A walk in the rainforest
All week I had gazed longingly at the tree-clad mountain range behind our house. I wanted to explore these; I wanted to slog up the mountain slopes and be engulfed in the forest. Sadie also felt the need for a little exploration on foot and we arranged to take a wee walk to a waterfall, along a trail on a route recommend by Lucy. We decided on a 6am start, so we could walk before it became too hot, too busy and to return in time to join everyone for the day's activities The private road at the trailhead was manned by a couple of burly looking security staff. Ever nosy, we asked what was going on and were told they were constructing a film set to represent a Vietnam army camp deep within the forest.
The path led up through the forest, past plants that I recognised from collections in glasshouses in Britain. The trees formed a canopy overhead, but not too dense - sunlight still penetrated to the forest floor and there was an abundance of smaller plants. At places where the path was particularly steep, steps had been created to prevent erosion of the hillside by thousands of feet. It was muddy and slippery in places and care was needed when crossing several small streams. It was already very warm so early in the day as we were sheltered from the cooling breeze we had become accustomed to on the windward side of the island.
Unfortunately we didn't reach the waterfall, due to a broken direction sign, and a poor gamble as to route choice - left or right? We walked upwards instead, to a ledge that gave a clear view to the wall of the cliffs ahead and back out to sea. We appreciated the welcome sea breeze at this point and noticed the film set tucked in the trees in the valley below.
When we related our tale to Lucy, she offered to lead us on the trail the next morning. This was our day of departure, but being a non-too-fussy packer myself, I knew I had time for a walk, one final swim, have breakfast, pack up and be ready to leave with the others. Another 6am start and this time Lucy and I sauntered along the trail and had no difficulty finding the waterfall. There is a sign at the start of the trail warning of the dangers of catching all sort of nasty diseases from the water, so, although the waterfall pool looked very tempting to our hot sticky bodies, we decided against taking a dip.
I indulged in a final swim from 'our' beach on our return and as I swum I tried to capture the whole experience in my mind. The salty water, which was calmer today than any other day; the golden sun warming my face; the view across to the Mokula Islands and back to the mountains; and the noise of the wind in the trees: these elements had all contributed to the energy and spirit I had felt all week and I needed to cling onto them for the cold days of winter ahead.
My first impressions of the trip were amazement at how well we got on as a group of women and what a magical place Hawaii is for a holiday. My lasting impressions echo this. I know I want to join in with future wwwomen get-togethers and I know I want to come back to Hawaii for further exploration.
As well as my photographs of the holiday, I have my beautiful tiara, a hand-crafted lei from Lucy and memories. Lots of memories …
…late night chat's (with much laughter) on the patio with the other insomniacs, Mariane, Anna-Marie, Carmel and Harriet … swimming in the moonlight gazing up at the constellations … a late night skinny dipping 'experience' (even more laughter) with (yes, I know you want to know who bared all) Mariane, Anna-Marie, Harriet and I … watching the geckos climb the walls on the patio … the taste of really fresh pineapple … the admiration from strangers as we swished past as tiara-topped Queens of the Universe … watching Christie armed with a 'roach spray chase after big cockroaches …translating everything I said to Harriet …sitting on the beach enjoying the early morning sun with Sadie and Cindy … viewing Waikiki by night from the harbour cruise organised by Lucy ... and many, many more.
Dreaming of next year .................................................
Email me - Sheila
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