Friday, February 5, 2010


Our inter-island flight to Kauai gave us an entirely different perspective of the "Aloha State".  Kauai seemed so chill, so quiet, and just felt more relaxing than the hustle-bustle of Honolulu.  It's hard to explain how amazing this island is.  I hope some of my photos will show the beauty of places in Kauai that can usually be reached with a short hike.

Cassy and I were the youngest guests at this hotel, but we didn't mind a bit.

Sunrises (we were up for them every day) were amazing from the hotel.

Our super sweet PT Cruiser rental car.  Cassy says it's a "car for old people."  It worked fine, except for the time the horn got stuck.  Luc was honking at a driver who threw out a cigarette butt.  That'll teach him to let the litterbugs do their thing.

Our first-ever Luau.

Lydgate Beach Park offers nicely protected snorkeling on the south shore, even when the ocean is raging.

Wailua Falls--East Shore
It took some work getting to the base of the falls, but it was worth every bit.

Cassy uses fixed ropes to approach the waterfall.

We endured light rain during the hike, but went swimming anyway when we saw that we had our own swimming hole at the base of the 170-ft falls.

The Sleeping Giant Hike--East Shore
We got up early for this 2-mile ascent of the Sleeping Giant.  The views were absolutely stunning.

The summit.

A very exposed ridge connecting the summit to the main trail offered hundreds of feet of air on either side.  Cassy was unfazed.

A rain storm moved through, but we were well prepared.  After a 15-minute snack in the rain, the clouds cleared and we got to see more rainbows.

The mouth of this cave opens to a sheer cliff and gorgeous views.

Cliffs can be very hazardous, just like the sign warns.

Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast--Northwest Shore
Wow.  This area of Kauai is fantastic.  A road leads up a ridge above the Waimea Canyon (nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific" by Mark Twain), but most areas are only accessed by trail.  The Na Pali Coastline can only be accessed by boat or a 2-day backpacking trip.  We opted for a day hike that  
offered some of the best views we've seen...ever.

Looking down into Waimea Canyon

We did an 11-mile loop hike that started with 3 miles of steep downhill hiking in muddy trenches.

There was also some of this...

...that led to the end of the trail and some magnificent views.

It's hard to show the scale of these cliffs, but they're 3000-4000 ft tall.  Helicopters that flew into the canyon would appear as a dot in these photos.

Cassy confirms that the cliffs are, in fact, very steep.

See me in the bottom left corner?  I did a "bonus hike" down an exposed ridge to an amazing vista point.  The photo below shows a self portrait from that same point.

Na Pali Boat Tour--Northwest Shore
The day after our awesome hike, we went on a catamaran tour that took us snorkeling and sightseeing along the Na Pali Coast.  We got a view from the ocean of the 3000+ ft peaks and ridges we had stood on the day before.

The captain took us through a pod of hundreds of dolphins.  We got to see about 20 whales throughout the day, but none of my photos are worth sharing.  It was a shame the whales wouldn't jump for us when we got close.  The captain said the whales weren't cooperating.  I tipped him anyway.

Freshwater meets saltwater.

This natural blowhole has two that shoots water to an impressive height and another that air is pushed through.  The result is a loud groan every time a wave crashes, shortly followed by a huge geyser of water.

Hawaii is beautiful, isn't it?

North Shore
Ke'e beach was one of our favorites.  It had good snorkeling and nice sand plus an amazing view of sheer mountains rising out of the sea.  This beach also marks the trailhead to the Na Pali Coast.

Cassy loved watching these seals sleep in the sand.  Every once in a while they'd excitedly wiggle around and make noise, rub sand in their eyes, and go back to sleep.  Here are my favorite action shots.

Another hidden beach.  

A vacation wouldn't be complete without climbing.

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