Monday, May 22, 2017

Jungle Waterslide Hike

I made a wonderful new girlfriend here in Tahiti, her name is Angelique. She teaches English at a local high school. She had been working on her certification so she can get a raise in pay and I had been helping her perfect her English before she flew back to France for the certification test. Well, she passed and life is good! So to celebrate she and her boyfriend Yann wanted to take us on a hike that is a local's favorite. It is about an hour and a half through the jungle to a water slide. On May 7th she and a bunch of friends and family picked us up for the hike and a picnic. Our driver was Albertine, Angelique's best friend since grade school. Also along for the journey was Yann's cousin Taina and her boyfriend Stephan. It was going to be a party!

The hike stared up a dirt road, easy enough.

The road went through creeks by people's houses.

And continued up through several people's properties.

The most lovely property was this ranch/orchard house.

Those are lime trees.

Yann showed us how he turns into a bird of paradise when hiking.

A split leaf philodendron vine climbs a tree.

We stop for a rest at one of the many creek crossings.

The trail is quite well marked with red surveyor flags.

As we continued on, the trial got rockier and the jungle turned more dense.

We saw wild banana trees, but all fruit trees belong to someone, so we did not take any.

This giant leafed plant looks a lot like taro, but they told us it was something else. (damned if I can remember what it was now!)

The trail continued up hill.

Then back down to another crossing (of the same) creek.

Albertine and Angelique led the way.

This jungle creek was just beautiful. But then I was thinking “glad rainy season is over!”

The trail went right over many moss covered trees.

I wore a long sleeve shirt to keep any bugs or mosquitos off of me (and bug spray too!).

The jungle was moving in on the trail and many times we had to duck under branches or vines.

The moss covered rocks reminded me of my childhood days at Camp Rapidan.

The rocks in the creek were getting bigger.

Sometimes we had to climb over trees and vines too. Look how good Mike's back is doing after 3 years since the surgery!!

One of those thick rooted Chestnut trees that make you think you are in a fairy land.

This is a giant patch of bamboo jungle and Mike taps it with his walking stick to hear the hollow sound.

The trees are getting bigger now too.

The trail led through a mass of jungle vines

And through fallen trees.

Some of the vines were incredibly twisted together. I think this must be the kind that Tarzan would swing on!

This vine was headed for the ground when it decided to make a U turn and head back toward the sun.

When we finally made it to the water slide, it was already packed with kids and families.

Mike tests the water to see how cold it is.

Jumping off the rocks was actually more popular than the slide.

There were several freshwater eels hanging out in the rocks past the deep pool.

The waterslide looked fun so I jumped right in.

Ahh yes, so refreshing after that long hike!

Yann about to jump.

Woah!! Nice back flip!

Mike jumps from the high cliff.

Angelique and I enjoying the day!

I pick a not so high spot to jump from.

Kersplush! The bottom is so deep, none of us were ever able to touch the bottom until getting out.

Oh yea, this is fun!

Who is going next? Me or you kid?

Woo Hoo! My turn!

Angelique and Yann

Stephan and Taina

As the day wore on, the kids just kept jumping.

A teenager with long hair flying as he jumps off the highest part of the cliff.

Mike, Yann and Angelique enjoying the water after jumps.

Albertine having a good time!

On the hike back we passed these plants with the big leaves again.

Look how beautiful these leaves are close up.

Rock pile trail marker.

The muddy path shows all the foot prints of those who went home before us.

Mike and I by the creek.

I wish you could hear the sound of the water running. It is so soothing.

We spotted another eel near one of the houses by the road/path.

The spectacular bird of paradise flower.

The most handsome bird of my paradise!

Yes the path was muddy. Thank god rainy season is over or we might be knee deep!

Pine trees growing on the hill side!

Not far from the palm trees also growing on a hillside.

Some big banana trees.

The fruits of its loin.

The house with a view.

The stupid chicken memorial rock.

One seriously tall palm tree. Hope no coconuts fall as we walk by!

The red rimmed leaf is the Teatree tree. These are the sacred leaves that are used for making dance costumes and for protecting your house from the evil spirits.

Not sure if this is a head stone or just a property marker.

A spectacular red flower that turns into the little white ones after the red part dies.

Pink ginger flower.

Another brilliant flower in the bird of paradise family.

So the hike was over, but they had one more surprise in store for us. We went to another local's favorite spot. Looks kind of like a river, but it is a spring.

Mike shakes hands with a local fellow while dipping back into the water.

This beautiful gal moved away to show us how the water just boils right up out of the ground.

But as you can see by Mike's face the water is COLD!

It felt like a natural cold Jacuzzi, giving you a butt massage. And even though I had already changed into my dry clothes, there was no way I was going to miss out on this thrill!!

Even here the kids love to jump off the rocks.

He made quite a splash and did it several times just to hear me squeal when he splashed the cold water on me.

Lots of people relaxing and enjoying the cool fresh water.

There was a second pool with nobody in it behind the other boiling one.

This water just came right out of the side of the rock wall!!

The guy in the pink shirt under the big tree is sitting on the boiling water.

Albertine and Angelique having fun.

There was even a baby eel here too.

Everyone having a good time.

The view of Tahiti-iti (the small side) from the parking lot where we split up and went home. What an awesome day it was!!! Thanks Angelique!!!!