Tahiti Hike: Jardin d’eau Vaipahi
Here we are in Tahiti with access to a car (Thanks Sugi!) and so we decided to do some hikes that would be difficult to do as cruisers with just a dinghy. Unfortunately, as soon as we made that decision it poured rain for several days which made a lot of the approach roads impassable even with a 4x4 and turned the trails into mud slicks.
The first day without rain we chose a hike with a trailhead on the main paved road and which was relatively easy and not too long in case it started pouring again. We complicated matters by accidentally bringing two left hiking/running shoes for me and so I had the additional challenge of doing the hike in Carol’s slightly-oversized-for-me flip flops. Sliding in the mud while my feet slid in the flip flops was actually quite amusing.
The first part of the hike is really a meander through a tended garden which was much more interesting and beautiful than I would have expected. There are a bunch of different kinds of bamboo, water lilies, and some very nicely laid out garden art. And before you even start the trail there is a gorgeous waterfall.
After the meander, the hike ascends through a series of switchbacks until (if you start with the Souther/right most branch of the loop) it reaches a great overlook (see first photo above). You can see Tahiti Iti to the left, the lagoon and reef straight ahead. There are picnic tables and a breeze and I can see hiking to it just for lunch.
The rest of the trail is a wide, mellow, maintained, relatively flat trail that loops a ridge bringing you to the other side of the valley and back around to another muddy switchback down the trailhead. It was relaxing and beautiful and instead of vistas you had the feel of a British Columbia/Washington State rainforest – pine needles soft underfoot, ferns, moss on the trees, the damp smell of rotting vegetation.
We took a peek up the river trail and plan to do that another time with “real shoes”. Seems to be full of mini waterfalls and pools. Except for kiting, as cruisers, our legs don’t get as much exercise as we would like…stay tuned for more hikes.