Hiking Tapu with Ceasar

(Fare, Huahine, Society Islands, French Polynesia)

Through an invitation from Kuhela, we spent today with the boys and a local guy named Ceasar. The aim of the day was to hike to the top of Mouatapu, or as Ceasar simply called it, Tapu. Tapu is the third tallest mountain on Huahine rising up to 429m (1407 feet)above sea level. Not that impressive compared to the rockies of home, but when you start at sea level, it’s a feat all the same.

At least it sure felt like it. We started our climb off innocently enough. An old, overgrown road mildly switchbacked its way up to a cell tower. From there though, was a completely different ball game. Boulder-like rock stacked itself up the heavens, as the trail disappeared skyward under a blanket of old, dry pine needles.

To begin with our hike had a light social air about it. We’d chatter away as we climbed, intermittently stopping to take a picture and slow the sweat from rolling down our faces. Though as the trail continued, with no probable end in sight, our heads dropped and our legs pumped as we all switched over to some involuntary, internal beast mode.

Now I know I’m making it sound harder than it was, but it certainly was no walk in the park. Honestly, I’m just trying to come up with an excuse for the large amount perspiration I had to deal with when we hit the summit. And oh what a summit it was!

As we gathered on the small, flat top clearing the surrounding view was magnificent. The deep blue ocean stretched out to infinity, but more dazzling was the breaking outer reef and vibrant interior lagoon. The varying depths of water displayed a range of blues that would make a colour wheel jealous, and the drifting clouds cast moving shadows across the whole remarkable display.

Well rested (and sun dried) we made our way back down to reality – which I can positively assert, was a significantly quicker trip. We loaded back up in Ceasar’s borrowed truck and took off for an inside look at Ceasar’s island. He showed us his home and shared fresh coconuts with us from his family’s extensive fields beginning in his backyard. We even had time to load up some surfboards and head out to Ceasar’s local surf break. Unfortunately, the swell was not firing.

Back in town we all shared a round of burgers at the Yacht Club and a pat on the back to a day well spent.

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Adam – such a rad guy.

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Smiling and not sweaty. This is obviously the very beginnings of the hike.

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Up we go!

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Where we going? Higher!

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Team breaks.

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Worth every step! Such an incredible view from the top.

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I wasn’t the only one who needed a sit down.

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And here we are heading back down.

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I realize now that this is the only shot I have of Ceasar. The boys got group photos at the top. I’m still waiting to get those.

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This kid near Ceasar’s house had Gregory transfixed. 

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He was obviously in the lumber moving business.

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