Another day, another rooster woke me up at six in the morning; Sarah was again successful in sleeping through it. An hour or so later we both got up ready to tackle what is the most active day of our trip: a four and a half mile kayak of the Waliau River on top of a three mile hike to the Secret Falls.
But first we decided to get a Bloody Mary and lounge on the beach for an hour and a half to gear up. Once the shutters came down on the poolside bar, the circling patrons pounced to get the attention of the bartender first. I wandered over after the initial wave and stood next to a man who ordered two pina coladas and talked briefly about the virtues of the drink on a humid morning. His voice was familiar, as was his shock of hair. It took me a minute after he left for me to place him: he was comedian Ron White.
Back on the road, heading south today, we had a forty-minute drive to get to the river tour. As we pulled into the river tour's parking lot we noticed that we were the only car. We walked into the hut and were greeted by a young man named Ty. He informed us it was just us and him today—a private tour!
We placed the kayaks in the river and went upstream as Ty—a native of Illinois living in Kaua'i for the last five years—told us all about the area we were in. There were too many things of note to mention here, but he knew his stuff and it made the fact the Sarah and I were amateurly zig-zagging across the river, essentially doubling our journey, bearable.
Two (most likely more) miles later we pulled our kayaks onto the shore and started our hike. We noticed that Ty was going barefoot along the trail. Sarah asked him if that hurt his feet, to which he replied that he has been going barefoot everywhere on the island. Sarah was wise and bought a pair of water shoes; I thought my boat shoes would work just fine, since they are meant for nautical excursions anyways. It turns out that they don't have the proper grip when scaling inclines covered in wet roots. Go figure.
A half hour into the hike we arrived at the Secret Falls. It is a "secret," much like the identity of Ronan Farrow's biological father. Ty provided lunch for us, which we ate on a rock overlooking the Falls. With a belly full of a turkey sandwich and Ty's expertly carved pineapple, Sarah and I descended the rocks to the water.
I took the first steps in and confirmed that the water was cold. One tepid step after another and I thought my manliness was secure until a young boy in an uncovered arm cast waded all the way in to the waterfall. He was then followed by his father. I felt I didn't have to prove myself and started to make my way back until I saw an older man bounding into the water yelling, "Here comes grandpa!!!" There was now no excuse. I was going under this waterfall.
On the hike back, Ty gave us the history of Kaua'i and the land we were currently traversing. He informed us of all the different fauna and flora that make up the area. To our right was a rock that the original settlers drew on to carve up the counties of the island, a map which is still in use today; to our left is a tree that literally uproots itself and walks over a period of years to a different spot to get better sunlight.
Back on the river we were faced with a headwind that made the trip feel twice as long, even without zigzagging. But, we made the trip back safe and relatively dry. We bid adeui to Ty, and hit the road back to the hotel.
For dinner we went to Bar Acuda, a tapas joint in Hanalei that has been highly recommended by many people we've come across while here. It didn't disappoint.
Tomorrow we have another fun day planned.
Until then, Aloha!