Friday, January 11, 2008

I. Heart. Kauai.

No doubt about it, Kauai is my favorite island. I think Luke is torn between Kauai and Maui, but if I was to pick only one island to go back to in the future, Kauai wins by a landslide.

As always, we woke up early and disembarked right at 8am (as soon as we heard the announcement over the PA). Unfortunately, we waited FOREVER for the rental shuttle to come pick us up. We kept on looking at our watches because we only had the car rental for that one day so time was of essence! The shuttle finally showed up, drove us to the airport, and we picked up our car. Kauai is the most undeveloped of all the Hawaiian Islands and they run things differently too. Instead of giving us a particular car, the lady just told us to pick whatever car we want from the parking lot. Strange, eh? We had no complaints. We picked a car and went on our way to explore the island!

Our first stop in Kauai was the 'Opaeka'a Falls and Wailua River. The Wailua River is Hawaii's longest navigable river. You can actually get on a riverboat and sail through the river, with the Fern Grotto as the biggest attraction. It didn't sound too exciting to us so instead we got a scenic view of the river, took a few pictures, and crossed it out on our list.

Typical Hawaii, we were surrounded by lush greenery. Here is the 'Opaeka'a Falls.

Wailua River at the Wailua River State Park. Really peaceful and quiet.

Kauai is a very rural island and that's why I like it! It's so unspoiled. I don't consider myself a country girl, but when on vacations, my preference is toward nature rather than big cities. Look, there were cows and chickens everywhere!

We continued on north and passed by many small towns and golf course communities. The drive was a bit wet as it rained off and on, but nonetheless, very scenic. We had an ocean view on the right and mountain view on the left. We slowed down to say hi to this cow and duck along the way.

After what seemed like a long drive along the North Shore, we finally reached the end of the road. At the end of the road was a beach (Ke'e Beach) and an 11-mile long trail (Kalalau Trail - the most scenic trail of Hawaii, along the Na Pali Coast). The trail runs along high sea cliffs and winds up and down across lush valleys. We got out of the car and began our adventure! I should preface by saying that I am by no means a hiker. Heck, I don't like outdoor activities much at all (my legs get itchy if I stay outside too long). Even though we didn't end up hiking all the way, it was still an unforgettable experience. Anyway, lets get started!

Me at the beginning of the trail.

Before the trip, I had planned to hike the first 2 miles to Hanakapiai Beach. After I started, I quickly realized that it wasn't gonna happen. The path was muddy with gigantic slippery rocks. It was really treacherous! I could do a little bit of it, but 2 miles?? No way. In addition, at one point during the hike, it started pouring rain. It was very Jurassic Park-like though, I must say.

Luke had fun taking pictures of my back. :) He was behind me most of the way -- to catch me if I slip.

So our plans quickly changed and I remember reading from my book that after 30 minutes of hiking, you should come to a finer of cliff with the first view of the Na Pali Coast. So our goal became that first view. After we reach it, we would turn around.

Truckin' along... The hike was really fantastic and the view was just phenomenal. Everywhere I looked was gorgeous.

After 45 or so minutes of walking, we finally saw it - the Na Pali Coast. The view was FANTASTIC!! I felt such an accomplishment! It was so exhilarating too. Let me just say that while we were hiking, we saw at least 3 or 4 helicopters flying above us. A lot of people choose the helicopter excursion to see the whole island from above - in 1 or 2 hours. In my opinion, those people were not experiencing the island. Yes, so they probably got a better view of the Na Pali Coast from above, but we were actually in it. So yeah, we wouldn't have done it any other way.

After catching a glimpse of the Na Pali Coast, we started our trip back. I am disappointed at myself that we didn't make the first 2 miles, but hopefully I will be more prepared next time. As you can see from the photos below, the path was really really wet and muddy that day.

Finally, we took a picture of our walking sticks before saying goodbye to the trail. We left the sticks there for the next brave souls.

Our legs were covered in mud from the trail so we decided to clean ourselves up at the Ke'e Beach, right at the beginning of the trail. I got hit by a wave while cleaning and my shorts got soaked!

Our first day in Kauai was actually the latest we stayed out all week on the cruise, so stay tuned for the rest of the day. To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. I dunno, Kauai was really nice because it wasn't so nice. I mean, all the other islands are all manicured for tourists and they simply just don't have "that feel", you know what I mean. No? Good, I don't either, I just know I liked it the most. I guess I just like places with few people, and Kauai fits the bill. Maui is nice because it's half and half. It's built-up and full of people, but it has its nice quiet spots as well. I guess that could be said of most places on this planet, but Hawaii's remoteness makes it unique.

    But this was definitely the outdoorsy part of the trip. Lots of hiking around and exploring. No lazy days on the beach for us. We aren't woodsy people, so this was a very nice change. Plus, we spent time in the neighborhoods and restaurants for some local atmosphere.

    I'm sure Joyce'll get to all that good stuff in the second post. But yeah, we had the most fun on Kauai, that's for sure.

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