Standing next to the 100-foot waterfall, feeling the water spraying over me, the sound was deafening. It was the day before Mother’s Day, and I couldn’t help but feel blessed with the beauty of our dear Mother Nature, and the Kayak Wailua tour is a great way to see her at her finest.
What to expect
The day began with a meet and greet with the cheerful staff at Kayak Wailua. I was excited that my daughter, Jamie, would be our guide for the day. She explained to our group what to expect on our expedition. The tour would take about 5 hours total and would include about 5 miles of kayaking through the Wailua River and an easy one mile hike (in both directions) up to Secret Falls, called Uluwehi by the Hawaiian people.
The only other people in our group was a family of four from Santa Cruz with two young energetic boys. We all loaded into the shuttle and headed for the marina. While our driver unloaded the kayaks, we received some last-minute paddling instructions from Jamie and loaded up our gear. Soon we were on our way up the river. The Wailua, which means Spirit in Hawaiian, is surrounded by beautiful jungle, with tropical trees, colorful flowers and lots of interesting birds. We paddled past the Sleeping Giant, known as NouNou Mountain and Mouna Kapu, then into a narrow and overgrown area where we disembarked and began our foot excursion.
The hike takes you right through the middle of the rain forest. I was impressed with the giant African Albizia and the Hau bushes. We saw ancient rock walls built for Hawaiian royalty that used to live in the area. They warned us ahead of time to expect muddy conditions, as it rains there nearly every day. They weren’t kidding! In spots the mud was ankle deep and I was glad I had worn good hiking boots and brought my trekking pole.
Before long we heard water flowing in the distance. The sound grew louder and louder until suddenly we saw it; a huge 100-foot-tall waterfall known as Uluwehi, or Secret Falls. We all just stood there in awe for a moment taking in the spectacular power and breath taking beauty. Then we grabbed our camera phones and took pics of one another before going for a swim. The water was very cold but felt refreshing after the hike through the humid jungle. I stood next to the waterfall and looked up at it in admiration. It made me feel so small and insignificant. Nature does that sometimes.
After swimming, we had a picnic lunch and were entertained by the wild chickens fighting over the leftovers. Kauai has tons of wild roosters and chickens and they can be both a nuisance and a source of entertainment. All too soon it was time to pack up and head back. The kayaking up stream was a little more difficult with the head wind, but as the marina approached I found a fresh burst of energy. It was an amazing day! I highly recommend it if you are visiting Kauai.