It was a Sunday early morning low tide when I began the hike with Ottmar, a nature lover and painter. He knew how to get on the trailhead in Kapoho Vacation Land to get to the tidal pools and begin our hike along the ocean. Everything seemed to be still on the quiet body of water. The only sign of life was a couple of early risers peacefully sitting on the edge of the tidal pool reading a book. The rising sun above the water seemed to bless the scenery and we had to make our first stop. The water level was low, providing a rocky space along the shoreline to walk between the mangroves and the water line. The terrain was a mixture of Aa and paoheohe lava. It meant walking most of the time on uneven ground. At time, we were going closer to the ocean and the rocks were slippery, making the stepping insecure, but most of the time we enjoyed hopping from rock to rock.
After 45 minutes of solitary walk, we arrived to a large tidal pool filled with coral. Next to it, a few Hawaiian fishermen had elected residence and were enthusiastically fishing small reef fish. Ottmar said these fishes were now protected on Maui because they were useful at cleaning the water. A few more miles took us to a meadow of giant rocks with a strong presence. They looked like they did not belong to the scenery and we stipulated that they must have been blown from the closest vent, in the course of an irruption. Our modest human mind could not conceive of a power great enough to blow these rocks from such a long distance as the actual active volcano. We gathered that it must have been from the irruption on Green Mountain, a few centuries ago.
Ottmar point out a wall to the fisherman, and the forest behind it, where he always dreamt to go. They laughed very amused, and muffled that it was pretty far. It seemed to be a day to do what we always wanted to do.
Although it was still early, it was getting hot. As we were getting close to the wall, I witness the show of the water breaking on lava wall. The waves were huge and each time a wave was breaking, a giant white water bouquet splashed on the sky. I could not contain my joy and hooted at the spectacular show. I watch the dancing water every morning from our breakfast deck in Kapoho and I was so happy to see them so close. It was like getting close to a friend that was far away for a long time. We stopped for a while, enjoying the view.
There was always something interesting to discover. At times, we could not contain our enthusiasm and called each other to point out some exceptional rock color or shape. To the right of us plants were slowly colonizing the old lava fields, ornamenting them with their greenery. Here was lying a forest of blooming small ohia trees and there were the hala tree that the old Hawaiian used in their daily needs for clothing and roofing. Further away standing high in the horizon was the ancient volcano’s that spilled their fiery trails to the ocean. And there was sand! Yes, a mixture of white coral and black sand. Where was the sand coming from?
We were getting closer to the warm pond and the surfing beach. We could see the orange guard stand from the edge of the forest. We stood for a while in front of the huge rock standing in the water and covered with plants on the top. Ottmar thought he would like to come back to paint this scenery. He could put his easel next to the fireplace built in the ground with rocks by campers. He could even spend the night here. Next to the huge rock was the surfing beach. The surfing beach was narrow and the waves were at least 15 foot high. A man was body surfing, alone. We noticed the first signs of civilization: A narrow trail in the forest taking us to the road and the warm pond.
We thought that we would like to hitchhike a ride back. Ottmar barely stuck his thumb out and a truck stopped by. I jumped in front and Ottmar sat in the back with the surfing board. It was mother’s day and he had called his mother in California at 5 AM this morning. He lived nearby on the other side of Green Mountain. We had done enough walking, he said and he wanted to give us a ride to our starting point. He lived here for 25 years he said, and never wanted to go back to California. He wants to die here and have his ashes spread on the water that he loves so much. A straight way to paradise!
Back home, I felt warm and thirsty. I opened a coconut and drank the juice directly from the shell. That was not enough to quench my thirst and I wanted to jump in the cool water. Since I was in an exploration mood, I thought I try to find the nearby tidal pool where Patricia goes snorkeling almost everyday. I could not find it and got tired of walking around. It was easier to go across the street to the little protected cove. It was cool and refreshing and I felt elated.
I felt particularly good and strong the entire morning. I was filled with gratitude for the beauty all around me and in particular to my mother who gave me the gift of life.