It was supposed to be a leisurely last day hike through Kaua’i’s Alakai Swamp Trail ontop to the highest rain forest in the world to conclude our stay in Kaua’i. The day eventually turned into an unforgettable 10 mile testament to our love affair with the island and its hidden natural pleasures, resulting in sights and experiences that will haunt us for years to come (and beckon us to return). The muddy and slippery red dirt trail winding across the most northern of Kaua’i’s interior gave way to a rollercoaster stairway and broken piano key boardwalk that meandered through a primordial landscape best imagined as a wooden thoroughfare through Degobah, Yoda’s homeworld in The Empire Strikes Back.

Hours later, we eventually emerged into a realm of moss, ferns, near-microscopic insects, angelic avian melodies and flowers burning bright red against an undulating misty white backdrop, the landscape so wet, Alakai is incorrectly identified as a swamp (it’s technically a rain forest). During the arduous journey we cried a little, shivered aplenty, slipped here and there, but ultimately left the trail in awe of the world’s diversity and wonders, both great and small, humbled knowing places of imagination sometimes do exist. Alakai was the simply the greatest trail I’ve had the pleasure of journeying across, for its winding path, although physically moderately strenuous, was almost alien in vision and captivating beyond description. If you ever journey to Kaua’i, I cannot recommend a greater destination to conclude your visit. And if you find Master Yoda, tell him I’m still working on my one arm handstands.

*Technically, Alakai is not the wettest place on Earth, but is only a few miles away from the official designation, Mt. Waialeale. But trust me, it must be a close runner-up.