Steve and I just spent a heavenly two weeks on two Hawaiian islands to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. The top activity on both of our lists to do while there was hiking – especially on beautiful Kauai island. This is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands, and one of the most scenic. Out of all of the trails we explored, the Kalalau Trail was the one that we thought would be the most challenging, and the most scenic.
This trail is actually one that is famous and most popular with hard-corps hikers because it’s 11 miles ONE WAY and you are only allowed to hike the entire thing if you get a camping permit and camp at the 11 mile marker before making your journey back. And, oh boy, after hiking just a fraction of this trail I see why! We hiked just a little over four miles of the trail, round trip, and were wiped out! You see, this was not just a hiking trail, but a trail that was extremely wet, muddy, full of slick roots and rocks, and uphill for much of the way. There were two streams to cross, one of which was pretty treacherous.
I love hiking, especially with Steve. But my idea of hiking is more leisurely and involves being sure-footed enough to look up and around at the nice scenery. On this hike, however, I looked down the entire time out of fear of falling (which several folks did around us – again, very slippery!). It was a bit scary to be close to a cliffs edge and trying not to slip and fall. So, really, not my ideal hiking conditions. Steve, on the other hand, loved the challenge. He became my cheerleader throughout the hike, assuring me that the view would be worth it. He kept rooting me on and telling me what a good job I was doing. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have made it without his encouragement. He was very patient and very kind.
So the view . . . this beginning part of the trail leads to several lookout points that give you a breathtaking view of the Na Pali coastline (see pic above). Stopping for just a few moments to soak that view in was well worth it. Then, after just over two miles and crossing two streams we ended up on this beach (pic to the left) that was peaceful and so beautiful. We couldn’t swim in it due to the rough current, but we could enjoy the view! Steve and I must have sat there for well over 30 minutes just soaking it in. Again, worth it!
We had to hike our way back out, back through the slick mud (downhill!), cross more streams, and get back to our jeep. On several occasions I wanted to give up before we even got to the beach. Just the thought of having to hike back through the slick mud made me sick to my stomach. I expressed myself to Steve several times and he kept assuring me, “Baby, it’s going to be worth it.” I’m so glad I listened because it was definitely worth it!
I think marriage can be like this hike – messy, treacherous, unsure, slippery, and maybe even something we dread at times. We can all get stuck in the muddy ruts of marriage issues and feel like we will never get to the scenic view. Or we wonder if the view is even worth the effort. I’ve been there in my marriage and I know that feeling of looking down that muddy path wondering if the work I put into it will be worth the end result. Will that scenic view be all that I thought it would be? What if I fall along the way? Can I do this?
Now that I’ve reached the 20-year anniversary of my own marriage I can share with you that YES . . . Yes, the view is amazing, YES you will stumble, but your marriage CAN survive it, and YES you can do this. A long, healthy partnership between two people who love each other is a gift and something that is only attainable through hard work, devotion, and love. Honestly, I don’t know too many things in life that are as precious to us than those that we have to strive for, to work hard for or stretch ourselves for. We value most dear those things that we look back on and appreciate the journey to get there. As my sweet husband said to me after the fact, “It’s not as much about the destination as it is the journey.”
As bumpy as marriage can be, the journey is well worth it. Hike that mountain, my friends, and savor the journey along the way.