25 minutes to hike to the waterfall, but that was the least of my worries. There I was, rocking a bikini under a hoody and the wrong shoes, about to make my way through mud, rocks, and insects, all before noon. Worst of all, I'd be doing it alone. The photographer had stayed back at the starting point, before the entrance.
"You won't be able to hear me, so I'll wave, and every time I do you'll change poses." At the time I was so amazed by the lush green, the rusted iron color of stone, and the white washed water that I couldn't even consider the danger of going alone. I made my way around, to the entrance, where most everyone stood, taking pictures and looking over to the only three people who had ventured past the start and on to the waterfall. Stares came from every which way, like, what the hell is this girl doing here, dressed like that. Two guys walked over,
"What are you doing here?" they asked,
"Hiking!" I answered. They stared, maybe trying to determine if I was crazy or not for trying to go down the steep and slippery slope in my outfit. I asked them which way to the waterfall, and they pointed out the route. I thanked them, and slowly made my way there. I guess I trusted them too quickly. I've always been quick to trust; my life's been spent that way, trusting others before making sure they were worth it. It's screwed me over so many times, but I can't help it. Before I got too far, they called out,
"Wait!" and stopped me. "We aren't really sure which way to go, everyone's just really standing here and we haven't done the trek before." Well, at least that time I wasn't let down, but at that point it couldn't have made less of a difference, my mind was made up; wrong or right way, I would make it to the waterfall. There was no doubt it would be difficult. Most my life I'd made sure to stay in shape through yoga, but I'd never considered myself to be a sporty person. I hated sports, but at that moment I had to pump up the few muscles I had and hope they would be enough to guide me the long way down. I started hiking and soon enough I came to the slope. I sat and slowly started to make my way over the edge, resting my foot on whatever rock was large enough to support it. The people who had stood by the entrance had gathered to look on; some asked to take pictures, to which I merrily said yes. The further down I went, the harder it was to grab hold of anything.
Above me, the onlookers whispered, laughed, and gasped.
One of them seemed to be filming the whole thing, talking into the camera as if he was an explorer on the discovery channel narrating the coming and goings of some interesting animal,
"Will she make it as danger becomes more and more real?" I doubt anyone believed I'd be able to do it, but I had no time to question myself. The rocks were rough and slippery, and mosquitoes swarmed, buzzing around me, attracted by my sweat. My blood seemed to be a tasty treat because they kept coming, as if all the mosquitoes in the world had concentrated their efforts on making my quest to reach the waterfall as difficult as possible. I tried to speed up, slowly zigzagging as I could among the rocks, until I wound up stuck. I was embarrassed. Everyone stared, at the girl in a bikini and slippers, with smeared makeup and mosquito bites running up her arms and legs. At this point I couldn't even see the waterfall, only hear it roaring somewhere beyond me. It's not worth it, I thought, nothing is worth this much effort, I want to leave. I called out for help, to anyone who would listen, but no one came.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move. A spider. Brown and hairs bristled, scurrying forward; taunting me.
I let out a scream that filled the Kauai sky. Without a second thought, I yanked my hand upwards and turned away, in the moment forgetting that I had nothing to hold on to. My foot slipped and I slid, down the rocks, feeling the stone like sandpaper on my bare skin. I had to do something. If I kept sliding I'd fall to the trees below me and probably die. By the edge of the cliff there was a tree and I caught hold of one of its branches, finally coming to a stop as my feet dangled over the edge. I barely made it.
To be Continued...