One month from today, I will spend five days kayak-camping along Napali Coast
. That means, I have 30 days to get in shape.
The trek will involve kayaking 17 miles along the majestic Napali Coast, one of Hawaii's most scenic vistas. We will explore sea caves and dip into waterfalls. We will gawk at the line-up of cliffs that gives this coastline its name--Napali translates to English as "the cliffs." At the start, these cliffs look like a series of dominoes set up one after the other, some father apart than others. As we paddle closer, we will realize the areas "farther apart" are really valleys, some with beaches at their mouths, some not. We will camp for two nights each at Kalalalu and Milolii.
On our non-kayaking days, we will explore these valleys, swim in streams, shower in waterfalls, pick wild fruit, and whenever possible, stop and smell the ginger. I will pack a waterproof camera and take underwater photos of turtles, colorful sunsets and those waterfalls I've mentioned a couple times. Who knows. I may even find a sunrise shell.
I remind myself of all these points--Kauai Visitors Bureau selling points, if you will--because it's been eight years since I "took a break" from paddling to help my husband build our house. Eight years since I held a paddle in my hands. Eight years since I stroked the water again and again and again and again. Eight years since I used my core body and shoulder muscles to move a boat across the water.
I sure hope the wind and waves are favorable on the day we disembark.
Not that I've been a complete slug in those eight years. I started and finished a graduate degree in creative writing. I started a full-time (great) job that takes me around the Hawaiian Islands doing what I love, writing and photographing. And we built that house. (Technically, it's 98.5% complete.)
But most of my physical activity these days involves wresting my wrists on a keyboard and exercising my finger muscles. It involves bending over a tripod to peer in a camera's viewfinder and depress a shutter button again and again and again.
And, then, earlier this year, I had a birthday. That birthday. The big one.
At my age, the body isn't the same. The muscle memory from the half-dozen years of paddling outrigger canoes--crossing even the Ka Iwi Channel from Molokai to Oahu--has left with the other memory--the one that cannot remember what I did with my sunglasses. Oh, yes, they're on top of my head.
I've started my sit-ups and push-ups. Next, I will get back in the water with a paddle in hand. Tomorrow. Yes. Tomorrow. I will. Really.