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Kauai in Review

Sam and I at airportAbout a month ago, I was at Edomasa having dinner with The Greens. Brian mentioned they were going on vacation and Margaret chimed in to invite me. After a few “really? Are you serious?” questions, we contacted our travel agent (we have the same one) and my flight was booked. Unlike the Mediterranean trip, this wait was much much shorter. Their friend, Paul picked them up and then they came by my place around 6:15 AM on Tuesday morning. Soon, we were on our way to the Santa Barbara Airport. Though, it had only been about 6 months since I flew, everytime I go, I always am confused and nervous about how everything works. Brian brought loads of electronics including GPS, 8 MP digital camera, and the newest baddest Sony HD camcorder. He also had battery packs and chargers for everything. Not surprisingly, he was searched by security.

After a fairly uneventful flight complete with lots of Daxter on PSP, we arrived in Hawaii. Another 20 minutes of waiting and we were loaded in the rental Pontiac minivan and Sunseton our way north. Margaret and I were pretty fungry (Brian’s term) right now from hunger pangs, so we decided to stop and eat at this sterile (bleach) smelling Sizzler slash Hometown Buffet establishment. We walked inside and it was like a ghost time. When I came outside, Brian announced that we were going across the parking lot to Pedro’s Texas BBQ. That’s right folks, our first meal in Hawaii was Texas BBQ!

We soon made it to Kirsten’s place in Hanalei Bay. Her parents own four units in two buildings. We were staying in one of the top units. We were flanked by mountains in ourSam and I jumping in waves backyard and the ocean was literally a 4 minute walk. The rest of the week, our schedules were pretty predicatable. We went to at least one (usually two) beaches multiple times during the day. One thing we tried to keep consistent was watching the sunset each night. We were successful half the time, weather permitting. We cooked breakfast packed sandwhiches for lunch, and made dinner each day. There were some days that we got plate lunches or had snacks like shave ice, but for the most part, it was all done at home. And why not? The place had a nice large kitchen, a BBQ grill on the patio, and a dishwasher. I had never been on this type of vacation before, but I knew they were serious when we got $400 worth of groceries after our arrival. The next afternoon, we picked up Max and Shelly (from Mill Valley) at the airport.
One of the things I really waslooking forward to was all the great hiking. According to The Guide, Kauai offers, bar none, the best hiking of all the islands. The first major hike we embarked on was called the Kalalau Trail. Halfway there, we stopped at a beautiful beach that is practically desserted save for feral cats. The final destination is a breathtaking site called Hanakapi’ai Falls. I didn’t think it could get any better until a beautiful girl showed up with quarterback mud stripes applied under each eye. She was wearing the typical beach wear consisting of a thin wifebeater and short shorts, with a bikini peaking through. She had two friends in tow and they asked us to Group Pre Hiketake a picture. I was speechless so Brian (great wingman), said “He’s the camera expert” and pointed over to me. After we took their picture, they proceeded to the pool under the falls and took off their clothes for a dip. We had lunch at the falls and then out of nowhere, Jimmy and her husband Fonz showed up. Jimmy is an athletic machine and they basically ran to the falls because they wanted to catch us there. We took pictures and hung out a bit then they headed back. We took off about the same time but they ditched us because they were that fast. At one point, after one of many river crossings, I lost The Greens. I caught a glimpse of Sam’s pack so I knew they were ahead of me. I was faced with two options. A short vertical climb and take the top path, or go on the path in front of me. I chose Scary Signfront and not 10 seconds later, realized my mistake. I was now standing on an edge no wider than 6 inches and the river wrought with large boulders was below me. I saw a branch sticking out of the side of the hill and decided to do an Indiana Jones move in which I’d grab the branch and swing myself around to the other side. I should take the opportunity to mention that I purchased a brand new pair of Keen Venice H2 sandals after consulting with the manufacturer. It boasts all sorts of features including being waterproof, comfortable, and incredible traction/grip. The last part is a complete lie. I slipped and slid all over the trail. Anyway, back to the story. As I swung myself around, both feet slipped off the ledge and up in the air. I thought, “Ok, now I die.” But then I realized I was holding on to the branch. That moment of relief gave way to sheer panic (again) as both my hands slipped off the branch, wet from the intermittent rains we had all day. So down I went into the river below. I’d hit my head and go unconscious then I’d drown in my sleep. Or so I thought. My tailbone landed on a tiny ledge right above the river and I closed my eyes for a second, thanking God, wishing this was all a dream. When I woke up, I thought I was indeed dreaming because there was a beautiful girl there. It was the girl from the waterfall. Then it turned into a nightmare as I realized she and her friends both just witnessed me fall. Shame.

Beach VoWe made it back to the front of the trail and took an after picture. What’s funny is we started out with a party twice as big and only four of us finished. The rest went back early. We went to the (now desserted) beach and enjoyed having the sand and water (practically) to ourselves. We were really tired after that. The next day, being crazy guys, Brian and I hiked what one guide described as the toughest hike of the island, the ‘Okolehao Trail. It wasn’t the distance that made it tough (only two miles long), but it was the accent. It climbed about 1300 feet in less than two miles. It’s pure madness but we went. Along the way, we found a USGS Marker as well as the second geocache of the trip. The top of the hike rewarded us with an incredible view over Hanalei Bay and Princeville.

FallsOn Saturday, Brian’s childhod friend Scott and his wife Yoko flew over from Oahu. We had a huge get together which double as a birthday party for Jimmy, her son, and even Scott. It was a May Birthday celebration. We had chocolate cake and cheesecake. Fonz barbequed Huli Huli chicken and made salmon with wasabi aioli and furikake. We had seaweed salad and edamame and multiple types of tuna poke. In fact, we ate poke all the time when we were on the island.

Lava FlowOn Monday, we went to Princeville and after a short hike down, we went to Queen’s Pool. There was King’s Pool next to it. Basically they are these natural pools that form from the incoming tides. We found a geocache there too. So three for the trip. I am pretty happy at our success but disappointed we didn’t try harder at the falls, afterall, it was the hardest to get to. That night, we went to Duke’s near the airport and had a great meal. Fonz is the manager there and he comped our drinks and dessert which was basically like a third of the meal. Max, Shelly, and I were dropped off at the airport and about 8 hours later, I was back home.

Needless to say, the trip was extremely memorable and a complete blast!

3 Responses to “Kauai in Review”

  • Sounds like a fun time.

  • Wow sounds like an awesome trip, and you got to find Geochaches in the coolest place ( on earth? or pretty close), but what no snorkeling? that’s the coolest thing to do in Hawaii. And I am not being mean about swimming, you can use a raft, and if something happens I have heard the sea turtles there are very friendly there and they will help you out 🙂

  • I actually did go snorkeling at “Tunnels”. The scariest part for me is when I try to go upright. I had fins on and they really work your feet muscles since you have to fight against the water. Also, there was a very strong outcurrent (like going out to sea) so when I was trying to swim to shore, I wasn’t really moving anywhere. I did see lots of cool fish.

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