her birthday was also the day we’d chosen to visit the Waimea Canyon and hike one of its trails. Which–if you’re nine–might not rank as high as bruising up your knees wobbling on rollerskates for two hours with your friends.
But then it might.
And so for 1 1/2 hours we snaked and wound up the road that led to the canyon, slowing to the speed of a slug when we thought we had a barfer. And speeding up to as much as 25 mph when we got the ‘thumbs up’ from the back seat.
A teensy bit past the 10 mile marker we staggered out to the first major lookout and beheld this.
The Waimea Canyon.
More than ten miles long. A mile wide. And 3600′ deep.
At 10 a.m., the clouds were just beginning to burn off and the peaks beginning to come into focus.
And at 59 degrees, most of the crowd is wondering why they’ve left the house in shorts.
But no one’s complaining about the view.
We’re just marveling that the goats are still upright.
Because this lookout wasn’t our destination, we piled back in and coaxed the car along another 3 1/2 more miles until we were half way between the 13 and 14 mile marker and could pull over at the Puu Hina Hina Lookout.
At the end of the parking lot was where the Canyon Trails hike began. The one that–taking the guide book on faith– would lead us to a waterfall, if we made it that far.
And so we headed down.
A lot down.
And then down some more. Until in the middle of wondering how painful it would be to hike back, the trail turned and began to climb.
I don’t know what these pink things are, but they stood out amongst the green.
About 2 miles in, the canyon emerged.
The canyon with a sheer cliff ten feet behind us and zero guard rail.
The canyon that makes me want to velcro a kid to each leg and ooch down the trail one inch at a time.
Because when they flick a rock with their tennis shoes…
And cling close to the edge with their daddy, my heart can’t take much more.
We had only to look up in another direction to see these rock formations. Like an abandoned castle. Carved by wind and storm.
And the hand of God.
From the ledge, the trail wound down. Those coming up from that direction said the waterfall was merely a trickle.
And they were right.
Except it was beautiful.
When gushing, the falls drops over several embankments. And when trickling, pools like these are left behind.
Pools with crawdads.
Also growing on the edges of the waterfall and between the rocks is wild ginger.
Not as tidy looking as the stuff in the bin at Fred Meyer. But the real deal.
With sunburns to put all previous sunburns to shame, we headed back up the trail…
For a final glimpse of Kauai’s Waimea Canyon…