Kauai: Trip 2 – Day 1

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!

Na Pali Coast Snorkel

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!

Molokai: Trip 2

On Saturday, Josh and I went back to Molokai to do some things that got rained out on our first trip (we also got rained out two weeks ago when we tried to go back). We landed around 6:30 a.m. and headed to the Kualapu’u Cookhouse, which is where we had breakfast when we landed last year. We split the best breakfast sandwich we’ve ever had and some french toast (it reminded me of my mom’s). A great way to start our day/trip.

After breakfast, we headed towards Halawa Valley for our hike (the main reason we came back). We FINALLY had amazing weather. It was bright and sunny and we could not have asked for better weather. We took our tour with Molokai Flowers. I feel like they have become my best friends over the past year…I’ve ordered multiple boxes of flowers from them and have emailed back and forth trying to set up this tour. They are absolutely WONDERFUL! Kalani’s son gave us the tour and we had the trail and the waterfall completely to ourselves. It was so serene and peaceful…a very special place! After we hiked back, we had two different types of smoothies that Kalani made us from fruit on his farm. They were incredible! He even gave us some lilikoi to take back to make our own smoothies. They also gave us some beautiful pink torch gingers to take home. Some of the most beautiful flowers I’ve ever seen!

After filling up on smoothies, we started to head back to grab a late lunch. The drive is so incredibly beautiful (even better not in the pouring down rain). It also makes the road to Hana on Maui look super easy. The road is mostly one lane…but there’s not much traffic. We stopped at Mana’e Goods and Grindz for some chicken katsu. We had this on our last trip and it is the best chicken katsu I’ve had. After filling up on smoothies, we decided to split lunch.

After filling up, we headed towards the Kalaupapa Lookout and the Phallic Rock. With the weather being so gross the last time we were there, we didn’t get a chance to see either of these. The view from the lookout was incredible and the rock was…well phallic shaped. Women would come here and make offerings and pray for fertility. It was set in a beautiful forest and was a nice, quick walk.

After we finished, we headed to check in at Hotel Molokai. It was interesting. I think in the winter when it wasn’t so hot it would be fine…however, there wasn’t much of a breeze and it was pretty hot out..no AC and only a fan meant we wouldn’t be sleeping very well. We dropped off our stuff and headed to grab a quick bite to eat before we got HOT BREAD! We couldn’t wait to get bread…it was actually the reason we decided to stay the night and not just make it a day trip. The stuff is so good…last time we got strawberry jam and cream cheese. This time we got the works: cream cheese, strawberry jam, blueberry jam, cinnamon and butter. It sounds iffy but it’s incredible. We took most of it back with us (and have been eating it periodically throughout the day). After that, we headed back to the hotel. We were supposed to leave around 8:45 in the morning, but decided to stand by and leave around 7:00 a.m. since we knew we wouldn’t be sleeping anyways. Excellent decision. There were only nine people on our flight! Our trip was a complete success and it feels great to cross off another island!

Cousin Fun

Along with the adventures that I’ve already blogged about, Bailey, Kyle and I spent time hiking, going to the beach, eating tons of good food, enjoying the pool and touring Oahu in general. We had such a great time and I miss them already!! I’m so thankful they were able to come visit and I got to spend such quality time with them :).

Maui: Trip 2 – Day 1

On Saturday, Josh and I arrived bright and early on Maui to celebrate my friend Laura’s wedding. Our plan was to meet them around 9:30 to do the Four Waterfalls hike on the Road to Hana. Since we landed a few hours before that, we decided to stop in Paia for breakfast and to kill some time. However, before we even made it out of the airport Josh’s bag decided to quit on him. In a matter of 30 seconds he had all three straps break. First, the carry strap, then he picked it up by the handles and one of them broke and then finally we started walking again and the last one broke. He had to carry it the rest of the way without any handles. This early in the morning, we found it absolutely hilarious as it just disintegrated in front of us.

Josh and his disintegrated bag in the Maui airport.

Josh and his disintegrated bag in the Maui airport.

