Off for Hawaii/Chapter 7
AN ADVENTURE ON THE PALI.
We soon learned that everybody who comes to Honolulu visits the Pali, or great precipice located some distance from the city, at the extremity of Nuuanu Valley. This great precipice is over a thousand feet above sea-level, and from its top a beautiful panorama of land and sea is stretched out for miles in all directions.
"We will drive up the valley to-day," announced Oliver, when I was much stronger. "It will test Mark's condition and tell us if he is fit to undertake the journey to the volcano."
"I think I am fit," I smiled. "Still I would like the trip to the Pali first-rate."
A two-seated carriage was procured, driven by a jolly sort of a Kanaka, and we all got in, Oliver on the front sea with the native, and Dan and I behind. It was a perfect day overhead, but even down in the town the wind was blowing freely.
"I'll wager it's blowing a gale up at the top of the mountain," said Dan, as with a crack of the whip the Kanaka started the turnout. "I heard them telling at the hotel what awful trade winds they have through the valley."
"Yes; great wind up dare," put in the native, with a grin. "Wind so strong sometime lif' horse off his feet."
"Great Cæsar! don't scare us before we start!" ejaculated Oliver. "If it will lift up a horse, what will it do to the carriage and with us?"
"Naini very careful driver," returned the Kanaka. "If wind too strong we get behind big trees maybe, or in hollow. Wind don't blow all the time."
"All right, Naini, we'll trust ourselves in your hands," said Dan." Bring us back safe and sound and we'll pay you well."
"Got a good road now, so not much danger," went on the Kanaka. "When had the old road it werry bad, and trip a long, long one. We go dare and back all right."
The distance from Honolulu to the Pali is less than five miles, but as it is a constant climb uphill, we soon found that the journey would take longer than expected. The horses moved at a walk, excepting where they struck a level stretch. In the meantime, as we entered the valley, we found the wind blowing more fresh than ever, until it closely resembled a gale. As the Kanaka had said, it came and went in fitful gusts.
We soon reached the made part of the road. It was along the side of a mountain which was hundreds of feet high to the left, hundreds of feet in depth to the right. The right wall was of stone, put down with a nicety which could not have been excelled.
"Convicts work de roads," explained the Kanaka. "Build miles and miles of drives all around."
"It's a good thing to set them to work," I answered. "Better than keeping them locked up in a hot prison."
Before noon the top of the Pali was gained, and as the end of the journey had to be made on foot I was glad enough to sit down and rest, in the meantime feasting my eyes on the grand view before me. As far as eye could reach the mighty Pacific rolled and glistened in the sunshine, sending long rollers of white shoreward. Behind us were the hills and mountains, rising one after another, like the humps of gigantic camels. Between their tops were valleys filled with a rich tropical growth and a bluish mist that seldom, if ever, lifts.
"It's immense!" murmured Dan. He stood up and expanded his chest. "I'll tell you what, this is like living! It makes a fellow feel like a real man!"
"I can't understand why folks feel so lazy with such hills and mountains around them," was Oliver's comment. "This air always makes me feel like being up and doing. Now just look at that fellow."
He pointed to the driver of the carriage. The Kanaka had tied up his horses to a tree, taken a blanket to a sunny spot, thrown himself down, and was sleeping soundly. We could not help but laugh.
"Asleep as if he hadn't slept for two days," grinned Dan. "And I'll wager he slept all night, too."
"Yes, and a good part of yesterday," added Oliver. "Dr. Barton said he thought the average native could sleep fifteen hours out of twenty-four."
Leaving the Kanaka and his turnout after we had rested, we ate a lunch we had brought along and then ascended to another peak a short distance away.
It was a perilous place, and presently we came to a spot where there was a gully that looked as if it was impossible to cross.
"We can't go any further," I remarked.
"Oh, nonsense; I'm going on!" cried Dan, and stepping back, he attempted to leap the opening.
Dan was a good jumper; indeed, he held an academy medal for the long distance championship, but he did not take into consideration the nature of the ground upon which we stood, and as he was about to leap, his feet slipped on the volcanic rock and he pitched headlong.
"He's gone!" gasped Oliver, as the youth disappeared from view. "He has killed himself!"
Dan was indeed gone, having slid over the edge of the gully and out of sight. For the moment I was too agitated to speak.
Oliver threw himself on his chest and crawled to the edge of the gully, and, seeing this, I followed his example.
"Do you see anything?" I asked presently, as I strained my eyes in several directions. "I can't see a thing."
"No, I don't. He must have gone clear to the bottom!" muttered Oliver soberly.
"What had we best do?"
"I'm sure I don't know."
"Do you think he is—is dead?" I could scarcely utter the words.
"There is no telling, Mark." Oliver thought for a moment. "Am I mistaken, or did I notice a rope in the bottom of the carriage?"
"There was a rope there," I answered. "I'll go back for it."
"No, don't you bother; you are too exhausted," answered Oliver, and away he went, leaving me at the edge of the gully.
"Dan! Dan!" I cried, with all the force I could muster. "Dan, are you alive?"
No answer was returned, although I continued to call. At the end of ten minutes Oliver came back, followed by the Kanaka, who had been told of the mishap.
"Werry nasty hole," said Naini. "One man, Nulo, lose his life dare last year."
"I want to get down on this rope," said Oliver. "You must hold it, for Mark is too weak."
"I will help as much as I can," I said. "But be careful, Oliver, or you may get a tumble too."
"I'll be on my guard."
"Bad stones down dare," put in the Kanaka. "Look out, or stones cut rope and down you go!"
We lowered Oliver over the side of the gully with care and let him down a few inches at a time. Soon he was out of our sight over a bulge of rocks. But as he did not call back we continued to let the rope down until we reached the end.
"No more rope!" shouted the native. "Sixty feet dare," he added, to me.
"I'm twenty or thirty feet from the bottom!" yelled back Oliver. " Tie something on, if you can.""No more rope," said Naini to me, as he drew down his face soberly. "Tie blanket on, maybe."
"Run for the horses' reins," I cried. "I'll hold the rope while you are gone."
The end of the rope was partly secured around a rocky projection, and away bounded the Kanaka on the mission to the carriage. When he returned the faithful fellow was out of breath with running and leaping.
The leather straps were readily adjusted, and we shouted to Oliver to hold hard, as we were going to let down again.
"All right," he cried. "But go slow, for it is dark and uncertain down here."
Soon we reached the ends of the reins. "That's all!" I yelled. "Aren't you at the bottom yet?"
"No; but I'll risk dropping," came the reply, and we heard a thump on the rocks and the line loosened up. Then we waited patiently for him to report.
"He's here!" he cried, after a long pause.
"Yes, I'm alive," came in Dan's voice, feebly. "But I've had the worst tumble of my life."
"Are you seriously hurt?" I questioned.
"My shoulder is bruised, but that is all, excepting that my wind is short."
"Thank God it is no worse!" I murmured fervently. I turned to the Kanaka. "Now to get both of them up again," I said, and at the same time wondered how we would accomplish the deed.