We had one day on Kauai to explore the rest of the island. We decided on breakfast in Hanalei (delicious) and then driving around the rest of the island. Our first stop after breakfast was Kilauea Lighthouse and seeing the bird sanctuary. We then made it to Waimea Canyon where we spent most of our time stopping to see the views. It looks so much like the Grand Canyon! We made it to the top of the Kalalau Valley lookout. It was so weird to think we were down there the day before. Our last stop before dinner was the glass beach. There were tiny bits of sea glass all over the beach. We treated ourselves to dinner at Duke’s in Lihue before catching our flight back to Oahu. Had such an amazing trip!
On Sunday we woke up early to get started on our long hike back. I definitely did not sleep well the night before as I was dreading the hike and I was worried about the little black kitten. He turned out to be totally fine, but I was still dreading the hike. Once again, at about mile 9 I think we were all pretty done. It was a gorgeous day and much hotter than the hike in so we went through all of our water and had to stop and refill at the rivers. We were thrilled to make it to the last river and see people! It meant we were almost back. I was so happy to get off that trail and see our rental car! We all took showers and had a ton of food in Hanalei. This is the second hardest thing I’ve ever done (only being trumped by the first time I did it). Such a fun experience, but we were all thankful to sleep in a real bed that night!
Day two started out with all of us being just a bit sore (maybe not so much Kyle) but the rest of us were feeling it. We made coffee and breakfast and then set out to explore! Our day consisted of checking out the the rocks at the end of the beach that had all sorts of things growing on them, walking the beach and visiting the caves at the end, lounging around camp (including in our tents when it decided to start raining) and then enjoying another beautiful sunset on the beach after it rained. We finished the evening by enjoying the stars. They were absolutely breathtaking. We also made friends with a black kitten. It took everything I had to not take him home with me. ❤
A few weeks ago, my cousins Bailey and Kyle came to visit Josh and I. It was deja vu as four years ago they came to visit to celebrate Kyle’s graduation from high school and Bailey’s graduation from college. This time, it was Kyle celebrating graduation from college and Bailey celebrating graduating with her PhD.
They spent a couple weeks each on Oahu, but the highlight of their visit for all of us was hiking the Kalalau trail. This would be the hike that Josh and I did as our first date here he tried to kill me. It rained the entire time, which made crossing three rivers rather interesting and terrifying. Luckily, this time we didn’t run into that issue!
We spent the days before buying supplies, organizing our packs and making sure we had everything we needed.
We left on Thursday evening and checked into our Airbnb in Princeville. It was close to the trail so we didn’t have to drive too far on Friday morning to get started. We ate dinner at Barrel Chicken in Hanalei and then prepared for the next day.
We got up at 3:30 AM to have coffee, finish packing and arrive at the trail early. It was dark out when we started so we were able to enjoy the sunrise.
We made it to the first river and I was happy to find that I could hop along rocks to cross (very different than the last time). We made friends with a rooster who decided to cross it with us.
Around mile 6 we made it to the second river and stopped to have a snack. I also changed shoes as my feet were killing me. We were really psyching ourselves up for mile 7 and crawler’s ledge. Good news, is it was not as bad as we thought it might be!
We finally made it! The last three miles seemed to take days. But we crossed the final river and spotted the beach. We set up camp, then went to the waterfall at the end of the beach to refill water, made dinner and enjoyed the most incredible sunset ever on the beach. Not bad for the first day!
On Sunday, Josh and I got up super early to hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls. The hike is about eight miles round trip and we wanted to have enough time to come back and shower before we checked out. We were both really excited to be back on the Kalalau trail for the first time since our “first date”. We had MUCH better weather this time…no rain at all! The first two miles of the trail, we had already hiked when we hiked to Kalalau beach last year. The views of the Na Pali coast are stunning even a half mile in.
We made it to Hanakapi’ai Beach in about an hour. It was amazing to see the beach as it was completely covered by the ocean in the winter when we hiked last year. It was practically empty when we got there.
After we crossed the river, we veered to the left instead of the right to hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls. The hike itself wasn’t too bad…we crossed the river about three more times on our way to the falls and it took us about an hour and a half to get there. The waterfall itself was absolutely amazing. The most beautiful waterfall we have hiked to yet (and we’ve hiked to A LOT). It was HUGE! Definitely worth waking up early for! We spent about 15 minutes at the falls and then started on our way back. Most people hike there to swim and enjoy the pool, but we didn’t have time to stay that long. Maybe next time!
