Saturday, October 15, 2011
Kaua'i is a topographically diverse island filled with gorgeous canyons, lovely beaches and sweeping mountains. You have to experience all of these aspects to really get the complete picture of Kaua'i and one of the most adventurous options is to go mountain tubing. I love mountains and I love being in the water so mountain tubing sounded like a fun, if slightly scary excursion to try. I glimpsed the mountains looming over every place I visited on the island and I figured mountain tubing would be a much easier way to see them up close than hiking them. Kauai Backcountry features the only mountain tubing experience on the gorgeous grounds of the former Lihue Plantation. I not only gained upfront views of Kaua'i's majestic mountains, I witnessed the expertise of the complex irrigation system of tunnels and flumes hand dug over a century ago. That's what I call an adventure.
The tour starts with the tour guide outfitting passengers in headlamps, gloves and tubes. Believe it or not, the trickiest part of the adventure was learning how to feel for the headlamp switch with thick gloves on. You need the lamp in the dark tunnels and I did not want to be floating around in pitch black caverns so I spent extra time perfecting my light switching technique. I also brought my own water shoes which turned out to be a good idea because the area is one of the wettest places in the world and it gets really muddy. Our group jumped into a four-wheel drive jeep and headed through the lush lands to the mountains. The vistas and valleys are spectacular, as you can see from the image above. You really get a sense of connecting with nature. One connection I didn't count on was how frigid the water would be. My booty felt like a Popsicle as I hopped into a ditch on top of the tube and floated until we came to a cave. We were instructed to turn our headlamps on and it was eerie and exciting floating through the dark with glimpses of cave walls and markings left by workers who built the system in 1870, which offered a great historical backdrop. Afterwards, a simple picnic lunch is served in a picturesque valley. It's a three-hour tour that really supplies an engaging view of Kaua'i nature and history.