Yesterday, we took a kayaking+hiking trip out to the Secret Falls, which is a misnomer since everyone and his brother seems to know where the falls are. We had done a similar trip out to the falls many years ago and had fond memories of a canoe ride and hike. The kids were little and we had chosen a trip that would accommodate young ones. This time, we chose a tour that would be a little more challenging, kayaking about 2 miles in each direction with a mile and half hike to the falls.
In the intervening years since our last trip, the crowds have found this secret hide-away. Our little guided group was mostly made up of people who work with kids and was very nice. Our guide, Dontez, a native Hawaiian and an electrical engineering major, kept us laughing and informed — and he stayed close to those of us who were bringing up the rear in our trip up and down the river. (Ahem — that would be me, both directions.)
I’ve never kayaked before — so the two miles back and forth were a challenge. My shoulders, back, and arms might not recover. The trail, though, was fairly easy and dry.
With only two days left of our vacation, I’ll just end it here and share a few pictures. I’ll try to explain what you’re seeing. After a camera-less trip up the river where I was wishing I’d had a waterproof camera, we pulled into the trail head — and the parking lot of kayaks. A tree had fallen recently across the river, uprooted root base and all, and we had to cross under it to climb up on to the trail.
We basically fallowed the river all the way to the falls. As we hiked, Dontez would point out wildlife, plants, and trees of interest. The signs at the trail head were more intimidating than the trail itself. If the signs were meant to keep visitors away and the falls a secret, they are clearly not effective.
One of the more interesting set of trees were what Dontez called “walking trees.” They start in one place, but as they grow they meander until they find their perfect place to drop down their roots.
The forest floor was a mat of roots and rocks, so a walking stick helped me keep a sure footing on the uneven ground. After about a mile and a half, we could hear the falls. Finally, up and over some boulders . . . the Secret Falls!
Here are a few more shots from around the falls:
My husband and girls went swimming in the pond. I got close enough to sit on a rock and dangle my feet in the cold water — but it was a bit too cold for my bones. We had lunch and took in the amazing beauty, in spite of the crowds. As I mentioned, the last time we had made this trip, about 8 or 9 years ago, there were far fewer people — the falls were still illusive or maybe we had just hit them at a quiet moment. Both times, though, our time at the falls went far too quickly and all-too-soon, our guide signaled that we’d start heading back.
As we were heading out, I remembered a photography prof who said that you should always look behind you — away from where your vision is drawing your camera — because that might just be the shot you want. One quick glance back at the falls as we were heading out revealed the falls between the trees.
I’m now off to enjoy another day in Paradise. Every time we visit, I realize that Kauai is one of my favorite places in the world.