We landed in Kauai rather late after hitching a ride to the airport with Kalei’s ex-boyfriend. As we walked out of the airport I sensed a more laid back environment than Oahu. Maybe the rural, scenic highway walking down Route 56 skewed my judgement, or maybe walking straight for Kalalau Trail from the airport without a shuttle, taxi, or bus did it. I did not know.
But, that first night walking past the WalMart, wild camping off in the jungle with Kelly felt more memorable than ever. We slept at the top of an embankment off the highway with vines, palm leaves and roots all cattywampus around our bivy sacks.
We putted along down the congested back roads towards Turtle Bay. Nate sparked up a cigarette puffing plumes of smoke out the window. I gazed out at the coastal beauty beckoning my eyes with blue tendrils of crashing splendor. The calm swell attracted many beach goers from all over, and normally I avoided the tourist pits, but this time was different.
Nate looked over at me suddenly and blurted out, “You want a hit of acid bro?”
Without much hesitation, I reached down and pulled a tab off a strip of blotter paper. The tasteless square moistened under my tongue for a few minutes before swallowing it. I took acid many times in the past, throughout college, and hitchhiking up through California, so I knew what to expect. Each time felt like a new adventure as I waited for the trip to begin.
The waves scream thunderous roars, crashing fury down on the banks of the shore, washing away the footprints of the wandering man. He stumbles along into the night, his bare feet swollen and calloused from relentless walking. Nothing stops him as he wanders in his own world, a world easily distinguished from his blazed pupils, sparkling blue. He’s a beggar. He’s a thief. He’s a father. He’s penniless, not by choice, but by addiction.
His name is Zion. Zion is a man around my age, a dark-skinned Hawaiian man with short scruffy hair thinning out over his scalp. His stubbly beard shows signs of age from its graying. His chest is flat perspiring wit sweat and he’s in a drug-induced daze from days of binging. He scours the beach at night scrounging around for loose scraps of unattended merchandise, anything to sell for his next fix.
So here we are in Hawaii. I guess my life changed when we went to NY, but nothing like here. We have been tent camping for about a month. The first week was hard, since then has kinda been a breeze. I am in the most beautiful place in the world. I hear the waves all day. The best part, being here with my husband. I wouldn’t trade it for your mansion.
I’ve been trying to hike more, preparing for the Haiku stairs. The fresh fruit is insane. We pick passion fruit and guava right off the vine. Husband jokes that I would hike anywhere if it involved food. He is right. 10 miles would be easy if there was a taco truck at the end.
My time on the North Shore is ending as we approach the end of November in a month. Pacific Skydiving Center introduced me to a whole new aspect of drop zone life in a turbine setting. The fast-paced, upbeat environment is home to a variety of people from all over the country. I see some of the best swooping, free-flying skydivers in the United States on a daily basis. It’s intimidating, but rewarding. The turbulence, gusts, and experience required to safely land a canopy make me truly realize the dangers of the sport, the fears I need to overcome to become a better canopy pilot and skydiver. In due time I will get there, but skydiving is not my ultimate priority in life at this moment, traveling is…