Kauai - 1st Anniversary

3:09 PM



For our first anniversary in April, we decided to take a trip to Hawaii. To the island of Kauai, to be exact. It was a memorable trip on an adventurous island. Our flight was early on the 25th, the Saturday morning before our anniversary. We didn't want to make the drive in the middle of the night, so we drove up Friday night after work. To save some money, we slept in our car at the airport. Our Camry's back seats fold forward to reveal a hole in to the trunk that was just large enough for us to squeeze our bottom halves through. The seats didn't fold flat, so our heads were on a slight incline, but it worked. I slept fine, but Spencer was claustrophobic. It was difficult to move. We did this on our next trip, too, but I suffered that time with him; so the time after that we forked over the dough for a hotel. That'll be something we won't forget though. The days we were cheap enough to sleep in the Camry.
But hey, we spent it where it counts and got an ocean front condo in Kauai. It was beautiful: weathered on the outside, clean and ocean-themed on the inside. Going to our condo wasn't the first stop after our long flight (which had a layover in LAX). After waiting for our luggage in the humid outdoor airport area, we took a shuttle to Thrifty to pick up our rental Chrysler. Next stop: Food. Spencer was starving, and we saw a Panda Express on our way in to the main town. After filling our bellies we shopped at Walmart. We loaded up on groceries and bought hiking poles, snorkel gear and Tabis. And by "loaded up", I mean bought as little and basic foods as possible, as groceries in Hawaii are EXPENSIVE. 
Merely driving around the island was magical. It is so lush and beautiful with a variety of greenery, mountains and waterfalls. Kauai boasts the wettest spot on earth, and sure enough, it was wet our whole trip. Most of the time though, it was only a light mist. You get used to it after a couple days, but you find yourself wearing a swimsuit the whole time. The mist combined with the humidity made it quite wet, yet still being quite warm and comfortable. 

We saw whales and sea turtles form our lanai (porch). There is a more secluded beach beneath the Sea Lodge (we were in G7) where we stayed at. We took the trail down almost as soon as we arrived. We were eager to explore. The first time somehow, once we hit the water, we missed the main trail that veered off to the left, and we went right along the rocky beach. It was a stroke of luck, too, because we encountered a gorgeous waterfall that we had all to ourselves. We walked a little further and decided it looked like a nice spot for snorkeling, so we suited up and experienced the Hawaiian waters. They are definitely not as warm as the Caribbean waters we swam in in the Bahamas for our honeymoon. But it was enjoyable, and we saw an assortment of fish and an eel! I didn't get too close, because it started swimming at me and I decided it was time to move on. Spencer, on the other hand, was determined to film it, and I could see him from where I was at floundering in the water as it came towards him, too.

After spotting turtles from our room at a later day, we ran down the trail again and went right, trying to guesstimate where we had seen them from above. We stopped on the rocks and peered out for a few minutes, sad to seemingly have missed them. Suddenly, Spencer shouts to look down, and RIGHT BELOW US they were chilling in the water. It was a miracle that we had stopped at that exact location, because otherwise we would have never of found them. The pair weren't too people friendly, as they would not hang around you for long before swimming a little ways off. But we managed to get a decent amount of time with them and some good pictures. Until Spencer reached out his hand to touch one, and they decided they'd had enough. Note: Spencer didn't know you're not supposed to touch them, and I managed to shout-mumble through my snorkel not to before he was able.

The second day we reserved for an adventurous hike (Makaleha Hike at the end of Kahuna Rd). Little did we know just how high-adventure it would turn out to be. Our Tabis, which we had picked up at Walmart, proved to be indispensable. Without them, we would not have been able to make this trek. They resemble mittens for your feet, with felt on the bottom, to prevent you from slipping on wet rocks. We did a lot of hiking on wet rocks. On this trail, you cross the "creek" (a river to us New Mexicans) multiple times. The trail is also slick, and the set of poles we shared helped keep us stable as we climbed up and down rocks and sideways-growing trees. The last portion of the trail especially was quite overgrown; it resembled a jungle gym, where we had to weave through the horizontal, tight-clustered trees.


At the end, we saw the second waterfall of the trail, and stopped for pictures. Spencer walked over to me with his GoPro to film a selfie when he slipped on the rock down to the creek. He looked up at me and started laughing, and upon seeing he was okay, I joined in. What was hilarious is that right before this occured, he had mentioned how he would be surprised if he ever slipped in those Tabis. As we were getting ready to head back, Spencer slipped in the SAME EXACT SPOT, and tumbled down in to the water yet again. I just about died, and I was laughing the rest of the trip every time I thought about it. This time, though, Spencer had hit the GoPro up against the rock-face, which broke the casing and made it fall out. We were frantic; he searched in the water all around him but couldn't find it. We conceded we had lost it, that it must've been taken downstream, and we mourned the loss of our pictures. We turned to head back again (after he climbed up) and lo and behold, it had somehow flung onto the bank!! Safe from the water! We were relieved, and on the way to see some other waterfalls (Wailua and Opaeka'a) after the hike, stopped at a shop to buy a new case. (Later Edit: I don't believe we found the waterfall that it describes in the guidebook at the end of the hike, as the one we happened upon was much smaller than pictured and not in the same location.)


The third day, we planned on kayaking. It was raining quite a bit though, so we decided to see some sights first. We drove around the island, visited Queen's Bath and went in a cave.

We picked up a double-person kayak (they were out of singles by the time we got there, but I was more than alright with that) and headed to a less-known river (the Kalihiwai) that we thought was the more scenic of the two we went to.

We parked at a bay and let our kayaks in on the beach, which the rover flowed in to. It looked pretty shaded on the river and the skies were still overcast, so we said we would delay applying sunscreen until the next river. Bad move, because we neglected to do that later, too, and ended up quite burnt. We were the only ones on the first river and got to hear some wild hogs grunting in the brush.

