24 October 2009


This is funny on so many levels, including the big-mouthed, attention seeking NeNe from The Real Housewives of Atlanta...

Our second to last day in Kaua’i. I sleep in and for a time wonder if I will be able to move from this bed without first an I.V. of coffee. DM calls with a request and as CA talks with him I chime in and ease into my day.
We all go for a continental breakfast by the pool and take a bit of time to discuss our day, realizing that we are running out of time far quicker than we are running out of ideas and plans.

We pack up lots of water and soft drinks, towels, and reading material for PM as she cannot yet tolerate the planned Waimea Canyon hike. Waimea Canyon translates to Red River Canyon, not Canyon Canyon as I previously believed. The “Red River” title came about because the red clay mixes with the river water at times and appears a red river.

After a brief stop at Subway for some lunch fixings, we take the windy Route 552 up the mountain until it intersects Route 550. Our first stop is Pu’u Ka Pele Lookout for some breathtaking canyon photos, and next we stop at Pu’u o Kila Lookout for the most fantastic views in the Canyon. From here we can view the end of the 11 mile Kalalau Trail—the same trail that we sampled into the rain forest in Hanalei on Tuesday for ½ mile. It’s so fantastic to realize that we are seeing up close the same Na Pali Coast ridges we experienced at Polihale yesterday.

From Polihale they appear black and ominous, but from here they are a verdant mix of volcanic rock and red clay. We take lots and lots of photos before backtracking to the Kalalau Lookout for some more photos of the Canyon, flowers, and chickens!

We drive down as far as Koke’e Lodge and Museum, where PM plans to spend time relaxing while we take the Canyon Trail. (CA’s experience on this trail is below.) Somewhere along the way I decide to sit this one out, too, so PM and I spread our towels out in the shade of some giant firs and enjoy the cool and refreshing change of temperature and breezes. We are 3,500 feet above sea level here, so temps are 14 degrees cooler. In the shade it feels even better than that.

For a time we poke through the Lodge shops and the Museum (10:00am – 4:00pm daily, and the bathrooms are inside the Lodge) before settling on the bench out front to people- and chicken-watch our time away. Very relaxing.

The Museum is a true find and I will spend more time here in the future. In this small museum, the history of the island, the vegetation, the animals and birds, and the environmental and weather history and information is clearly and concisely outlined and illustrated. The docent is extremely knowledgeable and quick to answer any questions. I ask about our mystery trees from EXPLORING KAUA’I: part 2 and she tells me they are Rainbow Eucalyptus—introduced, not native to Hawaii.

The shops are fairly predictable, but I do find two great books for kids and make note for a future amazon.com purchase: Numbah One Day of Christmas: The Hawaii Version of the 12 Days of Christmas by Eaton (Bob) Magoon, et al; and Ke Ahiahi Mamua o Kalikimaka (‘Twas the Night Before Christmas… in Hawaii by Valjeanne Budar, et al, adapted from Clement Moore’s original version.

CA and MM show up sooner than expected as they have managed to complete their 3 hour hike in a bit over 2 hours, including photo op stops. They are exhausted and exhilarated and hot.

Turns out that CA and my 1999 hike along this same trail fell just a few yards short of reaching the end and the wonderful views and waterfalls. I remember crying “Uncle!” when the trail ahead was a very, very narrow pathway along the canyon edge of dried red clay—not rock. Guess we just missed out that time.

(CA’s Recounting of Today’s Canyon Trail Hike )

We drive back to Lihue and the Marriott for showers and a bit of rest before our planned dinner at Duke’s—our third visit this trip. The food and atmosphere is great and it is fun to eat close to home and enjoy a bit of the resort ambiance. While we wait for our table we have time to go to the shops in Nawiliwili Harbor to get those last minute souvenirs for the folks at home and host gifts for TL when we get to Austin on Monday.

PM and I do laundry, CA heads for the pool, and MM vegs a bit. We are all a bit sad that our week is ending, but we do have most of tomorrow to enjoy here in Kaua’i.


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