Monday, February 3, 2014

hanakapi'ai falls trail

there comes a time in every couple's marriage when they get the green light feeling that they can travel together and their hearts won't burst from missing their kids and their bank wont weep for a year from the cost.

it happened to us.

it was brilliant, wonderful, amazing, and fantastic.

hawaii it was. oahu and kauai.

we went with some dear friends, and of course thru the course of the trip they became more dear. traveling with loved ones deepens bonds.

i went for the beach. i went because my soul craves taking in god's creations. that sounds gummy and so forth, but deep inside me i don't crave adventure or thrill seeking activities. they are fine and i don't mind them, but i don't seek them. i seek out the opportunities to be still and know god and i find that the earth's beauty is essential in that endeavor.

oahu was filled with non-stop activity. we were tourists, taking in every sight possible. while i could chronicle all of the activities, the two that were the best for me were taking in the north shore swells that were something for the record books and waikiki beach. we were able to sit behind yellow caution tape and watch the waves. it was purely magnificent and healing. the waves were beyond description and i kept thinking how lovely it was that we were taking in the north shore at such a rare time and with such power and force. as we made our way around the island we hopped out of the car and walked to the laie lds temple. all temples are special but i had a moment as i walked with my friend in front of the grounds where i could see everyone i loved in white. the two of us were quiet for a moment as we were taking in the smells, the scenes, the peacefulness and we both commented to one another that this was celestial material. feeling loved and seeing beauty has to be of heavenly merit.

we finally squeezed in a few hours on waikiki beach which was so refreshing. we saw sea turtles, skin that should have been covered, obscene exercise routines, inside jokes were born and the like.

we all knew that when we went to kauai it was about living like a local. we were somewhat true to that. there were some touristy things that we indulged in everyday for the thrill seekers in the group but my lazy hawaiian beach dreams were fulfilled. we stayed on the north side in the hanalei bay area. i have never in all my life seen such beauty. to sit at a beach with a mountainous back drop, waterfalls pouring off every cliff, and waves crashing all around, it was profoundly spiritual for me. the first beach we were at i had hours of spiritual awakening. it was like all the funk and fog of daily things lifted and those quiet whisperings were suddenly the new volume in my head. scott was back and forth snorkeling with his buddies. i had quiet moments of deep reflection. i love taking the chance to be still and see god. scriptural phrases poured thru my head the whole time that helped me get a re-charge and perspective that only a mother can appreciate.

the trip wasn't about escaping my daily duties or drudgery, it was about taking a second to re-group and re-charge, figure out where my marriage is, where my spirit's progression stands, and how i am doing at fulfilling my responsibilities to the four souls who claim me.

it was laced with laughing, and bonding, eating, and beach comparison.

one of the days i gave in to the busy ness of vacationing and submitted to a hike. a secret amazing beach, a waterfall you can swim under were the enticing words that got me. i would surrender to some physical work to see that. i pictured a blue lagoon greeting us with a mild jaunt up a mountain.

the previous night greeted us with a horrific rain storm. it howled all night, took out roads with the precipitation, and made some of the crossings impossible.

to get to the halfway point of the waterfall, we had to cross a fairly deep river. at one point because of the rain it was so deep some hikers were stranded overnight and had to wait to cross the swift waters. we happened upon the major crossing right as it was deemed passable. i traveled with tall people on this trip and water that was mid thigh for them was waist deep for me, making it trickier to cross such an angry water passage. the men were great and formed a human chain and pulled me along. once we crossed we realized we were out of cell phone range, it might start raining again which would complicate the waterway to get back, and we were running out of daylight and water. we quickened the pace so that we wouldn't have to add our marks to the board marking the fatalities on the hike. (there were 82)

we passed thru amazing bamboo jungles and terrain that was breath taking. some of it was lost on me as i didn't like taking the chances we were taking to see the waterfall. i have a very black and white personality and i really struggle with grey areas. as a woman who was being missed by four little people in utah, i felt like there was a definite risk of being stranded and loosing the feeling of vacation. we were loosing daylight and almost completely out of water. we started to loose the trail due to the large volumes of water pouring all around us. soon we had to start looking for things to help us decipher if we were on the right path. we had heard from so many people about this amazing hike and no one described to us what we were encountering. suddenly we realized there were pink ribbons tied along trees. they were trail markers. that's when we realized how much the rain had distorted the trail. the actual trail itself was comprised mostly of rock and dirt making the trail slick and muddy. we finally neared the top, feeling this exuberant, triumphant feeling only to be greeted with what i can describe as the force of a helicopter in front of us. the waterfall was overflowing with water and wind, showing it's power and authority. the water bouncing off the fall had us all covered and soaked in five minutes flat. one person tried to swim and the temperature was too cold. two others attempted it and could only dunk their heads quickly before retreating. i had to stand with my back to it as the force was taking my breath away. we couldn't snap any pictures of our accomplishment because the water would have ruined our cameras. we left quickly, defeated. our end reward wasn't at all what we had hoped for. it was too much to take in and enjoy.

the entire hike there were scriptural phrases coming in and out of my mind and i was being taught. i left the waterfall totally depleted of the excitement i had built up. my build up and hype was that it would be quiet and still. i thought about how that hike was so similar to trials, life's journey, and so on. our choices put us on paths that may be the same trail as others, but the lord has to power to shape the trail just for us. our hike was a bi-polar experience to everyone else's who had been on it. we saw the same fall but it was magnified. we had to work harder getting there, take more risk to do it, but essentially our destination was the exact same as everyone else's who had done it. i thought about the past twelve months we have been thru. i signed up to be a mom but i don't recall asking for torrential rain. my path felt so flooded this past year. i felt like i was on a trail that was going to wash out at any point because it seemed beyond what i could handle. but, i had pink ribbons all along the way telling me i was where i needed to be. we were doing what we needed to to finish the hike, to conquer the trial. when we got to the point that was the hardest with easton, we were exhausted and deflated, the final summit left us feeling weary and weak.

 at the end of the trail there was some sense of accomplishment. our physical efforts left our bodies feeling weak but there was a sense of completion, we finished what we came to do. i also felt like at the end of our trial this year that it was important not to lament on the downward part of the resolution. sometimes i have the tendency to got caught up in the sheer exhaustion of the trial, having a hard time giving it up, lamenting of the "hard" nature of it. it's important to get off the trail or trial. be ready for something else, ready for the next one.

i also thought about that hike in another way. i thought about how life's journey is only meaningful when we are on a path. if we stand at the trail head simply waiting for something, we never get to experience the good and the bad that adam and eve taught us about. i thought about how important our time on this earth is. every choice, action, reaction is crucial. we are in a testing period that we can never get back. the end reward is going to be so much more than we can imagine. sometimes life just seems like a simple hike, a jaunt if we listen to the account of others instead of engaging and finding out for ourselves. somehow the thought struck me that the magnitude of celestial glory or heavenly reward will be just as powerful as that massive waterfall. so much more than we can imagine or take in with our limited vision. the things that wait to award climbing trails laden with torrents and floods are more powerful than we can comprehend.

today is monday. monday after vacation is like eating purple poi, slimy, goopy, not desirable. and so, i will dream of ways to get back to tropical paradise and remember to take the trail/trials with grateful hearts.