After we finished our hike, we headed back to the hotel to quickly shower and change. We were both starving, so we visited Kauai pasta. It was so delicious, but we were so hungry I completely forgot to take pictures of our amazing food! After stuffing ourselves, we headed north again to visit the Kilauea lighthouse. We visited this last year, but it was under renovation. I wanted to go back and see it now that all the renovations were completed. Surrounding the lighthouse is a bird sanctuary. It’s absolutely stunning with water on all three sides of the lighthouse and beautiful birds flying all around!
After that, we headed to the airport to catch an earlier flight than planned. We were exhausted and ready to come home!
This past weekend, Josh and I took our fourth trip to Kauai (which I believe we have 100% determined to be our favorite island). This time, we ventured there to take a boat tour of the Na Pali coast and to hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls.
Our Saturday morning started out bright and early as we had an hour drive to the boat harbor where we would be departing on our tour. We left at 7:00 a.m. and headed towards the Na Pali coast. Our guide told us that there had been a really large swell the past few days that made it impossible to go in the caves and snorkel as well as, made the boat ride an extremely rough one. We lucked out! We were able to do all of the above and had an amazing experience.
One of the things I was incredibly excited about was the chance that we would get to see Hawaiian spinner dolphins. I have wanted to see dolphins out in the open water since I’ve lived here, but hadn’t gotten to experience that yet. I definitely fixed that on this trip! We saw TONS of them on multiple occasions. Our first encounter provided us with a small pod that had a few babies in it. One of them was the size of a football and was so incredibly cute. They were on all sides of our boat and periodically jumped out of the water to spin. It was amazing!
After getting to experience the dolphins, we continued on to the indescribable beauty of the cliffs of the Na Pali coast. To see it from this angle was, to put it mildly, absolutely stunning. Every time I see this landscape, I always think I’m prepared because I have seen it multiple times before…and I will no longer experience the awe of what I am taking in. However, it never disappoints. Every single time it nearly takes my breath away.
After we made it down the whole coast, we turned around to head back. On our trip back, we got to venture inside the sea caves and get a little closer to the coast.
After touring the sea caves and taking more pictures of the coast, we were able to stop and snorkel for a little bit. Oddly enough, only Josh and I snorkeled out of the six people on our tour. It was a little rough, but there were some pretty big fish. Josh also got to see a HUGE sea turtle. I unfortunately got out about five minutes before he did and missed it! He got great footage of it though!
After having some snacks and drying off, we headed back to the harbor. On our way back we came across about five times as many dolphins as we had encountered in the beginning of our tour. They were jumping out of the water everywhere, surfing our wake and just swimming all around us.
After seeing dolphins for the second time, we made it back to the harbor around noon. We were both pretty exhausted and starving. We made it back to our hotel and grabbed a bite to eat. After that, we took a ridiculously long nap (I had taken dramamine and was seasick and we were both exhausted from lack of sleep). We woke up, grabbed dinner at the restaurant we ate at after we hiked the Kalalau Trail last year and headed back to our hotel. We packed up our stuff and headed to bed in preparation for another early morning!
On Sunday, Josh and I got up and checked out of our hotel and headed for the Maha’ulepu Beach Trail. On our drive there, we drove through the “tunnel of trees”. Our helicopter pilot had pointed it out from the air the day before saying how many tourists stopped in the middle of the road to take a picture. We opted to take a picture, but keep moving a the same time. It was definitely beautiful though!
We hiked along the South coast of Kauai for about a mile. It was a beautiful mix of sand, rocks and trees. It was a great way to start our day!
After the hike, we drove the short distance over to see what Poipu Beach was all about. It’s supposed to be a very popular beach on Kauai…turns out it is…it was extremely crowded, but looked like it was a fun place to go snorkeling.
We then drove over to Spouting Horn blowhole. The ocean was pretty calm, so it wasn’t that active. However, it was still a beautiful area…plus we spent time daydreaming about the incredible houses that lined the coast on the way there.
After that, we headed back toward Lihue to catch our flight back. SO HAPPY that we finally got to take a helicopter tour!