Planet Haolewood

A toolbox, a change of underwear, and a surfboard.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kalalau

Come with me on a journey, won’t you? A journey of the mind through time and space. Oh, come on it won’t kill you. Our journey begins in Europe oh let’s say a few centuries ago. Things are changing. New ideas float around in the air like cotton wood fluff on a summer day. But the creative people who want to pursue these ideas often meet resistance from the powers that be. What will they do when their ideas are so revolutionary that experimentation is squashed. There is a way out. They go to America. Whether they’re religious fanatics with visions of creating their own utopia, or their imaginations tend more toward mercantile innovation here is a place for the dreamers of Europe to come and try something new. And so they came and that was how our country got its start.

And when it started to get crowded along the Atlantic Coast and the dreamers started to feel a little stifled they headed out into the wilderness once again pursuing their dreams be they mad or mundane. And finally this tide of romantics and radicals swept all the way to California where it just kept flowing. For generations those who wanted to make their fortune, start a cult, become a celebrity, lead a revolution, create a new operating system or pursue any other kind of dream came to the shores of the Pacific and got busy for better or for worse. And so you’ll find a collection of some of the most creative people from all over the world in California.

But while most set about concocting new endeavors for humanity. Some just stood and stared out across the biggest expanse of ocean in the world and felt maybe they weren’t ready to stop going west. Their spiritual ancestors had begun surfing a wave hundreds of years ago that the dreamers of yore rode right across the Atlantic and which in turn had been caught by the American visionaries who heard the call of “go west young man!” And for some California is just not far enough west.

Everyday someone somewhere gets on a plane and moves to Hawaii. Maybe to Maui or maybe to Honolulu but the dreamiest of the dreamers surely go as far west as the can to Kauai. The airport on Kauai lies on the east part of the island and as the road winds around it leaves the biggest of the towns and heads to the green and wild North. Here you’ll find Princeville home of the Planet Haolewood World Headquarters, where the most conservative of the dreamers have made a home with golf courses and fine dinning. A little further down and the road becomes more narrow and windy. There are no gas stations, no postal service, houses sit high on pillars to protect them from Tsunamis. Finally your cell phone service fades away and you find yourself in a parking lot at The End of the Road. And what do you see at 7:30 in the morning on the day after Thanksgiving?

Why it’s me! The chairman and CEO of Planet Haolewood himself. I’ve got a backpack fully loaded with camping gear. Where the Road West ends the foot path begins and I’ve come to hike it. Won’t you come with me? You come this far already; why stop now?

The missing link in the road that would circle Kauai is called the Na Pali coast and the Kalalau trail is the path that traverses it. Na Pali is Hawaiin for “the cliffs” and looking at the verticle landscape from the below it’s almost impossible to imagine how a trail could be built. For 11 miles the trail climbs up and down and weaves in and out of steep costal canyons and makes for the most spectacular hike I’ve ever been on. It’s narrow, steep, rocky, muddy, poorly maintained and provides a challenge to even the most seasoned hiker.

Even if it led nowhere it would be a hike worth traveling the globe for (as many do) but at the end of the path lies the idyllic Kalalau Valley and nearby Kalalau Beach. Beyond the beach the cliffs become impassible. This is the End of the Path that began at the End of the Road. The Kalalau Valley is surrounded by cliffs that make it impossible to reach except via the strenuous trail I hiked or by sea and harsh surf makes beach landings impossible most of the year.

If Kalalu’s beauty and remoteness don’t bring out the romantic dreamer in you I don’t know what will. And what about those dreamers who have followed that trail all the way west? They are here: camped on the beach or up in the woods living a simple life getting by on what they could carry in and what they can gather or grow in gardens hidden in the valley. The state tries to evict them and confiscates their belongings but still they come and stay. Maybe it’s hard to go back once you have come that far and discovered a place so beautiful and seemingly so suited to human habitation.

So where does the road west lead to? The New World? California? Hawaii? Kalalau? I’ll bet everyone who has traveled it has a different answer and maybe the final destination ended up being not so important as the experience of traveling the path itself.

[Sorry, no pictures... problems uploading... use your imagination!]

1 Comments:

At 11/30/2006, Anonymous papasmurf said...

you are so right bor...there ARE too many raisins in Raisin Bran!

 

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