Thirteen Crossings

“When I imagined my honeymoon, I never dreamed I’d be peeing outside,” I thought to myself as I made sure my husband of three days couldn’t see me behind the rock I deemed a restroom.

Emerging from my hiding spot, I had to laugh at myself. There I was in little boy shoes that velcroed shut, gym shorts and a hat that was too big for me and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

We pulled off the side of a road in Maui to take some photos the view of the ocean from the road. A local pulled up and asked if we were going hiking. With “adventuring” being the only thing on our to-do list, we said yes.

“Well go up the road about half a mile, pull off to the right and there’s a trail called Thirteen Crossings. It’s not in that book you’re carrying.”

And off he drove.

We threw our camera in the rental car (Camaro, not Mustang), and drove to the spot he mentioned and found a path just big enough to go through single file.

The thing about trails in Hawaii is that none of them are trails in the sense that I, a beginner outdoorswoman, call trails. Here in North Carolina, the trails I visit are wide, well-worn and often state maintained.

The trails in Hawaii are paths through the woods with jungly overgrowth waiting to claim its next victim. The terrain is unforgiving, splashing mud over your legs if it’s raining and making innocent rocks slippery death traps.

Within five minutes of entering the jungle, the path ended at a stream with smooth rocks going across. Looking across the water, Kevin spotted a similar path on the other side.

“Maybe this is why it’s called Thirteen Crossings?”

Two miles later, one major fall off a rock, and what seemed like fifty crossings, we reached a fork in the path. We could hear water from both directions, so we chose to go right thinking we could circle back and go left if we were wrong.

A few more minutes (and the aforementioned restroom rock visit), we stumbled upon the first waterfall of our trip. Falling from about 20 feet above us into a small pool, the mountain water was cold and clear. I had never seen anything like it.

We quickly splashed into the water at the bottom of the falls and Kevin pointed out freshwater prawns scurrying away from the movement. That water was the coldest, most crisp water I’d ever encountered. Now I know why bottled water companies tend to be named after mountains or springs.

Above the falls, something orange caught my eye. It was a rope…and it led to the two other waterfalls that funneled down the mountain to the one we were admiring. Suddenly, we were in the middle of another Hawaii Hiking 101 lesson: proceed at your own risk.

Fortune favors the bold, especially in Hawaii. I can’t explain the amazing views from the tippy top waterfall at Thirteen Crossings because I was not about to climb up mud, vines and orange rope (that who knows put there) to climb to the top of the three waterfalls with no cell service and only one way out. A girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere, you know?

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