Looking for the aloha in life

Day 12 – Polihale State Park

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Day 11 Family Photo: We had a wonderful dinner at Keoki’s Paradise last night. Awesome ambience, great service and delicious fish! We decided to do a nighttime photo for a change of pace; Bird was tired so she got a little giddy for the photo, as you can see here.

This morning we were all lazy and relaxed, except for poor Michael who once again had to work today. Dan and I picked up Starbucks and then he fell back asleep while I got organized. It was actually quite nice to have a lazy morning. I took a walk heading east from our condo and discovered the beach behind the Grand Hyatt. The hotel is gorgeous and the beach quite breathtaking with a huge cliff flanking one side.

Beautiful views on my walk this morning.

This cliff has become well known lately because Justin Beiber was supposedly shot jumping off of it by paparazzi. But that’s not why people talk about this incident. Apparently a bodyguard of his roughed up the picture taker and word got out. You don’t see many take this leap but I hear a few locals do.

After my walk, we all went out for lunch to grab a Puka Dog. These Hawaiian hot dogs are delish!  All kinds of different tropical relishes and fresh made lemonade to boot, too.

I really wanted to check out Polihale State Park but was a little nervous about it. You have to take a 5 mile dirt road to get there from the farthest point west, but the reward is supposed to be, literally, miles and miles of wide soft sandy beach that end at the beginning of the awe-inspiring edge of the Na Pali cliffs. I asked Mike about doing the drive with Dan and his exact words were, “That’s why we got an SUV, so that we could check those places out. You should definitely go there. You will be fine on that dirt road, just don’t go on the sand.”

So Dan and I grabbed some towels and water, then set out to see the West side of this incredible island. We stopped in Hanapepe for some shave ice and enjoyed the beauty of the ocean to our west and countryside to our east. We saw fewer and fewer cars the more we drove. We passed the Pacific Missile Testing Facility and finally came to the long dirt road I was worried about. They call it a dirt road but it’s really a rocky, pothole-filled path of danger. I knew right away that this was not something to mention to Avis when we returned the car Sunday. But we saw a few other crazy people in sedans trying the same thing so we kept going at a snail’s pace to make sure we  didn’t blow out a tire or crack an oil pan. We finally made it to Queens Pond Beach and I parked behind another car right before it started getting sandy. We walked through a gorgeous canopy of trees up a small dune to be presented with possibly the most pristine beach I have ever seen.

I bet there weren’t more than a dozen other people for as long as you could see in either direction. (That’s probably because it take some guts to get there as I have now learned.)

Dan ran down to see the water while I worried about burning our feet on the hot sand (of course, I was warned about this and yet I still only wore flip flops. Not smart, I know.) I wanted to stay but I was just too worried about the hot sand and the safety of the surf. I did end up running down to the water in an effort to cool my feet (in my flip flops, but still the sand gets to your feet) and then I saw the gorgeous cliffs. The view was definitely worth the burn. It was at that point that I looked down and saw a Portuguese Man O War.  They are similar to jellyfish and can give you quite the nasty sting. Dan was stepping very close to it so I warned him about it. He said his ankle started really itching and his mind immediately went to the possibility of a sting. We were now officially done with the beach. He ran back barefoot (how I’m not sure) and by the time I got to him he was a bit more concerned. Once inside the car, he immediately grabbed my trusty guide book that I always carry around with me. Meanwhile, I  started to get our car out of its space without going any more forward as there was quite a bit of sand just a few feet in front of us. But a car had parked right behind me and I could not back out at all. My only option was to go through the sand ahead. And what do you know, we started to get stuck, surprise, surprise! But before those tires could get buried I quickly put it in reverse and went for it. We were not getting a jellyfish sting AND stuck in the sand today. (Apparently the tow companies charge big bucks to get you out). We hauled ass out of there, all 5 dirt-road miles at 15 miles per hour. That’s about as fast as any car can go on that road. By the time we got to the main road, Dan’s ankle was feeling better so we determined that he did NOT get stung by a Man-O-War (I knew that all along, but had to go with it till he figured it out for himself.  If he had actually been stung, he would have been crying in pain, but I didn’t want to tell him that at the time.) Things started looking up and my blood pressure started to come back down.

We walked in the door and told Michael about our experience. The first thing he says?

Michael: Well you know you void the rental contract going on that dirt road so it’s a good thing nothing happened to the car.

Me: What?? Why did you even let us go then?

Michael: Because if I had told you that you never would have gone out there to see that beach. Aren’t you glad you did it?

Yes.  Yes, I am very glad. Although next time, I’m going in a jeep and bringing better shoes!

Author: Angela

I'm a mom living in Texas trying to find the aloha spirit in everyday life with my husband and 2 teenagers. Until I can retire in Hawaii, I will continue to love good old fashioned walks with my dog, dabble in home decor, and pretend to play the ukulele. I am passionate about my family, music, and supporting other families, like ours, who have kids with Down Syndrome.

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