We headed to Charley’s in Paia because we were starving and it had great reviews for breakfast. I ordered the breakfast burrito and Josh had an omelet. We had planned on sharing (thank goodness) because mine was HUGE. I ate about 1/4 of it and made Josh eat the rest. All of it was delicious and I would highly recommend it to anyone. To top it all off, it is Willie Nelson’s favorite place for breakfast and we are 98% sure he walked in as we were finishing and hung out at the bar.

After breakfast, we changed and headed towards Hana to where we would start our hike. The hike would take us to four waterfalls. Two of which you could see staying dry. If you wanted to see the third and fourth waterfalls, you had to swim. We came prepared with our dry bag so we could take our camera to take pictures. We met up with everyone (SO HAPPY to see some of my best friends) and then started the hike. There were about 20 people total of friends and family that had come for the wedding. We hiked to the first and stopped for a bit to take pictures, then continued to the second to take more pictures. After that, we hiked up a ladder (with the help from a few ropes) then boulder hopped to the stream where we had to jump in to swim to the third waterfall. It was a BLAST!!! We all jumped in and swam up to the third waterfall. After that, we had to climb the falls and boulder hop again upstream to get to the final and biggest of the falls. It was beautiful! But I will say, the journey is what made it so fun. It was a great hike to do with a big group of people. See the pictures below!

After returning from the hike, we changed and drove back through Paia for lunch. We stopped and ate at the Paia Fish Market. It was delicious! Josh had a sandwich and I had blackened cajun fish. We then wandered around the town and headed to our hotel in Makena to check in and take much needed showers.

We checked in and then headed over to Big Beach to hang out with everyone for the rest of the day. It was beautiful and the sun was setting. After that, we headed back to the hotel and got ready for dinner. We all met at the bar in the hotel to just hangout and eat. I had one of the best cocktails ever (Dancing Koi). I don’t even know what was in it but it was fantastic. After hanging out and dinner, we all called it a night and headed to bed. It was a long day!

Kauai: Trip 1 – Day 1

Josh and I landed on Kauai Friday evening for our third trip to the island for a quick weekend away from Oahu. We were only an hour late (which is pretty awesome on an inter-island Island Air flight), but since everything on Kauai shuts down at 9:00 p.m., we had few choices for dinner. We grabbed food at Duke’s in Lihue and then checked into our hotel (Kauai Beach Resort).

The entire purpose of this trip was to take a helicopter tour of the island. In February of 2012, Josh and I hiked the Kalalau Trail along the Na Pali coast of Kauai. It was an ridiculous trip (for many reasons) and during those 22 miles there and back, we kept hearing all of the helicopters above us. We decided that we were coming back to Kauai and viewing our amazing hike from up above. We went back to Kauai in September of 2012 to do just that, but got rained out for our tour (shocking). However, I am happy to report that this trip was a COMPLETE success! We had the most amazing helicopter tour with Jack Harter Helicopters. We flew in a helicopter with doors off for a whole hour around the island. We had great weather and the views were incredible! It was by far the highlight of our trip :).

 

After our helicopter tour, we headed to Wailua River to go kayaking. We kayaked two miles upriver to Secret Falls (120 ft water fall). We hiked (much further than we thought) in extremely muddy conditions to the waterfall. I had flip flops on (horrible idea) and we were covered in mud by the time we left.

 

After kayaking, we went to view ‘Opaeka’a Falls. It was late in the day, so we didn’t get that great of a shot. But it was huge!

'Opaeka'a FallsAfter quickly stopping there, we went back to the hotel and got ready for dinner at Hukilau Lanai. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed some amazing food after a terrific day!

 

Mom’s Visit: Part Two

On Monday after I got off work, we went and hiked Manoa Falls so my mom could see a waterfall. I have done this hike a few times and it is usually muddy..but NOTHING compared to what it was this time. People were going barefoot because it was easier. The mud was pulling my shoes off my feet and it was very easy to fall! However, the hiking through the mud was definitely worth it…the waterfall at the end was amazing. It’s normally just a light trickle of water…but it was flowing beautifully when we got there! After that, we headed home to take a shower and went to have drinks and dinner. We ate pizza at JJ Dolan’s, drank well-earned drinks and had dessert at Du Vin.

 

Today after work, we ventured out around downtown and wandered through some of the stores. We also stopped at a crêpe place for lunch. For dinner, we had Cuban food (probably my favorite restaurant here) and tried a few new things that Josh and I hadn’t had yet. Everything was wonderful!

