Afterthoughts: Getting Lost
Just because we live on an island doesn’t mean we’ll ever run out of new things to discover.
Five of us piled into a tan 1998 Camry—“cashmere beige,” according to my brother-in-law, the car’s owner—on a sweltering spring day, our sunscreen-slathered arms sticking to one another in the backseat, with the AC on blast. My sister, riding shotgun, swiveled in her seat and handed us our “plane tickets” as we merged onto the H-1.
Oceanic Flight 815, Sydney to Los Angeles. Departure date: Sept. 22, 2004. We were passengers on the soon-to-crash plane in the pilot episode of Lost. It’s been 15 years since Lost premiered on ABC and it remains, in my opinion, the best show ever filmed in Hawai‘i. Regardless of the ending.
That’s why when relatives and friends arrived for my sister’s wedding back in March, she took them on a circle-island tour, stocked with Dharma Initiative buttons, Dharma water bottles, Dharma “fish biscuits” and even a Dharma jumpsuit, along with the Lost soundtrack. Potential stops included where most of the beach scenes were filmed, Camp Erdman, Turtle Bay, Kualoa Ranch, Valley of the Temples and more. I’d been to some (for non-Lost-related reasons), but going back with people seeing them for the first time made me realize how much I take for granted.
When I go to the beach, which isn’t often, I usually just lie on the sand and read, but that day, we chased sand crabs, petted friendly dogs, pretended we were plane crash survivors and stared out at the impossibly blue waters off Mokulē‘ia. We ate lunch at Laniākea, which wasn’t part of the plan, and spent more time there with the turtles than we did at Camp Erdman, one of the more recognizable filming locations.
Next, we set off to find Turtle Bay’s famous banyan tree, which was also in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Online directions to it are vague at best, so we spent the better part of an hour wandering the property. We were about to give up when we decided to follow some hoof prints in the sand behind the horse stables, only to be greeted by a monk seal bounding up the beach. I’d never seen a monk seal up close in the wild, but this blubbery buddy stuck his snout in the sand just a few feet away from us.
Once our new friend settled in to nap, we continued our journey into the forest and found a map to the “Lost Loop,” complete with majestic banyan tree. We did our thing, pretended to hide from polar bears and marveled at its many roots. As we headed back, my brother-in-law spotted something—the Smoke Monster, perhaps?—but it turned out to be a “magic bus,” a broken down, rusty hull overgrown with trees encircled by a bike path. We veered off the path to explore this unexpected find, despite the setting sun and mosquitoes. Back at the beach a large turtle had also come out to say hello.
Driving back along the Windward Side, our group didn’t seem to mind that we missed the window to visit Valley of the Temples, because the golden mist over the mountains as we approached Kahana Bay was too captivating for us not to pull over multiple times and take photos. One of our friends from New York couldn’t stop swearing and screaming about how beautiful everything was. “Do you not care? Or are you just used to it?”
We’re used to it, I told her. But that doesn’t make it any less special. Sometimes we just need to be reminded how lucky we are we live Hawai‘i. Whether that means taking a day to act like a tourist, spending time on the opposite side of the island or revisiting somewhere you haven’t been in years, we should all make a point to get out and explore our home and fall in love with it all over again.