By Friday, December 10, the daily routine was a bit quieter. Only our youngest daughter, Elizabeth, remained with us.
At assorted points, the wedding travelers had packed up, scrunched into those big aluminum winged birds, and flown back to the mainland.
Elizabeth was scheduled to take a red eye out of Honolulu on Saturday evening. With her remaining time, she pursued a combination of stints on the beach and taking in more Hawaiian beauty.
At some point on Friday, Elizabeth, Betsy, and I made the drive back to the Waimea Valley Visitors Center. We wanted to take the walk to the falls and to explore the lush grounds along the way.
Quite simply, this is a beautiful walk. If you come this far to Hawaii, you must take this walk. Excuses are not acceptable.
No matter where our eyes are cast, our attention is captured by an unsurpassed loveliness. To put it another way, I can’t stop taking pictures. The vivid colors of floral blooms are remarkable.
The layout of the walkways is easy on old bones. Yes, there is a gradual incline to the falls, but the push upward is quite manageable. Sprinkled along the way are educational displays related to island life. Yes, these are nicely done, but the plant life steals the show.
At assorted points, we can see where the torrential rains from Monday created chaos with washouts and tree damage. The stream that meanders along with us is now running clear—an indication that nature’s filtering system is working.
Occasionally, birds chirp, an electric cart carrying visitors might whiz by, but overall it is quiet, serene, and calming as we work our way toward the falls.
And yet in all of this pretty tranquility, we encounter a meltdown.
At what I would describe as a concession/rest area off to our right, we hear a loud voice.
At first, we can’t determine if it is an employee in a confrontation with another employee or tourist. But, with a few more seconds of listening, we determine it is a tourist, a wife, a mother who has exploded at her husband and older daughter.
Apparently, there was some miscommunication. This lady had been waiting for the husband and daughter in this spot for a long, long time.
Her meltdown, spewed with hot volcanic words. For those intense minutes, ears burned. Respect for herself, her family, and innocent tourist with children was gone. That respect melted into a molten gush of harsh, profanity laced, yelling—a shameful embarrassment.
Upon reflection of this tirade, I thought it was too bad this aggravated lady had not been standing under a coconut tree. Perhaps, a timely drop of a coconut on to her volatile noggin might have brought her back to reality. But, who knows maybe what we heard was the reality of her life.
Despite this intrusion, the falls were as advertised. And yes, you can take a dip or swim in the pool below the falls. Water shoes and life vests can be rented if you want to take the plunge.
After admiring the falls, we turned around. The walk back to our starting point gave our eyes a new perspective as we saw the landscape from different angles. Yes, I took more pictures.
We drove back to Waialua even more appreciative of our world, and thankful that someone a long time ago made the decision to protect Waimea Falls.
Back at the house, we went down to the beach and took a long walk along the shoreline. Soon, in the distance, the sun would be setting behind the hazy, darkening hills. We were hoping for a colorful western sky as the sun slipped into the Pacific.