By Zachary Moses
I finally made it back to Kauai, Hawaii. My absolute favorite island on earth. It’s got everything I love: tropical landscape, perfect weather, lovely people, mountains, ocean and no snow…EVER!
I started designing this tour four years ago as an excuse to visit my biggest bucket-list destination. It took two years to design and make my first planning trip there, and another two before launching. The following is the story of the inaugural launch of our Gay Kauai Adventure.
The tour was brand new so I brought along Trisha, a photographer/assistant. Her job was to coordinate our activities and document the group having fun along the way. I’d been at a trade show just before this tour so Trisha and I had a mere 36 hours to dry-run the entire tour before our guests arrived. Wow!
On our first day on the island, we took a hike of the Na Pali Coast. Since weather often affects this potentially treacherous hiking trail, we wanted to test it ourselves. The last thing I want to discover is a washed out trail when I have a group of guests halfway up the mountain. We soon discovered that inclement weather had indeed damaged the path, but luckily, workers had recently repaired it. Phew! The view from the top of the first peak was incredible.
We were rewarded with this beautiful vista of Ke’e Beach. This beach is literally the end of the road. All of Kauai’s north shore (Na Pali Coast) is pristine and devoid of cars.
We made it safely down the peak and back to our car. We proceeded to the opposite side of the island for our next test hike of the trails in Waimea Canyon (The Grand Canyon of the Pacific).
Trisha and I standing at the top of lookout point for Waimea Canyon. It really felt as though we were looking into a tropical Grand Canyon. Although they are similar, the geology of the two rifts differs somewhat. The Grand Canyon was created by gradual erosion by the Colorado River. Waimea is the result of the island of Kauai collapsing under its own weight, literally cracking in half. Total mind blow. POW!
We managed to complete our test runs just before the first of our guests arrived!
Rather than welcoming them with the classic Hawaiian flower leis, we gave each of our guests a lei made of nuts. Nuts seemed more fitting for our gay Kauai tour. *snicker*
After our introductions and welcome dinner, we all turned in to bed as early as we could. I had informed the group that a storm was headed toward us, so if they wanted to hike the Na Pali coast we’d have to depart at first light.
Everyone did their best to wake up in the morning. We were in such a rush to beat the storm that we had to get breakfast on the go.
Each of us navigated the trail with very little trouble. Things were damp, and everyone was glad they had brought (or purchased the night before) hiking poles.
Before this tour launched, I had several people tell me that they thought this hike sounded too hardcore. See me here with double knee braces? This is nothing! About a year ago, I injured both my knees hiking through 20 miles of bogs in Ireland…that was hardcore. This hike was easy in comparison, just a lot of ups and downs…and a slightly treacherous cliff.
The hardest part of this hike? Not looking off that damned cliff. The cliff the group is standing next to. It’s just a teeny tiny 1,000-foot drop. *shudder*
For all of our fears of the storm coming, the weather could not have been more fantastic. However, we didn’t stay long anywhere. I was watching the storm on the radar and knew exactly when we’d have to turn back and/or run.
All along the way, the trail was lined with guava trees. My favorites were the strawberry guavas. When I stopped to pick guavas for my group, a crowd of hungry mouths soon appeared.
Finally, after our long morning hike, we made it to Hanakapi`ai Beach. There is a beautiful waterfall at the end of the valley behind this beach. I would have taken the group there but in Hawaii, all the waterfalls are driven by rainfall. With a potentially large storm on the way, I didn’t want to get caught in a flash flood.
Instead, we enjoyed a chilly dip in this lagoon. I assumed it was freshwater because it was full of tadpoles (baby frogs). I decided to give it a taste to check. The two doctors on the tour promptly chewed me out, telling me freaky stories about water-borne parasites crawling out of people’s eyes…It’s been several months, and I’m still fine…for now.
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