Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail: Sometimes you don’t find what you’re looking for

Wow. After two weeks of circling the yard for some exercise and mild yoga to stretch out the time on the couch, the adjustment to the past couple days of putting miles on my feet is truly felt throughout my body. My calves particularly feel like knotted ropes. Lesson learned: stretch more.

Anyways, my last adventure took me to the south of the island, over to Poipu. Leaving around 7:30am, I realized what my Grandpa meant by the microclimates of Kauai. I started out in sunny blue skies and soon was under a heavy gray rain cloud. By the time I reached the coastline again, it was back to sun. Along the drive, the views continue to be breathtaking, a few rumble strips reminded me to focus on driving and look later.

With Google Maps navigating me to Shipwreck’s Beach in Poipu, I passed a slew of resorts, empty, empty resorts. I imagine last year at this time, the Hilton, the Sheraton, and the rich and fancy what-not named resorts were bustling with guests. Now, it is vacant parking lots and unoccupied rooms. I did notice a parking lot full of white Jeep Wranglers, must be the car of choice for tourists and a way for the locals to spot the people filling up there secret surf spots and trailheads.

Passing a pristine golf course, I found the parking lot tucked up against the beach and hopped out. I tied up my boots, applied a bit more sunscreen to the nose, and headed towards the beach. I noticed immediately to the right was a trail, quickly forking into more trails. I knew I wanted to hug the cliff, so as options arose, I chose the path that kept me in view of the waves crashing below. I am sure they all interconnect and more or less end up in the same spot. If I wasn’t wearing hiking boots or was weary of my footing, I probably would have stayed on the other side of the brush. Not that I was close to dropping off a cliff, but it did require more attention to where I placed my foot in spots.

The intention of this cliff hike was to find the tortoise nature preserve. After traversing the cliff, walking along the 15th and 16th holes of the golf course, seeing a rodeo corral, and finding a cave, I never found what was I looking for. No tortoise in sight. Of course, as I sit here and write this, I did a bit of research of where I went wrong and realize I was basically on top of the tortoises. They are down near the opening of the cave. I was on top of the cave looking down into it. Hmmm. I did a circle around the thing at the time but saw no path that would have taken me below. All is well, a reason to make my way back there.

On the way back, the rain cloud hovered above and the ocean spray coated me in its salty dust. Trying to stay away from the heavy mist, I shimmied along the path through the tickly pine trees. With one last view of the beach from the cliff, I made my way back to the car and got the heavy boots off before heading to the sand. A group of surfers had filled the parking lot at this point and were clustered together out in the water. As I sat down, an actual bus load of middle schoolers hit the beach and a cute lifeguard kept an eye on the teeny boppers splashing around in the waves.

After an attempt at catching some rays under a cloud and the hunger pains no longer to be ignored, I headed back home, stopping at the Big Save for a food replenishment. Whoa. The prices here are something to be mindful of. It seemed like everything was roughly twice the price of what I would pay on the mainland. Ouch. I have been enjoying cooking so much though that I figure I can buy what I want and relish in the meals. I’ll steer clear of eating out because that is where my wallet really would be crying.

On that note, after shopping I whipped up a tasty drink. I peeled a knuckles worth of ginger, squeezed three lemon-meyer limes from the yard, a splash of honey simple syrup, and some water into a blender. With a blitz and a few ice cubes, I had a refreshing drink to sip on for the afternoon. I am not one to buy soda or juice drinks, and considering it is out of my price point here, it is fun to try different drinks I can throw together in the kitchen. Also ginger seems to have magical properties to it, so anywhere I can use it, I do.

With that, sometimes I don’t find what I am looking for, sometimes the paths are unmarked, and sometimes life hands me some saltiness straight to the face. But there is appreciation of the journey, gratitude for where I did end up, and the saltiness came with a cool breeze, so no complaints here. That is all for now! Thanks for reading.

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