May 20, 2011 – Island Time
For our anniversary, Chuck and I returned to beautiful Kaua’i, where we were married 2 years ago.
‘The Garden Island’ is one of my favorite places on earth to visit – this is my 4th trip; Chuck’s 3rd. I love the vibe, scenery, smell, and of course, the sunshine. I don’t mind the rains either – even if said rains drove our wedding from Tunnels (Makua) beach to the lanai of our honeymoon cottage. As they say, rain on your wedding day is good luck!
Our journey to the island was uneventful – we enjoyed free drinks in the Alaska Airlines Board Room, free mai tais on the plane, and picked up our ‘local’ rental car in Lihue – a salty, dented ’91 Nissan Sentra. We stayed on the East side of the island (the ‘Coconut Coast’) at the Islander on the Beach in Kapa’a for the first 5 days of our trip – it’s a nice centralized location, making it easy to access the West, South, and North sections of the island.
The evening of our arrival, we took a trip to historic Hanapepe – ‘Kaua’i's Biggest Little Town’ and the home to Kaua’i's longest suspension bridge and Disney’s ‘Lilo and Stitch’. Friday night is Art Night with lots of shops and galleries to peruse and musicians to listen to. It is SO nice to be on island time…
May 21, 2011 – ‘Judgement Day’
I can’t think of a better place to be on Judgement Day! Our day started off with an amazing sunrise, followed by tasty coffee and my favorite treat – an Acai Bowl at Java Kai coffee shop.
We set out to revisit one of our favorite beaches – Maha’ulepu Beach – to explore the beautifully-eroded cliffs.
Our next stop: Keoniloa Bay (Shipwreck Beach)
Later that evening, we took a drive and watched fish roll in the Menehune Fishpond.
Then we went to look for Kipu Falls…
May 22, 2011 – West side
Morning tree photos…
We then explored a hunter-access road – Chuck was enthralled by the vegetation damage by the wild hogs (animals, not the movie) and talked up some hunters while we were there.
We finished our day with a trip to the ‘end of the line’ – remote Polihale Beach. This is where the Na Pali coast starts (or ends – depending which way you’re coming from).
May 23, 2011 – Honopu Ridge hike
We wanted to try a ‘warm up hike’ to get ready for the 11 mile Kalalau Trail so we consulted the ‘Adventures’ section in our trusty ‘Ultimate Kaua’i Guidebook‘ and decided on Honopu Ridge (aka ‘Drop Dead View’). The book indicated that this was a challenging hike, due to the high possibility of getting lost (on a poorly marked trail) and the potential of stepping off a cliff and falling to your death. Luckily the trail was fairly easy to follow, due to ribbons tied to tree branches. There were a few scary parts – I don’t do heights very well when hiking on loose rocks, close to the edge of a cliff. But it was definitely worth it! I sure do love the Na Pali Coast…
On our way back through Waimea, we stopped at Jo-Jo’s Clubhouse for a tasty treat – shave ice with macadamia nut ice cream. Of the 60 or so flavor combinations, I decided on ‘Tropical Rainbow’ – mango, passion fruit, and guava.
May 24, 2011 – Coco Palms
Since we wanted to take it easy before the start of our big hike, we hung out at the beach in front of our hotel and just relaxed for most of the day.
I also scheduled myself for a tour of the hurricane-stricken Coco Palms Resort.
2 years ago, while in Kaua’i for our wedding, I had ‘visited’ the Coco Palm’s 16 acre, 2,000 tree coconut grove (behind the Resort) to assist Sarah who was photographing Kim’s maternity photos. Sarah also photographed Chuck and my first look and couples photos there the day of the wedding. Technically I suppose that we were trespassing but the gorgeous backdrop made it hard to resist. And we wouldn’t have sued if a coconut had fallen on one of our heads – what a tragic story that would have been on our wedding day…
A few days ago, I had revisited the grove – there were many more ‘No Trespassing’ signs and fences restricting access. I found a brush clearing where the fence had been cut and went in to explore. While walking through the grove, I caught a glimpse of several people near the Resort in hardhats and hightailed it out of there. Ironically, the ‘Travel Channel’ was there that day and they were shooting the Coco Palms Resort for their ‘Off Limits’ TV show – how funny would that have been if they would have caught me red-handed…
So I decided to be legal and do the formal tour to learn more about the resort and its history… A little bit of trivia: Coco Palms was opened in 1953 and is probably best known for being the locale of Elvis Presley’s movie ‘Blue Hawaii’. Recently, a portion of the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’ was filmed here as well. On September 11, 1992 Hurricane Iniki destroyed the resort and its revitalization remains uncertain.
That evening, Chuck and I were invited to my dad’s cousin Joan’s house in Kilauea. She and her husband Dale cooked us a delicious dinner and we had a great time visiting and touring their gorgeous farm. They were also kind enough to let us store our non-hiking luggage at their house while we hiked the Kalalau Trail (and let us clean up there afterwards) – thanks again Joan and Dale!
Next up: our Kalalau Trail Adventure…
Some images available for purchase here.