Honolulu + Kauai

It’s not going to be relaxing and it’s not going to be normal … my last words before leaving in case anyone got any fancy ideas about me going to Hawaii for a vacation.


Arrive. No plan.
Sam searches for an uber sans luck.
Michelle walks over to the lone tourist bus,
“Hey, can I ask you sumpin’?”
“Wuts up?” says Nelly, a local bus driver no more than 25 years old.
Nelly, totally ghetto gangster with hushed expletives, tattoos ablaze from knuckles to neckline, new to professional bus driving stopped to say hi to friends, made the delay totally worth the people watch.
She hustles us all the way to Pensacola Street where we’re staying even though she was supposed to drop us in the hotel district at Ala Moana.
Her 2 year old girl just broke her collarbone also. I told her she’ll heal up in no time. Definitely a kindred spirit.

Selena welcomes us graciously to her small apartment down a few steps- single small bathroom, chickens outside, hot, no A/C…
Marriot resort, eat your single-serving heart out, this is the (somewhat) sketchy side Honolulu – dirty aluminum lawn chair laden high heel dumpster cigarette smokin’ beautiful… and apparently there has been a mattress-microwave-tv-throwing-out party around the neighborhood.

Warm house, warmer heart, huge Christmas tree in a sparse apartment… Wiccan books streaming off the shelves, midwife paraphernalia on the walls, peaceful smile of a calm soul.

As ravenous as we are smelly from the flight, not a hi goes by before “Where to eat where to eat?”
Sidestreet Inn she says.
We make our way a few miles down the road toward just short of Waikiki where a small side street called Hopaka exists in an alley like fashion….
We walk in the dive diner bar where we are welcomed and served the very best BBQ and fried rice either of us have ever had, along with a few long boards.
The best goddamn fried rice and ribs in the Western Hemisphere – side street inn in Honolulu – which you know had to be good when you get it served by the nicest transvestite in town
Michelle dreamed of fried rice that night.
And peas the next
“Flied lice… Peas…” Sam was concerned but didn’t say anything, didn’t want to wake the dragon.

There was even a rooster outside our Airbnb room in Honolulu to wake us at the crack of dawn…but it was cheap and clean and our host was very kind.

Saturday we head to the expo – bilingual Japanese -Engrish.
Michelle loved it.

Sam gets me a t-shirt, saying I’ll regret it if I don’t.

Isn’t that true though? She’ll wear that shirt at the next marathon, would bet a good lunch on that. She looks great in a pink Honolulu marathon shirt, suits her!

Straight to Waikiki beach, clutching marathon packets, six pack of longboards, broken collarbone.
Swimming in pacific, beer-lubricated naps, only way to relax before a godawful 3am wake up call.
Sunset with last longboard beers, sundowners on Waikiki beach is difficult to beat.
Now home to prepare.

The wake up at 3:30 was no problem….except for Sam who felt like someone was trying to drag him out his grave by his long-forgotten hair. Michelle felt great and had no trouble getting gear on while sipping the Starbucks Via in a Hawaiian Water water bottle. Shorts, bib pins, shoes on, knee wraps and ibuprofen for her, vitamins, clif bar, athletic tape on collarbone… etc…. And we walk/ uber to the race start.

Omg I couldn’t wake up, Michelle is luckily like a marathon steamroller, out and moving, I’m dragging heels.
She wants to walk, I call an uber. Takes forever but we make it down to the bustling, overall way-too-enthusiastic crowd.
Toilet lines long enough to have people sleeping in the process, too much bright clothing, porta-potties are already gross.
A bustle to the start line, forget corrals we’re already going to be 5 minutes late.

“Have a safe and pleasant 26 miles,” the announcer says in Engrish and Japanese.
The American and Hawaiian anthems are sung.
5am start.
The fireworks go off.
We run.
Lots and lots of people to dodge.

I feel great running in the dark hoping to get in as much as I can before 1) the sun comes up and 2) the pain meds wear off while still trying to pace myself for a long run.

She bolts off, scampering between people. We seem to be in a group of people aiming to walk from the 5th mile. Don’t fight it, let the crowd disperse, I suggest. She keeps flitting around obstacle-people, I fall back, waiting for it to settle. She takes off, I see her in the distance.

