The most interesting question I’ve ever been asked on vacation: "Hey, did you guys smell anything dead back there?"
This was on the lovely Hawaiian island of Kauai. And the answer was, fortunately, no.
The husband, the kid and I were returning down a side trail to the Kalalau Trail on the island’s north coast when we encountered a fast-moving group of uniformed men heading in the other direction. That was when one of them asked us about smelling dead things.
We said no and the husband tried to ask about it. (He’s a reporter. He can’t help it.) But the guys weren’t talking. They were walking – fast.
The surprises weren’t over. A few hundreds yards farther down the trail we rounded a curve and found, in a clearing just a few feet from us, a smallish, black helicopter. We guessed that’s what the uniformed guys had arrived in.
We combed the newspapers and news websites for a week, but we never found out what it was all about. Maybe that’s for the best. Anyway, it added extra interest to an already lively day.
I’m not in the least suggesting that this is a common occurence on the Kalalau Trail, which otherwise offers a tranquil and uplifting experience. In fact it may be the most awesome hike in the known universe that is accessible to people whose physical condition is a bit closer to ambulatory than to marathon champion. (Not that we did the whole 11 miles.)
Here’s a view from the trail: