hello!new213.1 hello!new213.4 hello!new213.5 hello!new213.6 hello!new213.9

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kauai: The Last Day

Our last day in Kauai came around all too soon! The "last days" of vacation have a way of doing that, though, don't they? We started our morning with banana macadamia nut pancakes and headed to Kalapaki Beach.
The waves were sort of flat when we got there, so we took a few pictures to pass the time.
At the first sign of improvement, we grabbed our boards and headed out into the water. Surf's up!
After our little surf session, we headed back to the hotel to pack up. The pools looked so enticing from our balcony that we decided to do a late check-out so we could play in them one last time.
We made sure to get a picture of the slice of heaven that was our swimming pool so we could dream about it on hot summer afternoons like today.
Once we finally checked out, we headed to the farmer's market we'd had our eyes on all week. We bought a pretty wooden vase, some fresh fruit, and the classic Hawaiian shaved ice with macadamia nut ice cream on the bottom. Yum!
Then we headed South through the tunnel of trees to see Spouting Horn. The geyser shot out of the rocky shoreline and created pretty rainbows with the ocean as the backdrop. And even better? There was the cutest sea turtle swimming around it, poking his cute head out above the waves. Yeah, Spouting Horn beats Old Faithful hands down.
Then it was off to Shipwrecks Beach, where we discovered that Matt was about done with picture taking (as evidenced by his "please say this is the last one" smile below). So I did the "I Love You" dance to pep him up a bit and resorted to taking pictures of flowers instead. Turns out they are much more willing subjects.
And then, before we knew it, the sun was setting and it was time to head to the airport.
We grabbed some Little Caesars on the way (because we're cheap like that), dropped off our rental car, and took off on the red-eye to LAX.
Six hours later, the lights of Los Angeles were in view and it was a comforting sight. No matter where you go in the world, nothing beats coming home.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Kauai: Hike to Hanakapi'ai

One of the biggest items on our Kauai must-do list was hike along the Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi'ai Falls. It is now one of my favorite hikes in the world--and that's saying something coming from a member of my family! For the first two miles, the trail follows the Na Pali coastline right alongside the ocean to a quiet, secluded beach. From there, you turn inland and navigate through a lush river valley for another few miles until you reach the falls.

The trail provides a fun little challenge with plenty of switchbacks, muddy streams, boulders, and river crossings along the way. It constantly rewards your efforts, however, with beautiful sweeping views of the Na Pali Coast, the pristine Hanakapi'ai Beach, and the tropical foliage on either side of the trail. And, of course, the gorgeous 300-foot waterfall that reigns over a small green valley and cascades into a refreshing blue pool below.

It looks as dreamy as it sounds.
If that picture doesn't make you want to go on this hike--or at least see more pictures of it--I don't know what will. To provide you with the eye candy without creating the longest blog post in the history of the universe, I put together a quick movie of pictures and video clips from the excursion.
Amazing, isn't it? We were in awe of our surroundings every single step of the way and would be hard pressed to name a favorite part of the hike to Hanakapi'ai. Although, the fact that the trail begins and ends at Ke'e Beach would be a strong contender. Even with all of the picturesque images we saw that day, there was no better sight after a grueling eight miles in the hot sun than the ocean water glistening through the coconut trees below.

Every hike should end in the ocean.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kauai: Duane's, Duke's, Dives & Fine Dining

Fact: Matt and I are not what you would call "foodies."

That's not to say that we don't like food. We do. Especially food of the delicious variety. It's just that, for the most part, we'd rather spend our money on fun activities that create lasting memories than on a few seconds of taste bud bliss (I guess our taste buds just don't have memories as good as others' do!). Thus, packing PB&J to save money on a few meals in Europe was an easy decision. That worked so well that we did it again for Kauai, but added protein bars and bagels this time. We bought some fruit and veggies upon arrival and were pretty much covered for two meals each day. On vacation, that is a huge money saver!

When we did eat out on Kauai, we made sure it was worth our while. Our first stop was at Duane's Ono-Char Burger for lunch after kayaking on the first day. Duane's is a little red shack with a big reputation. We ordered a "Local Girl" and a "Local Boy," which proved to be the most amazing BBQ/teriyaki/pineapple burgers in the world.
For a nicer dinner, we headed to Duke's at the Kauai Marriott. The hotel grounds were so pretty to stroll around.
The food at Duke's was delicious (hooray for fresh mahi-mahi!), but the real show stopper was the dessert. Whoever decided to turn one pint of ice cream into a "pie" is my hero.
We were so full from dinner that we had to sit and recover for about a half hour afterward.
A local dive called Tip Top Cafe was rumored to serve to-die-for banana macadamia nut pancakes. They definitely did not disappoint!
The highlight of our dining experiences, however, was our classy evening at the Beach House in Poipu. We decided to splurge on just one fine dining meal and called it our official anniversary eating-out. The Beach House gave us everything we'd hoped for: a romantic atmosphere, a unique menu, and amazing views of the sunset over the ocean. It was the perfect way to spend our last evening in Kauai!
Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself with that "last evening in Kauai" talk. Before getting all gussied up for the Beach House, we spent the day getting nice and dirty on an incredible hike. And our last three-quarter day was packed full of fun, too, so stay tuned!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kauai: Surf and Snorkel

Surfing at Hanalei Bay

Back in 2006, my friend Ashley and I volunteered at Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu for a few weeks. From 8 until 4 every day, we hung out with the most incredible kids who called us Ashley 1 and Ashley 2. From 4 until the sun went down, we hit up the beach and picked up surfing along the way. It was fantastic.

Surfing was even better this time around since I got to share it with Matt. Let's be honest, though--everything is better with him around. We picked Hanalei Bay for his maiden surfing voyage and my refresher course. That boy was hanging ten and even doing handstands on the surfboard in no time at all! His natural ability to do whatever he pleases really isn't fair, is it?
After Matt took the first video clip below, the nicest lady in the world offered to take some pictures and video for us (she's responsible for every single "action shot" in this post). Unfortunately, she got the on/off switch mixed up a few times so we didn't really get any videos of Matt--just super short little clips. But hey, we're grateful to have any documentation at all! Just don't blink while you watch it :-)
Check out the view we were treated to as we came in with the surf:
We spent the first part of our surf session cheering each other on as we crossed paths on the ocean, with one paddling out while the other rode in. A couple hours into it, we decided to catch a few waves together. And let me tell you--surfing right alongside Matt was so much fun! It was seriously the highlight of the day.
Hopefully these pictures will convince our future children that their parents were are cool after all.

Snorkeling at Tunnels Beach

After a lunchtime picnic on the beach, we headed a few miles West to Makua Beach--better known as Tunnels.
Tunnels Beach is a fascinating place to snorkel, thanks to the labyrinth of coral reef tunnels responsible for its nickname. Some areas were so shallow that we had to hold our breath and be incredibly careful not to touch the reef, while other areas were deep with interesting mazes that just begged us to dive down and explore. With its unique underwater world and beautiful marine life, Tunnels provided us with endless entertainment that afternoon.
Matt and I attempted to catch a few video clips of our little snorkeling excursion. Suffice it to say, our underwater video camera skills are less than stellar! But I scrounged up a few that are okay, and even provided subtitles so you can understand what on earth we were saying. (Yes, we talked to each other the whole time we were snorkeling. And that is entirely normal... right?)
Once Matt had swallowed too many gallons of salt water, we retired to the beach to relax in the sunshine for the remainder of the afternoon.
Nothing beats a day of surf and sun!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...