My m-i-l asked if I wanted to go to Hawaii a few months ago. I didn't really answer since it seemed unlikely. Then Mr N volunteered to take off work and hang with the kids so I could go. Boy howdy! What a great husband! Especially since he's never been to Hawaii either. We bought our tickets, but it still seemed surreal. Sandy and I flew out to Kauai via San Fran and arrived in the early afternoon on Oct 26. The second we stepped off the plane, we looked at each other and went, "Woah." The humidity had just smacked us.
I quickly realized the map provided by the car rental company was seriously lacking, so we headed to one of the few places actually listed on the map: Wal-Mart. The parking lot of said establishment was hoppin'. Apparently it's the place to be. We saw our first wild chickens of Hawaii:
Chickens are everywhere on Kauai, I am not even kidding. We were in the middle of nowhere hiking up a canyon and I heard a rooster crowing.
Tiffany arrived later that night, which is when I discovered that 1) Kauai goes to bed very early and 2) it does not believe in street lights. I managed to get lost three times on the way back to the resort. w00t!
The next day we headed to the beach!
This is Shipwreck Beach, very near to our resort. Soooo beautiful. It was pretty windy that day, so we just stood happily in the very warm water.
Put me in front of a camera, I do weird things.
Here is a picture of our lovely resort. This shot is taken from our patio. It didn't have an ocean view (if you stood on your tippy toes you could see the ocean through some trees) but it was a beautiful view nonetheless.
Sandy & Tiffany took a snorkeling boat tour out to the southern side of Na Pali, but I didn't go because I get seasick when I snorkel. (In fact, it was so bouncy out there that Sandy got sick, so then I was doubly glad I didn't go.) Besides, I had managed to burn that first day at the beach, so I laid around and recovered.
The next day we went up to Waimea Canyon. I think you can see why it is called The Grand Canyon of Hawaii. It was much larger than I was expecting. Probably because the Grand Canyon of the East, in Pennsylvania, is soooo underwhelming. Anyway, this was very cool. And it was also cooler, as in 10 degrees cooler. At first that felt really chilly, but once we started hiking, I was glad it was only in the 60s. It was still very humid though.
We hiked a trail called, imaginatively enough, Canyon Trail. It is between MPs 13 & 14 on the Waimea Canyon road. It was 4.8 miles round trip and it felt great to get out and stretch my legs, especially after laying around the whole morning the day before. The first 20 minutes were unpleasant, as it began to rain just as we started the hike. But then the rain pretty much stopped. I see now why western Oregon is called a temperate rain forest, because while walking through the drizzle I felt like I was in a warmer version of Oregon. Just like Oregon, Hawaii needs twenty-one names for rain.
Remember - camera + me = weird faces/poses.
Suddenly the forest opened up and we were at the peak of a very tall mountain, with precious little to prevent us from catapulting off the side. Those of us who are scared of heights (no names...but it wasn't me...or Sandy) experienced some discomfort during this part of the hike. The view was so amazing.
Those formations behind me are natural. They're pretty much inaccessible to mankind.
That night we went to a luau at the Kilohana Plantation, with an interesting dance-theater performance afterward. My favorite part was definitely the awesome fire dance. Also the kalua pork was divine! We were too cheap to buy the official pic though, so only a couple of random photos taken by Sandy commemorate the event. Unfortunately, both of them turned out lousy.
The next day (Saturday) we went ziplining. In case you are wondering it was AWESOME. We all had a blast, even Tiffany who was a little nervous starting out. There were seven ziplines, which led us gradually down a valley to a small river where we had a late lunch. It rained kind of hard for about five minutes when we first arrived, but then it cleared up and the weather was just fine for the rest of the tour.
This is when we learned that a gecko can be used as an earring. Yeah, that thing is alive.
What can I say? Waiting for other people to zipline could get a little boring.
Luckily for my dear blog readers, someone volunteered to get a shot of us in our fab harnesses and helmets. The helmets were NOT to prevent injury should we fall to the valley floor. They were to protect our heads from banging into the cables, which I think all of us did at least once.
Sandy looking sassy and happy!
Sunday we went to church at the Kalaheo Ward, which was about thirty minutes away (even though it's only like 16 miles) (25 mph zones are de rigeur on Kauai. bleh) Apparently Hawaiians all say, "Aloha," when they get to the pulpit, and everyone Alohas them back. I thought that was just a weird quirk of people visiting the mainland. Ha ha Also church there seemed a lot more casual. Perhaps it is the awesome island vibe. I'm not sure. All I know is, the bulletin read like a chatty newsletter, the main speaker wore sunglasses on top of his head the whole meeting and freely admitted that he wrote his talk the night before. The other thing I know is church was the coldest place on the island. We were all freezing.
The rest of the day we enjoyed PERFECT weather and we lounged by the pool. Tiffany walked along the coast for a while.
Monday was our last full day, so we spent a fair amount of it at the beach. First we stopped by Spouting Horn, where we bought most of our souvenirs. Especially Sandy, who might have doubled her jewelry collection in forty minutes. Ha ha Tiffany rented a boogie board and rocked it! That's her in the picture above, coming in perfectly on a wave at Brennecke Beach. Sandy stuck to body surfing. The water knocked her around a little bit, but they both had a blast. I could feel myself burning, so I went home after a couple of hours to shower & reapply sunscreen.
Tuesday before our flights we went to Wailua Falls, which as you can see is very beautiful. Tuesday also brought some bad news - Sandy's & my flight was seriously delayed, which would have made us miss our connection. We ended up having to fly to LA on the red eye. SOOO unpleasant. Especially since I slept not a wink. I got about an hour & a half of (interrupted by a screaming child) sleep in the airport between flights. Ugh. We got in to PDX at 9:30 am and were home before 11. It was great to see my family again! I really missed them in Hawaii. Mr N had put up banners and balloons to welcome us, so it was a party! The kids ran around like headless chickens.
Thanks to Sandy and Tiffany! It was such an awesome vacation and I had a lot of fun!