I’ve been swamped

It has seemed that every time that I’ve started to catch up, something else occurs.  We returned from Scandinavia and left again to the mainland after about 3 weeks.  All the time here in Kauai we were so busy that I just didn’t take time to sit down.  Immediately upon returning we got caught up in little details and again didn’t get around to writing.  After opening scads of mail that had accumulated over the 3 weeks we were gone, I opened a letter from the Hawaii federal court telling me I was to report for jury duty (in Honolulu).  I thought that it was mistaken but I called the first week and I wasn’t on the list but I was to call in two weeks…..I still wasn’t supposed to report….finally…..on my Birthday….I called and was told I had a plane reservation  for the next day and I needed to report to the federal circuit court at 8 am and was to bring enough clothing for one week.  And so, at 6:20 Nov 1, Charlie dropped me off at the airport, I was off to Honolulu.  I discovered that federal trials in Hawaii need to have neighbor islanders available to balance the court.  It seems that many of our friends on Kauai have recently gotten court notices (Charlie has to call in right after Thanksgiving), but these are all for County court.

After a long day in a awesomely decorated Koa wood courtroom, I won the lottery.  Or maybe it was the booby prize.   I was one of 9 jurors selected for a civil suit involving a helicopter crash in 2011 on Molokai.  I was further informed that I should expect a 3 week trial, but would be able to go home on the weekends.  Charlie had made sure (the good planner that he is) that I was prepared with enough clothes, so I was prepared to stay until that Friday.  They put me and another woman from Kona in the Ala Moana hotel in Waikiki (we were the only neighbor islanders) and would pay us $40 per day and a per diem.  They would make all hotel and plane reservations for us.

The trial was very detailed and complicated legally, the land owner claimed that debris was left on his property and was suing the helicopter company for damages.  So it was tedious and it was stressful to concentrate on all the details, trying to remain neutral and fair.  Each evening my new friend and I would check out different restaurants as well as the huge Ala Moana Shopping center.  That part was a nice break from Kauai shopping.  The top of our hotel had magical views of Honolulu at sunset and at night.

We finally finished deliberation on Wednesday morning of the third week. Both parties were disappointed in the results, so we figured that we were fair in our conclusions.  I got a flight back to Kauai around 5 PM but my friend from the Big Island couldn’t get out until the next morning.  I felt badly for her but I was still pretty darned happy to get home.

In the meantime, we had a visitor from Madison, Melanie, whose dad, Jim Walker is a very good friend of ours.  I had tried to use her visit to get out of serving on the jury, and I was also scheduled to work the polls for the election, but neither excuse worked, I was a lucky winner….chosen 9 out of 50.  I did get to spend time with her on the days the jury was off and we took the opportunity to hike both the Mahulepu and Kalalau Trails.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the end of the Mahulepu trail, we observed a fire helicopter dipping a bucket into the ocean and dropping it up on a ridge towards Kipu Kai, we didn’t see smoke but he made numerous trips.img_0421

The famous Kalalau trail, on the north shore of Kauai, is an ancient Hawaiian route, an 11 mile strenuous hike on the Napali coast to the Kalalau valley.  Tour helicopters fly up and down the Napali coast letting visitors enjoy the trail without the exertion but we took the harder route.  Mel and I hiked the first 2 miles of the main trail whereupon we branched off, after crossing the Hanakapi’ai stream, and hiked up to Hanakapi’ai Falls.  This was an even more strenuous trail across slippery rocks and fording the stream several times.  Both of us emerged, after 6 hours, covered in mud and soaking wet.  Numerous signs along the way warn of dangerous surf and flash floods on the stream.  It had rained overnight so all the trails were muddy and slippery, and both of us slipped and fell several times, (me more than Mel).  The waterfall was well worth the hike and was made more precious because of the effort involved in reaching it.

We both were exhausted by the time we emerged at Ke’e Beach and were happy to get more water and indulge in a tropical smoothie at the fruit stand on the way back to Koloa.  We both were glad that we had conquered, at least part, of the Kalalau trail and also experienced the waterfall.

After our hike, the next morning dawned early, with my hobbling onto the airplane to fly back to the trial.  Ibuprofen was welcome, since each time the jury took a break, it was necessary to suppress the groans when I stood up.

It was fun to share our island with a young person, and she appeared to have a good time. She was an easy guest for she was quite independent and toured on her own quite a bit.  I recovered from the sore muscles and scratches from our hike by the time the trial was over.

We did have one interesting event this past week, a shark became entangled in a fishing net and perished over by the Grand Hyatt, we got the call and went down to take a look.  It was approximately 5 feet long, rather pretty, we weren’t sure what kind it was, one guess was Galapagos and another, grey reef shark.  So sad that nets could be left out to entangle sealife.hyatt-013

Luckily, the seals were not too active during my absence and I wasn’t missed too much.  Tree, Shannon, and Lynn were all back from summer on the mainland which helped on seal coverage too.

Charlie is now on a jury pool list next week, however, his is a county list and he wouldn’t have to leave the island.

With Mel here, we had the opportunity to indulge in some of the nicer restaurants on Kauai.  She likes sushi and fish so we had multiple excursions to dine.  We will both have to go on diets after her visit.

She flew over to Maui to watch the UW Badgers play basketball at a tournament, we considered going too, but I was ready to stay at home so we passed on the opportunity.

 

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