Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Wow! (03/11/10)
TITLE: The Garden of Wow!
By Barbara Lynn Culler
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Splash, swish, went the rhythmic sound of the oars as they paddled the kayak up the river. The Hawaiian island of Kauai was indeed the luxuriant Eden that is its trademark: “The Garden Island.” Along the river banks, partially submerged roots of woody banyan trees, gold and ruby ginger plants, hibiscus flowers and date palms swayed in the breeze. The dream like setting was just the beginning of this particular escapade. My friend, Cindy, and I were on vacation to this wonderland, and all day, all I could say was “wow!”
We had previously taken a double seater kayak downriver during the week and enjoyed it so much, we decided to join an all-day tour group. We were two over-weight and middle-aged women on excursion with 10 other tourists, most who were younger and more physically fit, yet we were ahead of the group in propelling our crafts!
Our ultimate destination was to a hidden waterfall, which, we were informed, was a short half mile hike up the mountain. We docked our vessels at the entrance to the shaded path and began the ascent. It was fun-at first. We traipsed through jungles of bamboo and ferns marveling at the colorful plants and birds around us. After 30 minutes of walking, the novelty had worn off. My friend was being eaten alive by mosquitoes and my soaked and muddied pool shoes were not meant for hiking! We were hot, tired and thirsty.
Then we came across a hidden oasis, but not the said waterfall. This was a swimming pond! For the adventurous, there was a rope swing where one could swing off the hillside and let go into the pool. Well, the water looked rather dubious in color, but I really wanted to act out my inner Indiana Jones persona, so I took the leap. Did I mention overweight and out of shape? Well, I swung down, and released the rope too soon. I dropped like an anchor instead of gracefully gliding into the cool waters of the pond. Oh well, at least I did it! After a few others tried to swing into the pool, we began our climb to find the obscure waterfall.
“There it is!” someone yelled out. We peered between the dense bamboo bushes, to see that we had to go down to get to the pooling area. By this time, we were hot, tired, thirsty, hungry and cranky.
“Wow! Was the exclamations heard echoing through the canyon. Some folks sat under the two pounding waterfalls and others perched on the massive black boulders and consumed their box lunches. After taking a cooling dip, I dined on the delicious sandwich. Following the meal, I swam to the center of the pool and with eyes closed in imagination pretended to be a gorgeous old time movie star romping in the falling waters.
Fantasies quickly fade, and it was time to head back to our kayaks. The downhill trip was much faster. Planning on us being tired, the tour leader had arranged for a larger boat to motor us to the starting point, while towing the kayaks behind us. We were beyond tired! My legs and ankles were swollen and Cindy’s bare legs were dappled with red welts from insect bites.
Upon return to our timeshare condo, we collapsed into comforting chairs. In spite of being out of shape, we had a grand adventure and wanted to do it again! However, we still had a biking tour, snorkeling cruise and dinner at an old sugar plantation scheduled before we were to leave the island. Wow!
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