Everyday beach life had become too doldrum and so we sought greener pastures, or rather greener beaches. Nikki and I hopped into our little rental car and headed west. We went up. We went down. We went from jungle to desert to grassland. We began to doubt that we were still on Hawaii. The rolling grasslands were full of horses and cows. Had we found a secret warp tunnel to Montana? The plains suggested yes, but instead of mountains there was only ocean in the distance.
The roads got smaller and narrower until we began to doubt the GPS. Finally we heard the long awaited words, “You have arrived at your destination.” However, GPS only got us to the parking lot. To actually reach the green sand beach you have to either hike 3 miles along the coastline trails or pay $15 to some guy with a truck to hop in the back and he’ll drive you. The trail, while wide enough for cars, is what you would call ‘off road’. Our little rental car was not going to make it, but if you have four-wheel drive and are comfortable off-roading then there is really no reason you couldn’t drive all the way to the beach. We opted to stretch our legs and set out on the hike.
The “trail” is several braided dirt roads that seem confusing but all actually go to the same place in the end so the hike is fairly easy to follow. The tough part isn’t the heat or the distance or even the uneven terrain. The toughest part to deal with, and what really made us think we should have paid $15 for a 3 mile truck ride, was the wind and the dirt it blew. I wore a white shirt that is now perma-stained dingy clay brown. There were a few times that we had to stop and turn our backs to the wind and wait a bit for the gusts to die down.
But there was a rainbow at the end of this trek (well it was actually on the side of the road on the way there). The views over Papakolea Beach from the cliffs were amazing and worth every wind-fought step we had taken. We scampered down to the beach, prepared to relax and have some sandwiches (PB&J!). That’s when we discovered that this isn’t the lounging type of beach. Did I mention the wind earlier? Well in the confined cove of the beach the wind seemed stronger and more constant. Our pb&j’s quickly became a little gritty and sometimes just walking straight was a little tricky. We rested for a bit, took in the views, and then hiked back to the parking lot this time with the wind at our backs and secretly laughing at all of the windswept visitors lugging beach towels and picnic baskets.