Maui: Trip 1 – Day 2

On Saturday, Josh and I decided to do the road to Hana, which is an entire day trip (we left around 7:00 a.m.). Our first few stops were Upper Puohokamoa Falls, Haipua`ena Falls and Lower Puohokamoa Falls. We missed Lower Puohokamoa Falls at first, but it was definitely the most impressive waterfall we saw all day at 200 feet. We backtracked about a mile and found the short trail to an incredible view of the impressive falls. The other two falls were beautiful as well, but much shorter.

 

We continued along the coast and made a variety of stops that included capturing some amazing shots of the Ke`anae Coast, the ribbon of the highway cut into the cliffs and Ching’s Pond. Ching’s Pond was filled with people jumping into it from the bridge along the highway. After watching a few people jump, we continued on and stopped at an adorable stand a few miles down the road called Halfway to Hana for a midmorning snack.

 

After our snacks, we continued on and stopped near the town of Wailua to check out the views from there. We climbed up some stairs at the Wailua Valley State Wayside and had a beautiful view of the Ko`olau Gap on one side an a great view of the tiny settlement of Wailua on the other side. After that, we drove about a mile and stopped at Upper Waikani Falls (sometimes called Three Bears Falls).

 

Our two stops were Hanawi Falls and Makapipi Falls (seriously so many falls). Makapipi Falls was unique because we stood on the bridge directly over it and could see how it fell into a large pool below. Different than the other waterfalls we had seen that day. Next to Makapipi Falls is Nahiku Road which lead to the community of Nahiku. Everything was so incredibly green and there were tons of beautiful flowers. After driving through the beautiful plants, we came to the end and had a beautiful view of the shoreline all the way to Ke`anae. We took a little path to a small waterfall and a pool that eventually lead to the ocean. After taking in the gorgeous views around us, we headed back up to Hana Highway to continue on.

 

Our next stop was at Coconut Glen’s for some dairy-free ice cream (made from coconut milk). It was sooooo good. We split the coconut ice cream and picked up some of their famous coconut candy. It was an interesting stop…Glen loves Willy Wonka and had decorated in that way…fairly odd but charming. After that, we stopped at Wai`anapanapa Park and explored Pa`iloa Black Sand Beach and found a really cool cave. There was also a sea arch and other lava tube caves to explore, but we didn’t have a flashlight or the time to stop.

 

We left Wai`anapanapa Park and finally made it to Hana! Our first stop in Hana was Hana Bay where tons of locals were swimming. The Pier was closed, but we knew there was a trail to a hidden red sand beach near there. This was probably my favorite part of our Hana trip. The trail leads about 200 yards along Ka`uiki Head that had a plaque at the end of the trail marking the spot near a cave where Ka`ahumanu (King Kamehameha the Great’s favorite wife) was born. It was so unreal to see this plaque in the middle of no where. There was also a small light beacon near the end of the trail and tons of amazing rocks to climb on.

 

After we hiked back to the car at Hana Bay, we headed to Red Sand Beach (Kaihalulu). The trail to the beach was on the side of a hill and was a bit rough in a few places, but nothing too difficult (much easier than the trail to the other red sand beach). This beach was much larger and there were people laying out, relaxing and enjoying the views. At the beginning of the trail to the beach, there is an ancient Japanese cemetery that was pretty interesting to see.

 

After the read sand beach, we headed out of Hana into Southeast Maui and stopped at (no surprise here!) Wailua Falls…yet another beautiful waterfall. Then we continued on to ‘Ohe’o Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools) where you can sometimes swim and enjoy the multiple waterfalls right by the ocean. They were closed to the public that day because it was raining, but they were still beautiful from up above!

 

After this, the landscape changed drastically from rainforest and incredibly lush to dry and desolate. Very different, but still very pretty. We drove all the way around Southeast Maui and continued into upcountry and back through Kahului. We stopped and had a MUCH anticipated dinner (our first real meal for the day) at Buzz’s Wharf. We were both starving and VERY ready to be out of the car! The Road to Hana definitely lived up to it’s amazing reputation. I’m sure we missed so many things along the way, but what we did get to stop at and enjoy was phenomenal.