Before I ever came to Hawaii, I watched a video of this amazing hike on the Big Island… gorgeous cliffs, dark water tunnels, lush greenery everywhere, and a water slide at the end of the hike. Immediately sold on it, I determined that one day, I would do that hike. But then I came to Hawaii, and though I heard of people going, I never got the opportunity to go.
Then… a few weeks ago, I was at the beach with some new friends from church. A girl said, “Let’s go on an adventure! Where should we go?”
A guy answered, “We could go to White Roads.”
The name vaguely registered in my memory. “Is that the one with the waterslide?”
“LET’S DO IT.”
It was super foggy. Everything was lush and green before it faded into the white fog. It looked like it could have been from a movie, like “Lord of the Rings.” After a while, the trail comes out to a cliff side. I’ve seen pictures of what it looks like on a clear day, but on this day it was all white from the fog. You are literally hiking through the clouds. Still, you can see the almost completely vertical cliff side right below your feet. We climbed over a suspended pipe and then on the other side of that begin the “flumes.” From what I understand, the flumes are tunnels through the mountains to direct the runoff water for irrigation. We walked through ankle to knee deep ice cold water in these dark tunnels for a while. Some of the cement floors were ruptured like from an earthquake, and I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to us if one hit while we were in there. Finally we came out into the light again, to the water slide. You used a rope to climb up the steep slope of the slide. At the top, there was another tunnel, and at the end of that tunnel was another slide–this one shorter and less steep. The tunnel went on from there too, but it looked especially dark and creepy, so I didn’t go too far down it. After going down the short slide a few times, I went back through the tunnel to the scary slide. Here I camped out at the top for a good long time. Those mind games! I know that I am going down at some point, because I refuse to walk down… but how to get my body to agree?! I wanted to go back to small one, but the fog was literally coming through the tunnel. I could no longer see the end of the tunnel, just eerie dark fog coming at me, almost as if it was trying to push me down the slide. It was so foggy, I almost couldn’t see the bottom of the slide. Eventually, I made it down, like I knew I would…
Walking back, I realized how incredibly quiet it was. If you stopped and listened, the silence was deafening. Kind of like when it snows, and the snow just smothers all sound; that heavy, peaceful silence that sort of rings in your ears. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes sense, but if you’ve experienced it, then you know what I’m talking about. It made me think of that verse: “Be still and know that I am God.” Like I could have just sat down and dwelled on the presence of God for a long time.
It felt like we could have been trekking though another country. I started talking about missions with my friend, and as we talked about it, I started getting so excited all over again for this calling on my life! I know that a life in missions will be demanding and hard and terrifying and dangerous at times… but it will be so worth it. I remembered being in the Philippines and playing with/carrying the little kids there, and the indescribable way my heart came alive–the overpowering feeling that I needed to serve and love them with all that I am. Knowing to the core that I could never, never go back to the way my life was before. I would be involved in missions in some way for the rest of my life.
I waited over two years to do this hike, but I couldn’t have asked for a better day or group of people to do it with. I think if I had been able to go during my DTS or whatever, it wouldn’t have been as memorable. “We are enlarged in the waiting . . . the longer we wait, . . . the more joyful our expectancy.” (Romans 8:24-25, The Message). I think the hike was sweeter both because I waited so long for it, and because my heart is in a different place now with God than it was two years ago. He waits for us to come to that sweet stillness in Him, trusting and submissive to whatever he wills for our lives, like the child that stops fussing and finally becomes content.
It was one of those “good for the soul” days, and I went to bed that night feeling like I had lived life well that day. ❤