Not All Mai Tais and Beaches in Hawaii

May 30, 2014

Okay, so there were actually a lot of beaches – and maaaybe a few Mai Tais towards the end, but the wild side of Hawaii is no joke. We’ve been back from the trip for two weeks now, and I think I’ve just now recovered enough to write this.

I’m not sure if it was the mid-trip island hopping and constant hotel changes, humidity and rugged trails, or the flower shirt laden tourists at the end of each hike reminding us of the hang loose side of the islands, but we found Hawaii to be one of our most challenging location shoots. In one word: epic!


We started our trip in Oahu with the expectation we wouldn’t get too much on the most populated of the islands. But right off the bat, Laniakea Beach set the tone for the trip:


After a short stop at the Ho’omaluhia Botanical gardens, we hopped a flight over to Kauai with promises of a wilderness wonderland. I’m not too sure the other passengers appreciated our unique perfume of mud and sweat, but such is the life.


First thing in the morning on our first day in Kauai we hit up the infamous Kalalau trail.


It was everything it was billed to be. Breathtaking views that belie a rigorous hike with more potential danger than you would expect of a popular hike.

We made the eight-mile trip to Hanakapiai falls and back, and I can tell you I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my life! We went through five liters of water half way through and were seriously dehydrated on the way back.

Upon reaching Ke’e Beach, I ran to the closest beach shower and guzzled from the showerhead. Just recently I read that 121 hikers were stranded on the trail after the Hanakapiai stream flash flooded. Good thing we didn’t hang around that potentially hazardous spot.



Well, at least we have luck on our side.

After a few more beach stops we hit up the beautiful Wailua Falls.


But as is our style, the tourist view just didn’t do it for us. So with a little research, we found a climb that led us down to a spot a bit more our speed.


This is not a hike that I would recommend to just anyone. A good portion of it requires hanging from a rock wall over the river by vines and poorly attached ropes. Carrying 40-pound packs on your back certainly doesn’t help.


Probably the highlight of the trip came from what started out as a bit of a disappointing day, as is often the case. Beset by a looming storm and off and on rain, we were debating whether or not to scrap our evening shoot at Queen’s Bath on the north side of Kauai.

Ford made the call to just check it out anyway. It was a good call.


This was one of those moments that photos don’t really do it justice. At the end of a long day, beat up from a long trip, thinking we were going to get nothing – suddenly the sun pops out from below the storm and provides fireworks. It was exhilarating.

Next, we headed south to the Waimea Canyon area. Last year, we shot at the Grand Canyon and it was beautiful. But, when it comes to just the viewpoints, I think the Waimea Canyon might have it beat.


Between Waipoo falls cascading hundreds of feet into the canyon, and the vibrant reds and greens against the blue sky, it’s hard to top.

Our final hike of the trip was at Hoopii Falls.


Now, these weren’t the best falls I’ve ever shot. We shot many better ones on this trip alone.

But the Hoopii hike earns a mention for being the first hike where I’ve ever been lost in a jungle. Turns out wild boar trails look a lot like people trails – until they don’t and then you turn around and you can’t see a way back.

It took an hour to get back from what was probably just a couple hundred-yard side trip. I knew better and had done my research, but it was still easy to get lost in the wilderness.

Luckily the island is so small and we never lost cell service, so we weren’t too nervous.

That was a fitting end to my favorite, and most challenging trip yet for The C.A.R.E. Channel. So if you ever find yourself headed to Hawaii, Mr. Peacock here says skip the Mai Tai’s and head for the trails.

You may discover something truly inspiring.


Okay, maybe then head to the beach and get a Mai Tai. Cheers!


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