“What was your favorite part the trip?”  This is a question I am often asked.  When a trip is boiled down to the cause of the most happiness, excitement, peace, relaxation- or whatever was intended to be gained…the answer is found.  Regarding our recent trips this month to Kauai and the Big Island, I have a favorite for each.

You may remember awhile back we described our hike to Kalalau Beach – 11 miles along the NaPali coast (and showed a video of a particularly scary section of the trail).  Part I described its beauty, and Part II described its danger.  We were lucky enough to return and share the fun with a set of parents just a few weeks ago.  This time around we camped 6 miles into the trail at Hanakoa Valley and explored from there.  Hanakoa Valley is interesting and far enough away from the day trippers to be enjoyable.

You may or may not know about a group of spirited individuals who attempt living off-the-grid in the Kalalau Valley up the “hippie highway” trying to hide from rangers in a secluded farming community on National Park grounds.  It is fun to mingle with them at camp and/or run into them when they are hiking in or out for more supplies.  One of the residents saw us finding our way on a hike up Hanakoa Valley to the waterfall and told us to make sure and enjoy the fairy pool.  Pause…Did she just say fairy pool??  Yep, she did.  All giggles aside, it was a really awesome pool and my favorite part of being on Kauai this time around.

Finding the trail can be tricky.  The park rangers tied pink ribbons inconsistently spaced along the trail to help you find the falls.  The trail isn’t maintained or obvious.   
Here we are arriving at the falls.  I think you only see the bottom portion – 300 or 400 feet.  I’m on the right climbing the rocks to get to the so-called fairy pool.  My mother-in-law and father-in-law are making their debut appearances on This Adventurous Life.  Aloha!
Here is my father-in-law making us nervous while hanging out near the area where rocks were falling off the cliff face.  This picture gives you a good sense of scale.
The surrounding beauty and seclusion were unparalleled.  Here I am soaking one ankle in the pool to test for leeches.  I swear I was only partially serious, and since I was sitting there taking in the expansive views anyways-might as well dangle my foot in the water for a bit….  My very scientific leech knowledge comes from the leech scene in Stand By Me.  C’mon, don’t you remember??

After about 5-10 minutes of sneaking glances down at my foot for black splotches….

We jumped in with abandon and enjoyed being truly present in the moment.
It was a fairy pool after all.  =)

After a quick attempt at uncovering the original meaning of the term “fairy pool”, it seems multiple cultures have ancient myths or legends where fairies bathe in clear water pooling near waterfalls.  Definitely, too much time was spent googling those terms.

Refreshing and awesome, it was.  This was definitely my favorite experience on Kauai this time around.  Memories of all four of us relaxing, bird watching, jumping in and swimming at Hanakoa Falls will be cherished.

Hopefully Cayle and I will get to Zimbabwe and swim in the Devil’s poolalso!  (Moms, just don’t look.)