Monday, May 21, 2007

Campin' at Polihale

The view of the Na Pali coast from Polihale

On Friday I sojourned to the remote west side of Kauai to the Polihale State Park to do some campin' and make myself feel like I had roughed it at least once during my transistion to livin' in Hawaii. I didn't really know where I was going and was basically just playing it by ear and seeing where the road would take me. I ended up on a really bumpy dirt road that was filled with pot holes and ruts. I later found out that my rental car agreement forbids me from driving out there. After the 5 mile drive on that bouncy road and getting the car stuck in the sand I figured out why. But I am not going to tell the rental car people about any of that. I got the car unstuck with a little diggin' and a helpful push from some folks passin' by who were also there to do some campin'.

After getting the car unstuck, I went down to the beach, leaned against a log, watched a guy surf some small waves, read the newspaper and sketched for a bit. I watched the sun set then I figured I better collect some wood and get a fire started. Easier said than done. Basically, I went out there completely unprepared with only a sandwich, a bag of carrots and some beer. The only wood to be found was from the invasive Kiawe which has thorny branches that were poking my hands and barefeet. The wood was wet from an earlier rain and I couldn't find my lighter. I borrowed a light from some near by campers and got a fire going, but it was short lived and went out when I went to the car to get my food and Uke. Fortunatly, some dudes walked by and invited me to chill by their fire

These two guys were quite the characters. They were out there with just their packs, a guitar and some peanut butter. They were students from the University of Hawaii on Oahu who were on summer break and had hitchhicked over from Lihue. Dan and Will told me stories of how they had come out too camp and fish for their food but had left their new mask in one of the rides they had caught. They went on to tell me of how they made a bamboo spear and tried to catch one of the wild chickens, that can be found all over the island, but their efforts were unsuccessful. Which is probably lucky for them because those birds don't seem like they would be the safest or cleanest things to put in your mouth. The two did manage to wrestle a few small opihi off the ocean rocks with a deer antler knife they had brought and cooked them over the fire on a grill they had found. They offered me one and I gave it a try. They were actually quite good and tasted like little smoked clams. I found the whole scene and their stories totally entertaining.
After watching the Moon and Venus, which were both casting a reflection of light in the ocean, set behind some off shore clouds, I went back up to my rental car to get some sleep. Unfortunately, that did not really go to well either.

The back seat of the car folded down easy enough, but it was all hard plastic with no padding. I laid out out all my clothes and did my best to make a mattress with my them. I laid down but didn't fall asleep for sometime. When I did finally nod off it was all too brief. The locals were racing their ATV up and down the sandy road where my car was parked. Then later another group of people showed up and parked about five yards from where I was. They were all partyin' loudly and listening to what I could only describe as sounds a broken toy would make . My mind started playin' tricks and I became paranoid that somebody may try to break into my car. I had a very uneasy sleep even after the party moved down to the beach and out of earshot.

The next mornin' I woke up very early and very sore from my restless night of sleep in the back of the rental. Will and Dan had asked me the night before if I would give them a ride into town. I was going that way and said "sure thing." Since they were already up we packed up and headed back towards Lihue. I dropped Dan off at a bus stop because he was going to stay with friend for a few days on Kauai. After we got some loco mokos for breakfast, I dropped Will off at the airport. Upon lookin' in his bag, Will discovered Dan's wallet was still in his pack. I could only laugh at the situation and the two guys carefree attitude. Since I could not help out, because I had to meet my new employer in a few minutes, I left Will at the airport while he was talkin' to Dan about how to get his wallet back to him. All in all it was a pretty intersting campin' trip and quite a memorable experience.


Tiki Chris said...


I really enjoyed reading this post. Fun stuff. Thanks for keep us posted - good luck!


Bee said...

Hey Cousin,
So glad to see you are following the footsteps of your heart...your creativity is flowing and you are taking the time to feed your soul. What a great space to be in, mentally and physically! Hope I can come see the sights and visit you there some day.
Thanks for the virtual visit. Your photos are incredible also...
(In freezing cold Canada, I might add--loved the sunshine in your photos)