I find myself at Diamond Head – love running up hill … High five-ing volunteers all the way – I run along the banner so I can pass /stretch-the-banner while going around a thick bunch.
It’s the only time I really pass anyone – two hills feel great both the up and the down.
There’s a turn around coming.
I look for Sam knowing he’s somewhere ahead…
Around mile 16 he sees me and flips around to run and walk with me re-doing 4 miles… He sees a drug store and dodges into the lot… I wait and stretch and he reappears with a bottle of ibuprofen and a bag of red fish candies.
It’s a long hot walk now.
Sore feet all around.
Taiko drummers, 日本人 passing out chocolate candies and sliced oranges … An American sitting in a lawn chair around mile 23 passing out cold Kirin in red solos…

I can see her hurting, shoulder is causing problems, surprised she made it this far.
I don’t want to force her, she is running as hard as she can, when she can.
Little runs, frustration+pain and she slows down to a walk again. Respect that she is still moving, collarbone jutting into skin, looks unbelievably sore+red with all the jostling.
Last mile is like New York – down hill into a park. True to form she takes off, just like all the bike rides – opens up on the last mile. Finish strong.
Collapses on the grass. She must be dying. A volunteer brings her Gatorade, I massage legs while calling her a weenie.

“Wow, it’s really hot in Hawaii…” she mutters.

Mission accomplished.
Pain-laced high-five.
2 minute breather.
Scramble for a taxi.
It’s time for the next challenge – the Kalalau trail.

Kalalau trail, top ten most dangerous trails in the U.S. (Backpacker magazine) – And top 20 in the world (Outside magazine).

Perfect post marathon hike.

Watching Michelle enjoy a mcfillet… Surprises abound. (Only because Sam kept her too busy after the marathon.…) At a Walmart no less… the only Walmart in Kauai – which is only 27 miles across – and is where the bus picks you up and takes you to hanalei, a 30 minute ride, for only $2 from Lihue to the Hanalei post office.

We meet River there (real name Michael) who was eating his frozen veggies from the bag with his camping spoon and has been coming to Kauai since 1984 to backpack and get away from the city he lives in in California. He reassures us about traveling around and backpacking in Kauai and takes the bus with us just short of Hanalei chatting the whole time. I have a stomach ache that set in while we waited for the bus and the round gentleman behind us lit up a cigarette as he waited also next to his Walmart shopping cart.

Thumb out.
We meet Kane who gives us a lift at Hanalei, a kind soul with baby Lila in the back… Giving us an unofficial tour as we go over several single lane bridges in the dark to Ha’ena beach, about 20 minutes up the road and right around the corner from where he lives.

The ranger catches us at 6am, still dark, chats with us a bit and we show him the permit for Kalalau feigning ignorance about the different beaches and having pity, lets us off without paying.. “As long as I don’t see you again,” he says.

Chickens are everywhere..
Sam will have nightmares about roosters crowing for days maybe weeks.. Roosters : the unofficial bird of Kauai and Kauai’s official alarm cluck.

So muddy and feet sore, Michelle goes barefoot mostly and occasionally flip flops hiking in. Broken collarbones and slipping while hiking with flip flops – two not-so-good ideas
Sam slips twice on the mud … The gods must have been watching because it was exactly when he teases about walking barefoot in the mud …. Michelle finally slips near the end of the hike I slipped on loose gravel going down hill – which could have happened when wearing shoes – still, with a broken clavicle it hurt like a bitch … Final count so far 4-2….

Rock kicking mountain goats.. Because the trail just isn’t challenging enough. “Here dodge rocks, humans!” Baaaaa hahahahhaha says the goats as they peer down from above while we scamper along a twelve inch ledge on a 300 foot cliff.

Pheasants.. Lots of game birds… Peaceful business minding game birds.

Giant bull frogs … and pig fences with no signs of pigs.

Helicopters constantly flying overhead watching for people off route. Slippery mud on the route – people falling – slippery rocks..

Barren iron lose gravel lava rock high over water peering down a sheer cliff means you’re almost there…. The last of five or six environmental changes: tall grass, brush, yucca forests, thick root filled mud, giant muddy rock steps, smooth river rock laden streams and waterfalls. Wrap around every fold.. you hike in and out of the sun, in and out of the canopy.

Water fall shower at Kalalau beach, evidence of a soap holder and a comfy flat rock to stand on. feels great!

Hippies everywhere.. But luckily not over populated…
Naked people enjoying the beach..

Hippy nirvana straight out of the movie ‘the beach’…
‘Nirvana for only 10 miles, this week only! S&H not included.’

