Our next mission would take us up the Wailua River by kayak. We rented the boats at Wailua Kayak and Canoe, immediately adjacent to the river. We reserved two kayaks for the morning. I casually inquired as to the repercussions of not arriving back with the kayaks promptly at noon. The guys manning the rental equipment noted that no one was lined up to go out after us, and simply advised me not to get carried away. He warned us that it was mud season. We thanked him, stowed our gear, and headed down the street toward the river. At 7 AM, it was difficult to tell if the cool haze was simply the ambient moisture rising from the warming land, or if it truly threatened to rain. Hoping for the best, we jumped into our boats and headed off upriver to find out what lay in store for us.
The sun eventually pushed through the morning gloom, but the haze lingered for much of the day. As we pushed deeper into the jungle we were ever more ensconced by the mountains and the wilderness, and the last vestiges of town slid away from us. We made good time on the way out, almost ‘as if the boat[s] were being sucked upriver and the water was flowing back into the jungle.’
As the day warmed up, we were presented with increasingly tantalizing glimpses of territory that loomed ahead of us: the serpentine river wound through looming foothills, lush with vegetation. As the river meandered forward it steadily narrowed, until we we were forced to beach the boats and carry on by foot. We didn’t realize it yet, but from this point forward we would be committed…
Upon leaving the boats we followed a well traveled path through the forest toward our ultimate destination. We tread carefully at first. With some unknown amount of trekking ahead of us, and with miles of paddling on our return trip, we took great pains to keep our gear clean and dry. Armed with an exceptionally bad map, we followed the path deeper into the jungle. With each step the path degenerated further, along with our resolve to stay clean and dry. By the time we were nearly to the end, it was little more than a maze of heard trails ambling vaguely forward.
Before we knew it, our slog gave way to a jungle oasis: a towering waterfall stretching to the canopy of the jungle. Rays of weak afternoon sun pierced through the canopy and lit up the pool at the foot of the waterfall. Large boulders were adorned with small bouquets.
We took our fill of the jungle shrine and decided to make our way back toward civilization. By now we were totally consumed by the jungle. We made no rush on the way.
Just a we pulled the the boats out of the water, the Heavens opened and the weather, which had threatened on and off for the whole morning, finally presented itself.
[This is] The End…