There’s an old Girl Scout song that comes to me every time I show up at one of my favorite hiking and swimming spots.
“I know a place where no one ever goes. There’s peace and quiet, beauty and repose. It’s hidden in a valley, beside a mountain stream. And lying there beside the stream, I find that I can dream. Only of things of beauty to the eye, snow covered mountains, reaching to the sky …”
I have quite a few of these spots already here, and I’ve had them wherever I lived. When I was in NH, we had a million acres, so wandering off with the dogs was easy, and even places for them to swim in the swamps were fine. I had a few hidey holes in Vermont and Missouri, as well, places where I could take a million off leash dogs and roam in the woods, let them swim in the creeks and lakes. I’d often hunt for wild mushrooms, something I can’t yet do here because I live on the dry side of the island — very few wild mushrooms when the rain water disappears so quickly in the porous lava.
One of my friends here said that I seek out these hidden spots because I don’t have a place to live of my own, no real privacy. That might be sort of true, but then I remembered that I had these hidden spots every place that I have lived, even when I did have a house of my own with plenty of privacy. Sometimes when things weren’t okay at home, I loved having spots to retreat to on my own. I’ve always gone out hiking with the dogs, though, often alone.
My favorite spots here in Hawaii involve hiking over that black old lava to reach the ocean, and tide pools where the waves crash further off-shore, so that it’s safer for both the dogs and I to swim. Often, I don’t even swim, just get in a tide pool and let mother nature make me feel all better. I grew up in the desert, so being in water is still novel and amazing to me. I live on water catchment and I don’t have a bathtub, but every time I start to feel sorry for myself because I can’t take a bath, I remember that I live by the ocean now. The waters are warm and the waves are amazing, way better than a Whirlpool tub. I used to be able to spend hours in a tub, reading until the water got cold, and if I could get away with it, draining and refilling the tub, and more reading.
One of my favorite spots is down Road to the Sea, and involves driving six miles down a steep and unmaintained dirt road. I went down there by myself the other day with four dogs. “You’re going by yourself?!” Yeah. What could go wrong, really? Lots of gas in the car, brought food for me and the dogs, beer, lots of fresh water in the cooler. It was an amazing day. It began with a scary little incident, though. I had my phone in my back pocket, the dogs got the excited zoomies and knocked it right off a cliff. Oops. So that’s what went wrong, and in the big scheme, just expensive, not dangerous. My instinct to try to catch the phone stopped right in the tracks — go, me. I was old school the rest of the day, just me and my camera, and a book. It’s a good thing I keep those old-fashioned things in my car, just in case.
Here’s a video from that spot the other day, right where the phone went off the cliff. It was really windy out there and the ocean was churning. The girls and I decided not to get into the water much at all. The waves were too strong. This is what it’s like on a quieter, less choppy day.