Dripping with sweat..
Muddy legs..
Sore feet sore quads everything hurts,

Raging ocean waves .. Cerulean water, beautiful but with a fearsome undertow… the water feels good and there’s plenty of beachy stretch and sand bar pools with fish schools.
Still, it makes Sam nervous as he is paddling like crazy, hoping she, the one-armed-bandit doesn’t get pulled out to sea.. Knowing this she hangs back and enjoys a pool the second visit into the water and enjoys watching him frolic about – exactly the thing to do when you have two good working arms. And the water is strong – the waves do put up a good fight and if it came down to it, it would be waves 1 human 0.

Searching for “the most beautiful beach” searching for Shangri-la … But … The kid in me wants to too … Dustin and Kyle want to swim around the rock to get the next beach over.
You’d have to be a champion swimmer to make it and even then it would be risky. They’re excited …. but after battling waves with true hippie-newcomer-starry-eyed hope, they turn back to the safety shoreline. Everyone relieved. No one wants to see hippie hamburger made by 20 foot waves smashing humans on the unforgiving lava rock mountainside.

Searching for the ripest passion fruit, fruity happiness… this is easy success and thirst quenching.

… and there’s a wave runner coming ashore … motorboat waiting in the distance .. boats aren’t allowed to come into the coastline. They take Striker out – he has a giant abscess on his tonsil and needs medical attention.

Early departure boooooo… 5am, up at 3:30 hiking out in dark.. Michelle wears here nice Solomon hiking shoes this time. ..the cat call became “flied lice!” where the only response could be “peas!”

After seven fast hours we’re out, cold shower at Ha’ena beach after getting off the trail (wow did THAT feel good!). Want to stay for a month not a day and two nights .. Want to go back and brew beer and try some of that wine the Kauai boys made and kayak with Striker in April…. Sounds fun at least … Watched some older folks who probably (unofficially) live there just wander the tenuous 11 mile trail I think just to go get some milk! Like it was nothin’.

Ok, now it’s 4-3. #Ouchie.

Pack Out what you Pack In! Nobody wants to see your trash, holmes. Not your fresh wipes or plastic bottles … NO EXCEPTIONS. And bury your tp and stuff 150 feet away from a water source – If I can do it ~ you can too!
Yeah Michelle’s a bear cos she poops in the woods 🙂

Back at Hanakapiai beach – the last two miles and as far as the clean people make it – smelled the horrible smell of tourists touristing the Hanakapiai falls and beach with their cameras … snapping pics of their girlfriends falling off the dangerous slippery rock at the stream crossing … Sam tries to help the hopeless…
“Just cut the line, let the weak ones go” Sam imagines her saying as he tries get one to unlatch itself from the rock, 3 inches of hazardous water just below…. Michelle gathers the walking poles as they float swiftly away …

“Hey! You know she’s trying to get across – you could let her get across!” one rude clean tourist says as he holds his camera up taking aim at the clean waif with hiking poles who is nervous and about to fall in.
“I don’t know who you’re talking to, but that guy (Sam) is helping that lady across (as he did every time) – I suggest it should be you – How about you put that camera away,” I say as sploosh … too late, she falls in … embarrassed smile and he suddenly realizes where he is and makes his way over to help., foolish expression on face

Caught a ride out from some Ben and Laurin who also hit the trail hard just as Sam was starting to lose faith in the hitchhiking system from Ha’ena back to Lihue. He didn’t say anything – but I knew he was sore and exhausted … Ben reminds her of how you never know the levels of other people’s experiences and training … I suppose at least they are trying to experience nature and appreciate … It’s really good to just appreciate and have respect … White toe sandals from target and all up the ten inch thick mud and slippery rocks….

Got an amazing lunch at the fish market and found a sweet juice shop where we got beer juice and Sam even got a blue green algae juice (ewwwww! (Yum!)) – dubbed Avatar, I am Torak Maktow! *avatar bird sounds*
~Sam is a nerd….omg~

Glad the beach is INACCESSIBLE except by foot and kayak (only a few times a year)…. Keeps it solid. Keeps it authentic.

Took a bus back into Honolulu and and uber to Hawaii Kai to George and Chikako’s house for our last night. Starving and thirsting for cold beer – they honored us generously with their company and brought our leftovers from a party they were having – ribs and edamame, blueberry chipotle on brie and a few longboards… Couldn’t ask for more and lights went out hard.

She barely made it to the bed, worn down to that sleep of children, blissful exhaustion. Takes a lot to get to that point these days, the more you train the harder it becomes… what a dragon to chase.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. GearsAD
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 15:34:46

    Reblogged this on Semi-Sorted and commented:
    The only way to experience Hawaii.

    – Sam


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