Day 9 – The Package

Today we received shipment of a very special package, our nephew flew in to spend some time with us!  However before his afternoon arrival, we decided to get a hike in.   After a quick breakfast of eggs, toast and coffee, we jetted off to the Kee Beach parking lot to hike the first two miles of the Kalalau Trail.


We landed at the parking at 7 a.m. and even the overflow lot was full. Oh well, we knew what our back-up hike would be, the Okolehao Trail. We’ve done this hike a few times, however this time our memory didn’t match the actual trail.  We thought the switchbacks came sooner, the trail was wider and it wasn’t as steep. No problem, we trudged on.


Following the hike, a little swim was in order.  We figured if Kee Beach was packed at 7 a.m. Hanalei Bay at 9:30 a.m. would be the same. Returning to the house, we dropped off our backpacks and walked down to Tunnels Beach. Once at Tunnels we plunged in and did our typical float down the ocean.

It was now 11 a.m. and we were tired.  “Home” we headed to prep dinner, check on our nephew’s flight status and I really needed a nap.  A little after 1 p.m. we went to the airport. Instead of greeting our nephew with a lei, we stopped at Foodland to purchase poke and greeted him with poke. Our package had arrived!

While at the airport waiting, I spotted Craig T. Nelson, he was waiting for an arrival too.

Back to the house we went, to enjoy appetizers and dinner.  Dinner was ribs, mac and cheese and a salad, perfect for the 4th of July.


As our routine goes, it was sunset viewing time. Off to the beach we headed where the boys had a quick swim and I just absorbed the beauty of the island. The sunset provided our 4th of July fireworks.

Tomorrow is our first full day with our nephew, who knows what the day has in store for us.

Day 4 – Plan B

What’s that adage, “best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”? Yup that was our motto today.  We made plans but it all changed.  Did we get upset, irritate or place blame? Nope we went with the flow, anger is only wasted energy.

Over breakfast we made a plan.

Kauai Coffee, local eggs with portuguese smoked sausage and tomatoes, portuguese sweet bread with lilikoi jam. Yes Mike’s screen saver is Diamond Head, not a Kauai photo, please don’t take offense.

Our plan was to hike Alakai Swamp Trail, lunch at Salt Pond, so we could have a swim, hit the farmers market at Hanapepe, grab dinner and watch sunset.  Only two of those things happened.

Every time we try to hike the swamp the rain moves in. It looked clear from our lower spot in Waimea so we thought it would be clear at top, nope! The closer we got to the top the more rain moved in.  We stopped at Kokee Lodge and reassessed. Swamp was out, plan b was called for. We would instead hike Cliff and Canyon Trail. Back down we drove to the trail head. We encountered a little spits of rain, but we knew the helicopters (or as we call them large mosquitoes) were flying, so views were to be had. Out we went and got our hike on.   In New England you have to go up first to get a view and the return hike is downhill.  In Hawaii, it is the opposite, you go down first and then up.  I will let the pictures tell the story.

The views were stunning, well worth the hiking and the huffing.  My advice get up there early, bring water, shoes with sturdy soles and if you aren’t sure footed bring a hiking pole. Here is the profile from our gps:


The plan was after the hike to head to Salt Pond Beach park to enjoy our lunch.  What really happened was we noticed our rear tail light was busted.  Oops, not cool.  So we knew we had to return to the house and call the rental company.  We learned that some credit cards won’t insure a car rental if the car is rented past 30 days, crap we fell into that category.  Oh well no use getting upset, things happen. We weren’t fans of this car, to big, pulled to the right, seats weren’t comfortable.  I’ll turn the negative into a positive we can get a better rental. We did!

Hertz was great about it and to welcome our new car, we decided to stop at Hilo Hatties to get free shell leis and a dashboard hula rooster to bling out our new ride.


By the time this was over, we had missed the farmers market. We opted for an early dinner or rather happy hour at Kauai Island Brewery.  I do enjoy their lilikoi beer.  Their fish taco and ahi bites were ono and just enough to fill us up. While there we talked with one of the waiters, who was a local boy.  He overheard us talking about the hike and we had a great conversation about conservation, protecting the endangered species, pig hunters and stupid “hikers” who don’t come prepared for the trails or do dangerous things that end up closing down the hiking trails.


After the early dinner, we returned home, packed up and went down early to Salt Pond to catch the sunset and have a swim. Surf was high and the flags were out, but we were in the protected area, so we knew we were ok to get in the water.

I think the universe decided to make up for the mishaps today and gave us a green flash at the tail end of the sunset. Unfortunately our camera couldn’t quite capture it, but trust us it was there.

look to the right of the sunset, there is a flare. Others did see the green flash, so we know we didn’t imagine it.

