20 October 2009






HIKING SHOES, or why we all need to spend $$$ and buy Keens like PM's


CA and I are up early again this morning and I get some brilliant sunrise photos.
At 8:00am there is an MVCI owner’s meeting in the suite next to our room—used to be the sales office and the views are gorgeous, as are ours, but these rooms have a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Kalapaki Bay. We go expecting coffee, juice, and pastries but in these economic times we get nada. I consider sneaking down to Kukui’s for some takeout coffee, but the Operations guy is charming and interesting and I don’t want to miss a factoid. We learn more about the renovations, the drainage tile repair update, future upgrades, financial and legal updates. We are proud to be owners and feel very confident that the decision to buy this timeshare 11 years ago was brilliant of us!

We meet up with our guests. MM is VERY interested in the macadamia nut pancakes we have promised him, so we breakfast at Tip Top Café in Lihue. Tip Top is a local café for breakfast and lunch and turns into a sushi bar at night—a fact that continues to amuse me. We are not disappointed. Coffee, finally! Though, MM and PM are milk drinkers and don’t seem to need their morning caffeine.

CA, MM, and PM have macadamia nut and banana pancakes and I choose the macadamia nut and pineapple variety. I talk MM into some Portuguese sausage, but CA and I agree that it is a bit too greasy and I like best the version available at Aupaka Terrace. After a quick pit-stop at the Marriott we take off with our handy-dandy Ultimate Kaua’I Guide to explore some of the many waterfalls.

Wailua Falls is our first stop—double falls, actually triple if you count the underfalls on the right. We take lots of photos and admire the omnipresent chickens.


There are two theories as to why these really gorgeous chickens roam freely. They are either the result of Hurricane Iniki which hit Kaua’i in 1992, or they trace back to the early 1900s when the sugar cane workers introduced them for cock fighting purposes. Regardless, they are everywhere. They are beautiful. Actually, there aren’t hoards of them, but a few show up at about every stop along the way and there’re a few who live here at the Marriott.

Opaeka’a Falls—another double falls—is our next stop. We meet new people at each stop and share tips and info, and pretty soon we realize that several groups are following the same itinerary and it gets a bit embarrassing when we meet up again since PM and MM have said that I sound like I work for the Kaua’I Chamber of Commerce or Visitor’s Bureau. I can’t help it! I am so enthusiastic about this island and all the beauty and marvels it offers.

We drive up toward Princeville and take a 15 minute hike into Secret Beach. This is a lovely, but narrow beach which is punctuated with masses of volcanic rock which we easily climb on and walk across. I enjoy this beach more each time I come.

We stop to use the facilities at the Princeville Shopping Center and I decide not to buy the Keen’s here ($119.95) but PM engages with an eccentric storyteller/illustrator and can’t resist his sales pitch. She purchases one of his books, The Tale of Rabbit Island: An Old Hawaiian Story that I just made up by Patrick Chink, chiefly (she says) because she is obsessed with bunnies and not because she is an easy mark!)
I get my first shave ice for the trip—mango/coconut/banana—and share with CA. MM orders a raspberry, but we think she gave him blueberry because he ended up with Smurf lips and tongue. PM can’t resist a hot fudge sundae at the Princeville Lappert’s while CA and I buy some pasta and fried rice at the Foodland Deli and call it lunch.

We drive through Hanalei to the farmer’s market just past the one lane bridge on the far side of town. We taste and buy some apple bananas, star fruit, fresh pineapple, and mango; sample some breadfruit and a butter avocado. Everything is so, so fresh and wonderful. You should see the size of the avocados they grow here! One is enough to make a full batch of guac.

The idea is to visit Ke’e Beach and check out the trailhead for the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali Coast, but to return another day for the actual 2 mile/2 hour each way hike. CA says we should go on the trail today because we are here. We aren’t prepared with nearly enough bottled water, etc., so we decide to hike in about ½ mile and get a taste of the experience. CA said the last time (his second) that he wasn’t going to do this hike again as it is hot and treacherous.

Along the way we talk to lots of returning and exhausted/exuberant hikers. Many, many recommend going in 2 miles and then taking the 2 hour trail up to Kalalau Falls for a beautiful and extraordinary experience. Add that up—it takes 2 hours to hike into Hanakapi’ai Beach (2 miles) and then another tough 2 hours up to the falls. And, that’s one way. So, we are talking an 8 hour day of a fairly treacherous hike into a rain forest in some real heat. The views are spectacular and the falls are tempting, but we hesitate… But then, this decision is for another day and we turn at the ½ mile point and hike out.

We are pretty proud of ourselves. We have had a fairly physical day and we have had some great experiences. We reward ourselves at Bubbas in Kapa’a with some chili rice or sloppy burgers with a side of frings (onion rings with French fries). And, in anticipation of some very sore and cramped muscles we hit the hot tub before bedtime.

Another great Kaua’i day.

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