The one thing I have wanted to do above everything else while in Hawaii is swim with dolphins, duh, but I already did that post, and no there are no pictures to share, because, hello I was too busy swimming with dolphins. So, the second thing I wanted to do most in Hawaii was go to Waipio Valley. I have heard over and over that it is a tropical paradise, straight out of Jurrasic Park, minus all the man-eating dinosaurs, obviously.
The only way to get to this valley is by 4-wheel drive and lucky for us my uncle has just the car, complete with a canoe that remains tied to the roof always, just in case you might need a canoe for a random adventure (trust me in Hawaii that is a real-life scenario). So in his green canoe carrying expedition we piled in and drove down a narrow, steep, bumpy road that, no kidding, is littered with remnants of cars that have fallen off the road and to the bottom of the canyon. I had the honor of sitting in the front and facing my fear of heights head-on, but let me tell you, it was worth it.
Waipio Valley was everything they told us it would be and so much more. Once at the bottom of the canyon we drove down a dirt road that occasionally also became a river until we got to a place where the meandering wild horses where slowing down our progress, so we parked the car and set out on foot, continuing to follow the road/river into the very dense and colorful rain forest. Here I saw the most beautiful trees and flowers. And I will tell you, I did stop and take a picture of every one, like a field scientist recording new plant specimens, except I'm actually just a tourist taking way too many pictures for a Shutterfly photo book I have every intention of creating but may or may not get around to doing.
After a productive photo-taking hike we reached a secret double waterfall with a swimming hole at the bottom of each fall. Now if that sounds way too good to be true and like paradise than you would be correct. It was in fact almost too amazing to fully take in and again in my frenzy to participate I did not take many photos but instead rushed to swim under the falls and stare up at the jungle trees draped in flowers and long hanging vines. If it weren't for the other people with me pressuring me to finally leave my water sanctuary I might still be there now living off the fresh guava and rainwater.
Now if you think this place could not get any better, well this time you'd be wrong because as we followed this river out and continued to follow it through the valley it lead us the most incredible black sand beach that ever existed. Now I am obviously aware that all rivers eventually lead to an ocean, but have I ever seen a river empty into an ocean? Not until this day. As the cold freshwater poured into the warm salty water of the ocean it caused a sort of sideways wave that we realized was very fun to boogie board. And you should know, that in my opinion, the only thing really worth doing at a beach is boogie boarding, cranking my love for this place up another hundred notches.
Then as if this day to Waipio Valley could not be any more of a dream a wild horse and her colt came out of the woods to play in the river just as we were crossing it. The two horses ran and played in the shallow river banks just a short way from us. We watched them until they had their fill of getting wet. As they rolled in the grass to dry themselves off, honestly, I half expected a unicorn to come out and join them because it really seemed like anything was possible in this magical valley. That or raptors followed by the very handsome Dr. Alan Grant running out to save me because that too would be magical.