So today wasn’t what we planned at 6:30 a.m. this morning, It had a few twists and turns along the way, but we are ok with that, we’ve learned to accept what happens and find the best in it.


Day 2 – Settling In

We awoke to the bird orchestra on our first morning.  We often remark how much we miss these bird sounds living in our urban neighborhood.  Even hearing the chickens doesn’t bother us anymore, we’ve come to appreciate these scrawny little birds calling their scratchy lullaby.

Still recovering from a long travel day we opted to go out for breakfast.  We enjoyed an egg breakfast accompanied by some Kauai Estate Coffee at Kalaheo Cafe & Coffee. We got our veggie and egg fix in to start off strong for a day of running around.

Our next stop was a grocery store. The fog was starting to clear from our brains so we could think about food supplies we really needed to have, plus we needed sunscreen. After our early morning jaunt out we returned to the cottage to unload.

The skies looked so blue we decided a drive up the canyon would be the perfect thing to do, to the end of the road lookout, Pu’u a Kila, we ventured.  The fog here rolls in and rolls out, just wait around for a bit if the view is obscured, it will clear out.

We hiked a little on the Pihea Trail. In the past we’ve attempted this trail to get to the Alaka’i Swamp, but each time weather turned us around.  Today we came unprepared and could have easily hiked the Swamp and back. Lesson learned always throw the backpacks full of water in the car.

While enjoying the views, we listened to a father constantly call his teenage boy away from the edge. At one point he pointed at Mike and told his son he could go stand by him. Guess Mike instills confidence in parents?  At one point the teenager caught up to us. leaving dad behind. I acted as lookout for dad so the boy and Mike could go over to the edge and not get in trouble.  However, further on the trail, dad refused to let the boy  walk past him.

I remember my first time here and how scared I was I would slide down the slippery soil and get hurt. Today I felt like one of the canyon goats, sure footed and hopping along.

After our adventures up top, we headed down the road, stopping along the way for a few photos.

As it was nearing lunchtime and we needed a few things at Costco, we decided to lunch at Kauai Beer Company. First though a road closure forced us to drive past Kauai Coffee Company and well we did need a bag of coffee, so of course we stopped.


Kauai Beer Company did not disappoint. I had four tasters of their beers and Mike enjoyed a pint of their Euro Dark Lager.  Lunch was their beet salad and their taro burger, both were flavorful and filling.

After lunch we made out mandatory Costco run for a few items, then meandered our way back, stopping at the Kalaheo Farmers Market and Aunty Lilikoi’s shop for some goodies.


Once home, we unloaded all our treats, sat outside, watching the birds, which included pheasants, parakeets and a roost of cattle egrets, and attempted to come up with a plan for tomorrow.


Dinner was more poke with a side of quinoa and then we headed up Rt. 550 to view the sunset, only a few miles from our cottage.  We pulled off a little before mile marker 3 at a hunter’s check in station and went on a little dirt road to watch the sun sink.

Dessert followed sunset, dragon fruit and bananas, so ono.


On our official first full day here, I think we are starting to settle in and find our groove.

Traveling Along on Day 1

Monday started at 3:45 a.m., slugging down ghastly hotel coffee before our 4:30 a.m. check in with United.


We booked our tickets way in advance and somehow stumbled upon decently priced first class tickets.  Why not? We are celebrating our 100th combined.  We flew to Newark, I think the plane just went up and came right down, a mere 29 minutes.  Next we had about a two-hour layover and then onto first class, front row.  We had lie flats seats, two meals served and great movie selections.

The views looking out over our great landscape was breathtaking.  If I hadn’t watched three movies, I might have seen more of this great land.

We landed in Honolulu a mere 10 hours after leaving Newark. Now for another wait of an hour. Finally we boarded the last plan for what seemed like a two minute flight over to Kauai.  The island was a bit overcast, making it difficult to snap pictures as we flew in.


My whole body felt a sense of returning home, why I don’t know? I am an Irish girl, perhaps it is just a lush green island calling to my soul.  I just choose tropical instead.

Once we landed we grabbed our bags, and yes for those of you who know how we prefer to travel, this was an oddity we checked bags in. Normally our travel style is backpacks and go!  Car rental was a breeze, thank you Hertz and we have an SVU this time!

Our next stop was to pick up rental keys for the house in Waimea.  First we had to fight through commuter traffic at 5 p.m. on the south west side of the island, but once we hit Hanapepe traffic thinned out.  We made our way to the house, dropping our bags off, quickly admiring the backyard view and headed out to find food.

Our original plan was to grab some poke and go sit at a beach to eat it. However, it was becoming clear to us we were way overtired and it was becoming dangerous to drive. We picked up some poke from Ishihara Market in Waimea and some beer.

