City Girl Gone Wandering
Written on 2/10/14 on the shores of Kealakekua Bay.
Two weeks ago I woke up in New York City, contemplated the going away party I had enjoyed the night before, shared some coffee with a close friend, and took the train from Sunset Park, Brooklyn to Astoria, Queens to pack the remainder of my life into boxes. Now, I sit on the rocky shores of Kealakekua Bay, staring out at the view that has been the wallpaper on my computer for months. What a difference a few weeks can make…
I have been in Hawaii for six days now, and had yet to see the bay that symbolized my exodus for so many months. So, on my first day off, I have journeyed down here. The view before me is more spectacularly beautiful than anything that I could have imagined.
In order to get to the hiking trail that arrives here, you must climb the hilly driveway that leads away from the Rainbow Plantation property, walk alongside Mamalahoa Highway, and then hang a right onto Napoopoo Road. You walk down that street until you find a collection of parked cars littering the side of the road. Then you search for a small unmarked clearing (locals will say that it is marked in green spray paint, but the writing really blends in with the cement). Once you have found the trail, you hike down a rocky path for about forty-five minutes.
Parts of the route are entirely shaded by trees. Others are open and sun-soaked. The lower you climb the more you can feel the ocean breeze sweep across your cheek and smell the salty freshness of the air. About halfway down the world opens up and you find yourself standing on the edge of a cliff above the ocean. It is a stunning view, colored in shades of blue, gray, green, and earthy red.
You continue your trek until, out of nowhere, the bay appears.
The best part of the hike is that you can feel yourself descending, narrowing in on your ultimate destination. By the time you get there you are hot, excited, and ready to replenish yourself amidst the sparkling blueish-gray water. The Bay has some of the best snorkeling on the island, so you swim in the clear blue water with yellow and orange fish swarming around you. It is unreal.
The water in Hawaii is not as warm as I expected it to be. In fact, I would actually say that it’s a wee bit on the chilly side. In the past, I have been a bit of a weakling when it came to cold water, but not here. Here, it is delightful and refreshing. It beckons me like the song of the siren.
Update: this was written before I attempted the climb up the mountain. Holy balls! That mountain is deceptively steep. For half the hike I was convinced that I was going to die on the trail. I climbed and climbed thinking, “I have to be near the top now, this has to be it.” But each time I turned a corner there was nothing but more trail, more rocks and trees. Still, I did it. And for that, I am proud of myself. I came here to push myself emotionally and physically, and hiking up enormous hillsides is just what I signed up for. Then again, I’m not going back for round two anytime soon, so savor the pictures from the first go-around!