The whole trip we had been relying on the Kauai Guidebook. It had told us that at the end of this river there was a trail to a waterfall. We did not see an obvious trail, but we disembarked and searched around. We found a grown-over path, and we figured it probably would be, so we took it for a ways. It was extremely muddy and went through very tall grass. We figured out, too late, that it was a pig trail and turned around. I was scratched up from the grass and apparently allergic, as I broke out in hives. This island is no joke.


Hanalei River was our next stop. It was much wider and more crowded, but we got to see some wildlife while paddling up the river, including a turtle, ducks, cranes, and a giant spider (which found it's way on Spencer when he made a stop to pick some miniature bananas). It wasn't until the end of the way in that we noticed the little apple bananas. Spencer had me sit on the river beach and feed mosquitoes while he climbed out and used the paddle to reach up and knock some down.

The fourth day we decided to go to the south side of the island. We stopped at Spouting Horn, before visiting Waimea Canyon at the end of the road on the other side of the island (Southwestern). It was phenomenal. They call it the Grand Canyon of Hawaii, and there is no question as to why. At the end of the road is another lookout, but it was too foggy to make out a thing.


We headed back and stopped at Poipu beach on the south shore. A sea turtle had climbed on to the sand to bask in the sun and instantly became a star with everyone crowding around it taking pictures. We made sure to get some, too, before dawning our snorkeling gear for another round. This beach was the most crowded out of the ones we had visited thus far, but because of that, there was that one person breaking the rules and feeding the fish cheerios. Which was great for us, because it drew in TONS of fish of great variety, which we did not have to swim far to find (bonus for my feet). That was the best fish sight-seeing we got.


The fifth day we headed out early to the very end of the road on the Northwestern side of the island for another hike. We got there so early, that it wasn't "open" yet. We figured it was closed for the day, so we went to the beach instead. It was bad weather, so we couldn't go out as far as we would've liked, but we made the most of it. I was extremely burnt from our lack of sunscreen the day before - especially on my feet. Putting on the flippers rubbed the tops of my burnt feet raw. The combining sand exfoliating it did not help. I didn't last as long as Spencer, as the pressure on them ended up too much. He went to the edge of the reef/cliff and experienced that fear you get when you look out at such a thing.


Even though we packed food, we were still hungry, so we decided to visit the Kilauea Lighthouse before going back to our condo to eat. We relaxed and soaked in the views and sounds. The previous few days were so packed, we were exhausted and decided just to hang out and take it easy. This was when Spencer spotted the turtles and we ran down to swim with them.

The following (sixth) day is when we were set to fly out. Our flight wasn't until ~9:30pm, so we had the whole day before we had to say goodbye. The hike we had tried a couple days earlier (Kalalau Trail) that was closed, we found out that was only until I think 9am. Our hiking poles proved useful once again. The trail was extremely slippery due to the mud from all the rain (Kauai had been going through a little bit of a storm before/during our stay). We made it down to the river, where you have the option of crossing to visit the beach or continuing on to a waterfall, but it was moving fast and higher than normal (again, due to rain). We debated crossing, but since we had to get back for our flight anyways, we decided to turn around. We stopped by a grocery store where we bought a smoothie and the manager saw our muddy legs and guessed where we had been. She said it was wise of us not to cross, as someone who used to work with her died crossing there. She said you can easily be trapped on the other side if it rains, too, because all the water comes down through that river in to the ocean.


We couldn't have picked a better view.
This island gave us a beating, but we loved it! The beauty was unreal and totally new to us. It was an adventure we will never forget.

We squeezed in a visit with family during this vacation, too, which was much needed. Our red-eye flight from Lihue to Sacramento left us even more exhausted, but we ran on adrenaline. It was so good to see family.

Sorry it took so long to provide another update, we have been extremely busy. That was the first visit of three in three months to California. Also, I have been procrastinating this post due to the abundance of photos to sort through. We took lots of video footage, too, but I will have to sort through that later. I will try to catch up more soon.




I'm standing at the start to the trail down to the beach by our condo.

At our private waterfall.


Outside our Condo.







Rocky beach - our favorite spot by our place.




















Breaking apart coconut.


Our lanai
Oceanside couch

Our bed with a view
Upstairs loft beds/


The life.

Second Day:

Starting our hike.
Crossing the creek.


First waterfall on hike.
Jungle gym.
Sealodge beach. To ourselves.




Tabis.

Bamboo groves on our hike.




Feet were pruney from hiking in wet tabis (from crossing the creek)

This rock looked fake. It wasn't


Wailua Falls



There are wild chickens everywhere on the island.
Overlook










Eel

Day 3:


Snow cones on top of macadamia nut ice-cream



Letting in at the bay






Got to get some bananas





Pig trail we took
Through the mud and tall grass.








Apple bananas



Spider that was on Spence after he came out of banana trees. Walked on water.




Aftermath of taking pig trail.


Exploring the cave.









Queen's Bath

Day 4:


That stinker bird stole my pineapple. Also, yes, more chickens on the beach.




Yum, cheerios!





Back to our beach to swim.


Spouting horn
Garden

Waimea Canyon


Spencer's eagle eyes spotted this goat.

It was way down there.







So much fog.




Day 5:




Tunnels beach








Swimming with Sea Turtles beneath our condo.










Ouch.






This is where we were standing when we looked down and there the turtles were.



Our favorite spot.











Our rental.




We found the turtles!
 










Day 6:

Muddy after our hike along Napali Coast.













Rainbow watching from our room.
More pics from our hike.



Our favorite food.








Thanks for tuning in!

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