March 05, 2008


Our third day in Kaua'i Nate and I took the rental car out for a drive. The air was, well, perfect; with the windows down I got the occasional wiff of an exotic flower as we sped along highway 51. A few miles before Lihue we pulled off on Kipu road where a lovely treat lay hidden among the trees of privately owned land. Kipu Falls {thank you for recommending it friends}!!
Kipu Falls is this pretty little waterfall that also boasts a keen rope swing. Getting to the rope swing requires you cross the upper falls which basically goes something like this. Test the current of the water. Yup, it's pretty fast and could drag you down and take you over the falls effortlessly. Rocks? Slippery! But somehow, using teamwork, we crossed and both took a turn on the swing. It's a pleasant 20ft drop to a nice sized lagoon that feeds the river. In the lagoon you swim back to the rocks, climb up the ladder and go again. That was the plan until I decided that we needed to document this moment on film. Waterproof film.
While Nate was taking a second turn I decided to go back across the upper falls and retrieve my water proof disposable camera. A local directed me to a point in the river that was a little more narrow. He then just looked at me from his safe side and said, "just jump toward this side". Without thinking I jumped, reached for the rocks on the bank, missed, and felt the current take me. Down toward the waterfall and impending doom. At the last moment I grabbed a rock and clung to it like it was something soft and warm. It was neither.
Well, this near death experience kind of freaked me out and I became pretty scared to go back across to the rope swing and Nate. But, I swallowed my paranoia and tried to cross. Each time the current would grab my leg or arm and pull me toward the edge.
Now here's where you need to pay attention because it explains the title of this post. I wedged my right foot between two slippery rocks buried deep under the cold current and brazenly took a step with my left. The current grabbed me, flipped me around and for a brief moment I thought I was a goner. In a mad scramble I reached for anything and finally caught another rock - with the big toe of my left foot. Like pulling off a band aid my toenail came off painful and quick. I howled.
Finally, Nate noticed my struggle and came to help me safely across where we each had another swing all documented on film {currently being developed}.
So, to summarize, Kipu Falls gave me one of my favorite memories in Kaua'i with Nate. And I gave Kipu Falls my toe nail.
*It's important to know that just before we went to Kipu we heard that someone had jumped off the waterfall the week before, and died. So I was extra scared of the waterfall part.

The upper falls of Kipu Falls.

The swing at Kipu Falls. Unauthentically, this photo is not us.


GTi337 said...

Kipu Falls is awesome! we had a blast there. I would say that it was one of the funnest things we did while we were there. No near death experiences or anything cool like you, but still fun.

Grandma B said...

The falls look beautiful. Happy to hear you "survived" your adventure. 'Ouch' for your toe though. Thanks much for the pictures and in my mind, you and Nate ARE swinging on the rope...LOL

CaraDee said...

Holy COW! I don't remember the water being fast at all when we went. I'm so sorry for your near death experience, but glad that it became one of your fondest memories....? I liked how you said that the fall was a pleasant 20 ft. drop. I was terrified for some reason. I'll have to post our launch videos. You know, steal your thunder.

Anonymous said...

I went there! I remember being afraid that I would forget to let go of the rope and I'd swing back into the tree.

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Anonymous said...

Kipu Falls, kipu Falls, Kipu falls. In other words Not worth the risk, not worth the risk definelty not worth the risk!

We were there a month ago and my son had hear death experience. Here is the inventory of the accident:

Right arm badly fractured
Finger on left hand fractured
Head injuries (external only thank god!)
Scrapes on left knee.

Reason: Didn't let go the rope ontime (didn't hear guide's instruction to let go the rope) by the time he came back the rock everybody else was screaming to let go the rope. Poor child got confused and let go the rope.

It felt like my heart stopped beating or I was getting a heart attack.

Like the ER docs and paramedics say Kipu falls is not equal to Disney definetly true.

What an awful place it was, almost like death lurking in and around that pristine water fall!!!!!

I am going to write to the governor and the parks and recreation department of Hawaii to get the rope and ladder off that ominous place!

Jo said...

This is the same "Anonymous" posting after 1 year of my son getting injured at Kipu falls.

The fractured right arm (very close to the shoulder) healed without a cast, this location is hard to put a cast.

Left finger's chipped bone healed in a month.

2 Head injuries were just on scalp, and all the blood flow was external no internal injuries, 18 - 20 staples on each location still has scar.

The kiddo was only 8 1/2 years old in third grade. He had to write with his left hand, worked hard and won merit scholarship. First 3 months were very hard to watch him as he didn't want my help, I felt so helpless. He used to cry while doing homework, he was persistent about his work and never submitted incomplete work. During those 3 months he performed in two children's theatre show.

I can't thank god enough for his blessings to put my son's life back on track.

I still get nightmares from that Kipu falls trip! I can't downplay the dangers at that falls!

Anonymous said...

No offense Anonymous, but you are exactly the type of person who ruins little jewels like Kipu Falls for everyone. Your concern for you son and your fear of this place are valid, but why must you like a gut reaction work to shut it down for everyone. The fact is an 8 year old who is not experienced with rope swings, or Hawaii has no business on one. The problem with our society is our utter lack of accepting responsibility and ease at which we place blame on other people or things. After all...your son was swinging 20 feet above the water and returning to a sheer rock face. Did you ever consider that notion? Here is the deal. Kipu Falls, like many places throughout Hawaii are raw. This is not Disneyland..and some fault lies with tour operators for treating it as such. But the fact remains when you do things such as this in Hawaii you put yourself at risk. And you know what....there are plenty of us who accept that risk. Why should I have my options limited by someone from the mainland who has no business there in the first place. This is precisely why much of the mainland has become the sanitized, legally protected, police state it has. Simply.....let people make their OWN decisions as to what is and what is not acceptable. Perhaps then we can save just a few more of these spots from the Gestapo.