We ate dinner in our cottage listening to the chickens, smelling the plumeria trees and devouring the poke. We couldn’t even sit outside to watch the sunset, we were that tired. After cleaning up, unpacking and cooling the house down, we headed off to bed.


Tuesday is plan is to find breakfast, do some shopping, maybe visit a beach and hopefully see us finding a beach sunset!


Day 23 – Just another day in paradise

Today was one of those days that started off very slowly.  Big cups of coffee sipped slowly, a long breakfast of goodies to nibble on and rainbows to watch appear.


We followed this up by a long walk on Cannons beach, searching for shells and taking pictures. We had to park in a different spot today, so the way down to the beach was a bit more treacherous and like I said earlier, I was moving slow.

I'm trying hard not to trip

Mike watched crabs play in a tidepool for a bit,

crab play time

while I wandered around looking for shells.  I had one great find today.

my shell find

Mike then worked on taking some artsy photos.

beach art
rock art
the view

After we meandered around, we settled on hanging out at Tunnels for a bit of time to catch some sun rays.

Morning slowly melted into the afternoon and the pace picked up just a tiny bit.  We went to the Waipa’s Farmer’s Market.  After having a mellow morning, seeing so many people jostling for fresh produce was too much for me to take in.  I didn’t enjoy my experience as much as I usually do because people were pushy and rude. Ok, maybe I was a bit oversensitive because I’ve adapted well to island time and attitude.

We did have a new fruit introduced to us.  I’m not saying what it is because I will be featuring it in my facebook “name that fruit contest” for friends.

a very delicious fruit and new to us

We than stopped at Hanalei Dolphin for some fresh ahi for dinner.  Ahhhh grilled ahi and vegetables from the market for dinner.  How pono it was. Sorry we ate it before we could snap a photo.

After dinner Mike picked me a plumeria and we strolled to the other sunset beach we like.

I love plumeria

While waiting for the sun to set, Mike worked on some more artsy photos.

white flower, so fragrant

As Mike was working on his photos, I made a new friend tonight.  He was a bit crabby and I don’t think I cheered him up.

My new friend

We watched the sunset and then Mike went into total relaxation.

Mike is relaxed

As we entered the yard, the light was lovely and played with the sliver of the moon nicely.  It was a perfect scene to end the evening.

moon glow

Tomorrow our pace ramps up.  We have behind the scenes tour planned at Allerton and McBryde Gardens, followed by lunch out, then a hike along the southern coast and since we are south a stop at the coffee plantation.  Ok, that makes me tired just thinking about all that activity.


Day 8 – Mud, Views and Birds

Powerline View North Trail View

Decided to start the morning with a hike on the Powerline Trail North in Princeville.  You know we hadn’t met any mud in a few days and were itching to slop around in some.

Mike after slogging through mud

Park at the water tank (where most trails seem to start in Kauai, at a water tank) and go…this trail goes and goes and goes.  The views were great and really this is an easy trail, the first 1.5 miles is on a wide, rutted road easy to follow,

first part of trail

we went for another .5 miles in mud and slop, then turned around to head back.

you think you can avoid this, but really you can't, you sink on the off shoot into more mud
balance through the mud zone

The views that encased us were amazing.  We had little windows were we could see stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Along the way we encountered beautiful flowers.

On the last leg of the hike we started to really notice the trees and the fruit they were producing.  We picked guava, a type of passionfruit (though all the fully ripe ones were picked) and avocado.

When we returned to our car, we spent a good deal of time scrubbing off the mud, then headed to the Kilauea Lighthouse.


It costs $5 a person to visit and it is worth it for the views and birdwatching.  The lighthouse is undergoing renovations at the time, so we weren’t able to enter.  I didn’t realize it, but this falls under the National Park jurisdiction, so if you are NPS member bring your membership card.

Birdwatching was fun, we actually had a Red Footed Booby skim directly over our heads, of course we didn’t have our cameras on.

If you notice the hill is dotted with white, birds

After spending a small amount of time here, we needed lunch.  Decided to give Kilauea Fish Market a try.  Well, let’s just say I’m not going to rave about this place like others do.  For one thing our simple order of Ono Tacos was a bit misplaced, I know new people are being trained, but still.  Then the taco consisted of fresh ono, grilled (yum) piled with lettuce(lots of it), salsa (bland),packaged cheddar cheese and a sauce (which had some flavor).  There were supposed to be grilled onions, but they were forgotten and guacamole was a dollar extra.  It was a foodie’s disappointment…

At home we cleaned up and caught up with the world.

After dinner our ritual of sunset viewing continues…

watching the sun go down

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