The planning was pretty simple: a conversation between me, Eric, and our local contacts Debora and Kimi. We had a map, a mango, a dog, and a mission. Nuku Hiva has some spectacular hiking trails, and Kimi would take us to them.
Kimi is a life-of-the-party kind of guy, with a zany photo collection, his dog by his side, and a truck robust enough to explore this island. He knows these roads by heart.
And the roads can be steep and twisty.
Four of us — Kimi, Kimi’s dog, Eric, and me — piled into the truck early in the morning. I think the dog could have run around the island as fast as the truck could drive.
We drove to the highlands, but the weather had a different plan for us. Up high on the mountain, heading towards the hiking trail, it became clear that it was not going to become clear. Despite Kimi’s songs to the weather gods, visibility was near zero.
This gave the forest an enchanted look.
We saw many of the island’s semi-wild horses between the pine trees, and on those back roads we aborted our hiking plan in favour of a road trip.
We spent hours climbing hills, crossing valleys, and cruising the small coastal road. The topographic lines we had traced on the map materialized in front of us.
No wonder these islands have a reputation for beauty and intrigue.
It was dark by the time we got home, glad for Kimi’s company and with a better sense of this island’s twists and turns.