I am exhausted again. Last Friday, Sharon, Melissa, Matt, and I hitched to Wa’i’pio Valley with full packs, ready to hike over the mountain to Waimanu Valley. It’s a narrow, crumbling 15.3 mile roundtrip that guidebooks and locals alike say takes six hours each way.
Well, we made it to Waimanu in about three and a half hours, mostly driven by my headstrong insistence on getting ahead of the group. Apparently I really don’t like talking when I hike. I always attributed hike silence to being around my family, but I guess I’m the same way with friends.
After a grueling trip, the stony beach at Waimanu appeared out of a thicket of dying coconut trees. The ocean was higher than at Wa’i’pio, revealing no sand, and making the land look more like a quarry than a beach. Where the rocks met the trees, a small stone walkway wheedled through ivy and ripening coconut and guava trees, opening along the path into small, sea-walled campsites. We proceeded to site number seven, a spot that rang with the sound of the powerful waves and provided a view of the waterfall that lay about a mile into the valley.
A fire proved impossible due to damp wood, so we made friends in another campsite and cooked our potatoes on their stove. “Pele willed it,” said Ana Sofia, the indigenous Hawaiian friend of Pu’u’ala, when we ran into her at a restaurant in Honoka’a on the way back the next day. She also alluded to the one truth, declared life’s illusory quality, and Hawaii’s acceptance of us as evidenced by our safe passage. She would say these things sober, I think, but I still always felt she was on mushrooms eighty percent of the time. She was another extraordinarily kind human being, though, so she can eat as many psychedelics she’d like. Ana Sofia is a fabulous example of the locals. Everyone is laid back, filled with love, and eager to help anyone who needs it.
The man who gave us a ride back to the farm talked to us for twenty minutes on the beach before offering. All he wanted was to have a conversation, and his six year-old daughter was into the idea, too. We joked about our trip, the mainland, and pig hunting like we were all the oldest friends. It’s bizarre how connected you immediately feel to everyone you meet here. I can see why many of the folks on the farm are positive that humanity is a single entity.
My eyes burn from constantly being looked into and I find myself sympathizing with, understanding, and encouraging everyone I meet like I would myself. It just comes naturally on the island.