Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Waimea Canyon, Kokee State Park, Day 3 Kauai

Saturday, March 19, third day on Kauai.

We started by meeting my online friend, Kumi and her husband for breakfast in real life! Then we drove up to Waimea Canyon, the Kalalau Overlook and several other overlooks. We had lunch at Kokee Lodge, checked out Kokee Museum, and did a nature hike. We only did part of a longer hike on Canyon Trail due to sunset. After a scenic drive down the mountain with ocean views, we tooled along the coast, ending at a craft brewery. It was cool enough at Kokee Lodge that they had the fireplace going.
Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon, dubbed "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" by Mark Twain. Who never saw it.

Unsafe to drink. Or wash your hands in.

At the end of the road is Kalalau Valley overlook. We could hear wild goats bleating on the slopes.

Four waterfalls on the far side of Kalalau Valley.

Even memorial altars with flowers and stuffed pandas didn't keep tourists from walking right up the edge of the cliff.

This was more than close enough for me.

Had to hoof it back up the trail along the cliff.

We had lunch at Kokee Lodge, finishing with Lilikoi Chiffon Pie.
Kokee Museum. Best for kids and rainy days. We did a short nature hike behind the building.

We hiked part of this trail, but didn't finish since the sun started to go down.
Beautiful drive down the mountain and coast past Pacific Missile Range to the Polihale State Park Rd (4WD only).

Ended our day in Port Allen at Kauai Island Brewing Co.

Beer flights and dinner (not pictured).
Ubiquitous, obligatory Kauai rooster of the day.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Lihue, Kauai, Day 2

Day 2 on Kauai. Waterfalls, sacred heiau, a museum, a rum tour, a train ride and a luau.

Started out our day visiting 'Opeaka'a Falls near our cottage. It's right on the road with a parking lot, no hiking. On the other side of the the road from the falls, we saw the Wailua River which runs right next to the cottage we rented.

Near the falls is Poliahu Heiau, an ancient Hawaiian temple. All that remains today are the ruins of the stone wall in a rectangle shape. From the heiau, we could see the river and the ocean. And chickens. Lots of chickens.

We drove to Lihue to see the Kauai Museum. Advertising for the museum made it sound like they had recreated room(s) of a recovered sunken ship there, but that wasn't the case. They had some artifacts that were brought up from the ship, like buttons and metal bits, all in wooden display cases. I was disappointed. I did like seeing an old hourglass, though. Mostly the museum felt like looking through someone's attic. One of the rooms triggered uncontrollable coughing in me and I had to leave. I love museums, but I wouldn't recommend this one unless it was pouring down rain and you needed something to do. The ladies staffing it were very nice.

After a nice lunch in Lihue at KP Lihue Italian Grill and Bar (where the server handed me a cocktail list and when I ordered one, told me they usually don't serve cocktails at lunch), we headed to Wailua Falls, the falls from the TV show Fantasy Island. These falls are also right on the road with a (very small) parking lot.

We had some time to kill before our luau, so we drove down a road lined with eucalyptus trees to Poipu.

Poipu Beach was a mass of tourists (no surprise). So we drove back to Lihue to do the rum tasting at Koloa Rum Company (same place as the luau). It was so forgettable, I don't even have a photo of it. The rums were flavored and young. Good for people who like Captain Morgan's. At least it was free.

Before the luau, we did the optional train ride to see the plantation, the plants and the animals. It was a pleasant ride.

This was our first (and probably only) luau. I picked Luau Kalamaku because it's more theatrical. It tells the story of how the Tahitians sailed to Hawaii. And the buffet has options for vegetarians, a must. We were both impressed by how the performers all made the material seem fresh...they didn't look bored or like they were doing it by rote. I could practically feel the winds and the ocean swells when they were "rowing" their ship. It was a fun time and I recommend it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

North Shore Chill Time, Day 1

Chill out time, 3/17/16 Kauai North Shore

After our hike on the Kalalau Trail and Limahuli Garden, it was time for some grub. We picked up a sushi lunch at a literal hole in the wall in Wainiha. You order at a doorway and take it to go. We took ours to the Hanalei Pier but it was raining, so we wound up eating it in the car. It was the freshest sushi I have ever tasted and I'm sad it takes 13 hours flight time plus extra travel time to get to this place.

After our sushi, we just had to sample the Mai Tai at Tahiti Nui in Hanalei even though we didn't expect it to be good. And it wasn't. PASS on this one. It's not worth it. But the lilikoi martini was tasty. There was live music, too. We were there long enough that we ordered a pizza.

It was still raining after our time in Tahiti Nui, so we walked around the shops in Hanalei. I found some yarn at Hanalei Strings.

We headed back to our cottage and found a grocery store. I was lucky enough to find two foodstuffs I planned in advance to locate. Kulolo is a taro dessert and mamaki tea is a tea endemic to Hawaii. I was glad to try both these items as novelties, but neither one are something I would buy again. Kulolo is hard to describe. Kind of a poi cake Very moist. And mamaki tea is sort of like green tea. But not. And expensive.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Limahuli Garden, Day 1

Limahuli Garden, 3/17/16

After we finished our hike on the Kalalau Trail and abandoned Ke'e Beach due to rain, we motored over to Limahuli Garden and the rain stopped.

This garden is part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden system and is located in a valley on the north shore of Kauai. It contains ancient style agricultural terraces, a recreated hale and gardens of both non-native invasive plants and native plants they are working to conserve. Guide books say it is one of the few ways a tourist can get back into one of the valleys. It was a beautiful walk, even in a light rain.