Day 3 – Judd Memorial Trail & Jackass Ginger

Day 3

Destination: Judd Memorial Trail to the Jackass Ginger Pool – I’ve been wanting to go here since before I moved here. I read about it in an incredibly depressing memoir about a woman whose mother chose to ignore the love and support of her family and instead be a junkie on the streets of Honolulu. The basic theme of the book seemed to be – everyone loves Hawaii so I’m going to tell you why I hate it by throwing up my crazy life story on you. Why was this the book I chose to read before moving here? I suppose I wanted to gain some perspective after a guy said to me, “It’s not all rainbows in paradise.”

Focus: Nature, Hiking

Soundtrack for the drive: The Black Keys, Brothers (Can you say slice of rock heaven?)

Quote of the Day: Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. (My Eckhart Tolle quotes calendar gave me quite a good one for the month of November, eh?)

The hidden and deliciously refreshing pool once frequented by Hawaiian royalty sounds so exotic I can’t wait to get there. Finally after more than two months of living here I’m parked on the shoulder of the Nu’uanu Pali Road at the trailhead to the Judd Memorial Trail. It’s just Tobi with me today. Banjo is still resting from our fourteen mile doozie on Tuesday. This is the most poorly marked trail I’ve ever been on and right from the get go I kinda feel lost.

The guidebook says we have to cross a stream. This ‘stream’ has gushing rapids. We’re on the wet side of the island at the onset of hurricane season and this morning has certainly not let us down in the rain department. Taking it slow doesn’t keep me from slipping on the moss covered rocks and I’m in water up to my shins five minutes into the hike.

The good thing about slipping into water and getting rained on right off the bat is you don’t waste any effort trying to stay dry. You just give into it as your current fate. And the beauty of Hawaii is that even though my socks are soaked through and my hair is already dripping, I’m still warm. In November.

Tobi makes it through with much more finesse than I and on the far side of the bank we trek through a bamboo grove and find the first trail marker. From here it’s uphill into a forest of Cook pines. I’m instantly reminded of home, both my temporary home in Oregon and my real home near the Catskills and the Berkshires. This feeling brings me a huge sense of relief. Everything has been going well for me and I love it here, but there’s so much to be said for being surrounded by what’s familiar.

We go a short distance further and look down on what the guidebook says is Jackass Ginger, the ‘not to be missed’ swimming hole popular amongst locals. I can’t believe we’re here already. I had expected, or maybe just hoped for, a serious trek deep into the forest to a hidden spot. I expected to have to work for this. In fact I think to myself, This can’t be right. It’s so anti-climactic. It just looks like the continuation of the stream.

I’m standing on the hill above this pool with the most excellent name, looking at my guidebook, looking at the pool and back to my guidebook, thinking, Damnit I’ve been wanting to come here for months and this is all it is?!!

For a minute I convince myself this isn’t right and we haven’t come upon it yet. Nothing is properly marked. We probably still have a ways to go. But there’s nothing up ahead and I backtrack to the overlook.

So I’m here, right? But I have no idea if I’m actually here. Or I just don’t want to believe it.

I quickly decide it best to give up my ideal of Jackass Ginger. Let it wash away down the river with a shrug and hike further into the inviting pines. I’m not one for jumping into cold mountain streams anyway. I’d certainly be the one to get Leptosperosis. We move on and the trail opens up to be quite lovely.

I snap a few pictures in between rain bursts but before long it’s pouring. And when I say pouring please trust that I mean wind whipping and torrential. Tobi and I would not be any wetter if we were fully submerged under water. Puppy dog is not pleased. Honestly, I’m kind of over it too. Luckily it’s a short hike and we’re back to the bamboo grove, which has become its own version of a river, after only a few minutes. We scramble back across the ‘stream’ and up the hill to the car.

Rather than sit and contemplate what just occurred, I drive straight home, take a hot shower and let it sink in as I lie down for a nap before work.

I’m here. I’m in my life, living it to the fullest. And sometimes that feels like nothing special at all but that doesn’t make it anything less than a miracle. High expectations lead to unnecessary let downs. I vowed to get off the roller coaster of emotions years ago and for the most part I’ve been successful, except for when it comes to being single. Rather than go with the flow I’m still fighting, constantly interrupting and becoming frustrated by dashed expectations.

I don’t want to accept my fate. I don’t want to believe that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I don’t want to admit that life is giving me exactly what I need right now.

Lesson learned: Eckhart Tolle is always right.



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