The Labyrinth and the Tsunami Shack

“I heard people got hurt there .”

“What do you mean hurt? Like stabbed or shot?” I asked, pressing my mom for more details.
She hesitated before looking around and whispering, (even though we were alone in her house) “I heard a lady got raped there. A Hoale lady.” She stressed Haole, looking a me significantly.
Later I asked my sister her impression of it.
“It was scary!” she said shuddering.
“Define scary.”
“Well we were back there with the wedding photographer and his wife for my trash your dress shoot, and it was only us on the beach and some homeless wildman sitting on a rock. Staring at us and sharpening his knives. I would never go there without a large group of people.”

I couldn’t summon a large group. I couldn’t even summon a single person. The problem you run into as a stay at home mom is that everyone else works. The other stay at home moms are busy too, planners full of penciled in appointments and chores. Orchestrating gives me a headache, I apologize of course for not calling YOU but the fact is after Vera I gave up. I had gotten her to meet us at Makauwahi Cave, planning that when we were done spelunking and seeing the giant tortoises at the adjacent Lida’s Field of Dreams I could say,“Hey lets check out the coast a bit farther down.” Unfortunately Vera was on a diet involving paleo food and massive water consumption. She was unable to go without a restroom trip for more than 30 min. I spent the rest of the day with her wondering what the point of a healthy diet was if it kept you from hiking, and I resolved to go alone.


After a Google and Bing search of Maha`ulepu that came up with no reports of murderous rapists, I went ahead very slowly. We could have gone faster but the shocks on my car are pretty much shot and I didn’t want to bust an axle. The road alternates between smoothly ribbed and absolutely atrocious. The only time I’ve seen a non four-wheel drive was some tourists we passed on the way out. I had dried seaweed hanging out of my mouth when they flagged me down. “Is there another road into Lihue?!” The man exclaimed, “We needed groceries but this is terrible!” I had to suspend disbelief over the fact that of course they knew there was another road, hadn’t they come from the airport? Even in the dark you would notice a road riddled with little cliffs plunging into cavernous potholes. I gobbled the seaweed and swallowed it, “Oh my goodness of course there is! Just head that-away and there will be a right turn.” What I really meant to say was, “Don’t you have GPS on your phone?” I had just returned from vacation and we hadn’t done so much as sneeze without having the GPS tell us where our elbow was first. Maybe they are the spontaneous and wildly adventurous tourist type I thought as they drove away and turned left instead of right, heading down an even worse road.

The dirt road ends at a rope swing. Gids immediately made for it, swinging and brandishing a stick sword declaring himself to be the dread pirate Robbins. Rossi alternated between running up and down a sand dune laughing at her athletic prowess and watching the windsurfers with rapt admiration. I felt assured of our safety, noting the large amount of vehicles, sunbathing tourists, passing hikers, and local families fishing.image_share1000753256405070

Where the dirt road ends the trail begins, or continues if you started the Maha`ulepu Heritage trail at the Hyatt. Here the coast is riddled with things that will eventually become blowholes. The kids love it. Getting close, leaning over the pockmarked sandstone and then running away screaming when it hisses and blows salty air in their faces.

The first time we passed the Labyrinth we had left the trail to walk along the shore. From that vantage point I took it for some bizarre dancing circle, and imagined a bunch of crazies from the valley (the ladies who believe Kaua’i is the lost continent of Lemuria) dancing around it during full moons. (While I wont get into Lemuria being real or not, it is without doubt, geographically impossible for it to be the island of Kaua’i.)image_share1000753171733070

We gave it a wide berth and explored the mini beach fronting it. I was surprised to find a large amount of seashells given how many people walked past it, Gids and Rossi were more interested in hiding under sandstone outcroppings behind curtains of vines.img_20170101_104126_068

Continuing on we hit Hāʻula . Hāʻula is wild. No matter how many tourists pass by in khakis and pink shirts that match their sunburns, it still feels like a wild desolate place. The fine grained sand gives way to sandstone being battered by the surf and the wind flies off the sea. A primal force of nature reminding you of how small and insignificant you really are, that no matter how much you travel and see, you will never be as well traveled as it is.img_20170101_102744_042

Well the wind and the shack. The shack is made of driftwood and at first I took it for the hut of the Wildman that my sister mentioned. When a few tourists were on the beach we approached it slowly looking for signs of habitation. There wasn’t any. In fact the closer we got, the more I realized it was a community cleanup project of sorts. It wasn’t just driftwood, it was buoys and crates, fishing line and barnacle encrusted rope. A lot of it looked to be Tsunami rubbish. (In 2011 Japan was hit by a Tsunami that devastated their coast, now massive amounts of their belongings are adrift at sea.)Whatever washes up on the beach, makes its way to shack, even a large rusted barrel of oil that the kids pretended was a pirate ship.img_20170101_102936_736Unlike its counterpart a few hundred feet to the right I didn’t find shells on Hāʻula. Instead the high tide line was marked with colorful bits of tiny plastic.img_20170101_102019_129

I watched sandpipers run in and out of the water, Gids played captain of the oil barrel and Rossi found a sandstone tide pool to do monk seal impersonations in. The road closes at 6 so we started back around 4:30, staying on the trail this time we passed the labyrinth again and I noticed a sign by it reading.image_share1000753017254070

And with that it was transformed from a moonlit dancing circle to a testament of love. An aspiration of hope, that I could be someone like her. A lady who sat by the sea, gazing at the horizon before she went back to changing diapers and making peanut butter and jelly sandwich’s. A woman who inspired this beautiful testament to the fact she existed.

Thankyou! So very much for taking the time to read this!!! Today is my one year blogging anniversary and I’m so grateful for all the help, support, and encouragement I’ve received from YOU my wonderful readers. 😀  I hope you can make it to the Labyrinth if you find yourself on Kaua’i. It’s an especially beautiful hike during the rainy season when the wildflowers bloom.img_20170101_102240_644

* I didn’t include my Google searches in the blog but I spent a good hour or so online researching, transfixed by the story of Bob, his wife Sherita, and their family. They are actually from the mainland but were married at Maha`ulepu . The labyrinth is as of now just one of three he has built in her memory.

6 thoughts on “The Labyrinth and the Tsunami Shack

  1. Great story telling Em! I love the photos of the kids involved in the adventure. That pirate silhouette is perfect kid fantasy adventure. Good job. Keep up the great work!


  2. I hope you realize that the labyrinth is a Haole desecration of a traditional peoples wilderness. As well as a violation of laws governing our wilderness areas.
    It is activities such as this that make locals call Caucasian tourists Haoles. Ha ole….without any Breath of Life, or Consciousness. Lack of awareness of the spirit and customs of a new place is what makes Tourists unwelcome, rather than the visitors to whom we offer hospitality.

    A labyrinth is a sweet idea, and I am sure the man loved his wife, but really it is just litter in a public place. What if everyone felt the right to make free with our commons?
    Ask before you take.

    Sincere aloha for your awakening.


    1. Thankyou for your comment! Lol I wont disagree with you, especially if your’re the Virginia Beck I’m thinking of. Last time I disagreed with you, you told me the birth control method I’d been using for 5 years wasn’t the best. I didn’t listen and ended up pregnant with the wonderful Gideon Marshall a month later.
      As far as the labyrinth I hadn’t looked at it that way before, since it is on gated property I thought they had to get approval from the landowner. I appreciate your point of view.


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