After the first two days, we had spent a total of 1.5 hours relaxing in beach chairs, and over the course of the next 6 days, that would only be extended by another 2.5 hours. We took advantage of everything, and we left no stone unturned.
On the third day, we drove the 2.5 hour narrow and curvy one way drive to the Waimea Canyon, dubbed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific by Mark Twain (although he never actually visited...). I've actually never been to the Grand Canyon, but I can imagine that it is similarly breathtaking.
And I had to include a picture of a chicken...because they are everywhere. They have no natural predators on the island (also there are no snakes) so they run amuck.
Also at the top of the canyon we saw Mount Wai'ale'ale, which is one of the wettest spots on earth and gets over 400" of rainfall a year.
And we were able to see down into the Kalalau Valley along the Na Pali Coast.
After the long drive down, we went to lunch along the water and saw sea turtled swimming out in that lagoon. I never did see any snorkeling, but this was the second best thing.
And then we saw Spouting Horn.
The following day we went hiking along the Kalalau Trail. We knew it was a rough hike, as we had read about it being ranked 10/10 in difficulty by the Sierra Club, but I don't think we really knew what we were getting ourselves into.
The trail is 11 miles, and you can only go along the first 2 miles of the trail without a permit. We didn't get a permit, but after the first two miles you could hike another two along a side trail up to the waterfall. We had planned to hike the four miles in and the four miles out, and we figured it would take us most of the morning. We got there at 7:15am with tons of water in our backpack.
The warning signs as you enter the trail.
And while it was very difficult, the views were amazing.
After two miles we got to the Hanakapiai Beach, which was the furthest point you can hike without a permit. It's only accessible by this trail, but the water is really rough, as indicated by the sign before you reach the beach.
It took us almost two hours to hike those two miles, and we're in pretty good shape. But instead of turning back, we turned onto the side trail to hike up to the Hanakapiai Waterfall. To term is "trail" is a stretch. It is completely unmarked, and there were so many places along the way that we didn't know if we were on at trail. This particular upward rock climb was actually part of the trail.
But once we got to the waterfall we were so happy we spent another two hours getting there...I did have one freak out moment where I was frozen along the side of a huge slope trying to maneuver across a slippery rock-face. I just stopped and had a moment while clinging on what felt like for dear life. I'm sure I'm not being dramatic here...
And just like holding the octopus, we were in Hawaii, so we just had to swim in this icy water that we couldn't see 6" into. We're probably lucky we didn't get sick. We did swim over and under the waterfall, but the pictures didn't turn out.
We then hiked the four miles out and made it out by about 2:00 in the afternoon. It was a day. Wow. I would absolutely do it again, and next time I really want to try getting a permit to hike more of the Kalalau Trail. It is apparently frightening at certain parts, though.
That night we had a nice dinner, but we were so so tired. Can you see it in our eyes?
The following day we took a catamaran along the Na Pali coast and went snorkeling in the deep sea area along the coast. It was amazing, but it was nice to stay near the coral for fear that a shark would scoop us up...
Hanakapiai Beach in the background.
So many caves along the coast.
And this is the picture that shows the scary part of the Kalalau trail that I'm not sure I'd make it across. If you can see the faint horizontal line along the cliff, that's the trail. Apparently it's 6 inches wide at the point, and it's called crawler's ledge. I've watched oodles of videos of people crossing it on YouTube, and I honestly don't think I'd be able to do it, but I really want to go back one day and try...
This was where Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed when Johnny Depp runs through the cave.
For the last two days we took little day trips to different places we wanted to see. This was Queen's Bath, where the Ocean crashes onto the rocks. It's the number one site for drownings on Kauai because during the winter the sea is so much higher and rougher and apparently people go out on the rocks and get swept out to sea. During the summer though it's really calm, so we swam in it.
We also went snorkeling at Tunnels Beach that we had seen earlier by helicopter.
And eventually it came to an end. This was dinner on our last night. We ate in the hotel bar, watched the sunset, enjoyed our favorite drinks from the trip, and talked about our favorite parts.