Monday, September 13, 2010

Kauai, Part I

I'm still here! And although I'm not still in Hawaii, I do want to finish up posting about my summer. Jenny and I left Hilo last Saturday morning, connected through Honolulu, arrived in Lihue, Kauai around 11 AM. We first went and picked up our rental car: she was a real beauty.

After picking up the car we stopped at a delicious noodle place for lunch, Haimura Saipan, and then we drove north for our first hike in Hawaii, a steep 2-mile jog up Nonou Mountain. The hike wasn't super scenic and it was HOT, but the views of the rest of Kauai were pretty good.

After hiking we drove north to Princeville and hiked down to a nearby beach for some snorkeling and to watch sunset. The snorkeling was great- the reef extended hundreds of feet out, there weren't many people there, and we saw a half dozen turtles and tons of fish.

The sunset was really spectacular too:

We finished up our day with some Brazilian food in the town of Hanapepe, and then a drive up to Haena where we spent the night to get ready for our hike down the famous Na Pali Coast the next morning. We were woken up the next morning at 6 by rangers asking us where our permit was. My guidebook said that permit enforcement in county parks was lax in Kauai, and since you have to get them by mail six weeks in advance didn't bother. Fortunately for us, the ranger just charged us for the permit and then offered to write us a permit for the other night we were staying at a county park (Wednesday night).

After our somewhat rude awakening, Jenny and I hiked the half mile down the road to the Na Pali Coast trailhead. The Na Pali Coast is an insanely rough 10-mile stretch of coastline along the west coast of Kauai. The area has two beaches: one at the trailhead and one at the end of the 11-mile Na Pali Coast trail in Kalalau Valley, a valley only accessible by the trail and helicopter. The trail itself winds along steep coasts and then into deep hanging valleys, valleys that don't end in beaches at the ocean, but cliffs. Jenny and I hiked 7 of the 11 miles, and it was pretty spectacular.

We also did a 2-mile side hike to a 120 feet waterfall. It was scenic, even with all the people around...

After we got back to the car ("Ole Blue"), we drove back along the northern coast past all 8 of Kauai's famous one lane bridges. Each side has a waiting line on it and after every four to seven cars, the cars on the other side of the bridge are allowed to pass. Fortunately traffic was never so bad that there was much of a wait at the bridges, and the bridges have stopped the resort development along the North Shore since the bridges can't handle heavy loads.

We finished the day with a thin crust pizza in Koloa on the South Shore and then drove up 4,000 feet to Koke'e State Park on the southwest side of the island to camp for the night. More to come on the rest of our Kauai trip soon!

Only a couple posts left!

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