A few years ago I’d never consider myself an “adventurer.” Ever since I became a mom I took on a fear that is hard to explain other than I don’t want to do anything that increases my chance of getting hurt. I believe this a natural instinct some moms get because your kids need you healthy and capable. But, since I’ve had my blog, opportunities have arisen to explore and take risks that end up being such amazing experiences I have begun to crave adventure. Considering the day before our Jungle Valley Zipline Adventure I was surfing in Hanalei Bay, it just seemed right that the next day I would be ziplining, kayaking, and hiking in the lush rainforest valley of Princeville Ranch with my 7 year old!
When we decided on the fun things we’d do on our Kauai press trip, I really encouraged my daughter to try out this excursion with Princeville Ranch Adventures. Having ziplined twice before, I relayed my excitement a tried to convey how thrilling it would be to fly through the air like a bird. I did double check with our host about the difficulty level for my daughter and they insisted it was a family friendly activity and there were young girls on the trip my daughter’s age, and one just a few years younger!
After a safety briefing, we packed our backpacks (they provide one if you don’t have one) with water, snacks, and I enclosed my camera and phone in plastic bags to keep them dry. We hopped aboard a jeep and headed to the ranch, parked and began our hike. The terrain was gentle with both uphill and downhill paths that balanced themselves out. Our two tour guides were helpful, informative, and funny and kept us all in check at every point in the day. There was no rush on the hike, we learned about the flora as we went along and had time to snap photographs as we liked. Our group of 10 consisted of us, father/daughter, another mother/daughter and a family of four all of generally of beginner status and our guides respected our pace and answered all our questions. Our hike lasted about 35 minutes as we approached our kayak launching spot.
Right off the bat, I could tell the rainforest valley we were to kayak in was narrow, it looked easy enough. My daughter had high hopes of paddling her own kayak, but maybe if she were a bit older and taller, instead she rode with me. Life-jackets fitted, we learned the right way to get in without tipping and we were launched into area while we waited for our group to get in the water. On our way there were more narrow spots and some wider. Overall the water level was shallow and enough to stand in if at any point you were to tip and fall in. If you felt you were steering into a bank, it was easy enough to push off with the paddle. Only a few times did I steer us in a circle then parallel into a bank, but because the ride was slow-paced and we all had enough room ahead and behind us, it wasn’t a problem. The ride was peaceful and cool. Because I was paddling, I didn’t get any pictures and my daughter was uneasy about getting the cameras wet to try. Next time I know I’ll purchase either a waterproof phone case or a disposable waterproof camera.
Once off the kayaks, we were back hiking again. This time the terrain was through some creeks and rocks, and was a bit more wet than before. Again, a little up and a little down hills it all evened out. We approached the spectacular Uluhe Fern Ridge that was a green color I’ve never seen in nature. For as far as the eye could see you see Kauai’s gorgeous landscape that is so fresh and alive. Here were were going to harness up and zipline! Once over and once back, 400ft each way, below us we saw crystal clear, pristine waterfalls and the swimming hole we’d later get to enjoy. I sensed my daughter’s slight hesitation, but when she saw the other young girls with their helmets on, she was ready. Such a trooper! Our guides walked us through all the safety procedures of what to hold on to and what NOT to touch, how to relax and sit back in the harness, and how to land on your feet. That smile my daughter had from getting off the plane on the island was there and she was ready.Taking that leap of faith to start the zip is the hardest, but then you are flying through the air and it’s exhilarating. Enjoy the views and before you know it, you’re unclipped and walking over the foot bridge for the return trip. After my joyous ride, I met up with my daughter who was on a high, “my heart is beating fast,” she says but she’s ready to zip right back. Look down if you can and see the waterfalls and the swimming hole, you zip back for a bit going backwards but you turn around as you go, that can be a little unnerving for some. At any point someone in your party is anxious, the start and end spot is in the same spot, so someone can sit and wait and not miss a beat if you can’t make it.Hiking below the zipline you approach the picnic spot, watering hole and waterfall. Inner tubes are available to float around in, and there’s a cliff where you can jump into the waters below. The water was colder than I had expected, but my daughter and the young kids all got in, many of them jumping in from the cliff. Here we enjoyed our build-you-own sandwich, chips, and cookie lunch that really hit the spot. Our midway point, the return trip minus the zip was the same as we came over, hike, kayak, hike.
This forty-year old mom and 7-year old girl really rocked this excursion, it was perfect as far as skill needed and the amount of time spent doing each activity was just enough. We arrived back refreshed not exhausted and my little one never complained once so that’s ideal for families to know! Princeville Ranch Adventures has many more excursions, another with a more zipline, hiking and waterfall tours that are geared for more serene vs. adventure, and even horse-back riding. On your visit to Kauai, you are bound to find an excursion to fit your needs!
Our adventure was hosted as part of our press tour, all opinions and experience my own. Thanks to Mark Downey Lucid Images for snapping a few photos for me.