Monday, June 25, 2012

Kalapaki Beach & Waimea Canyon

This post will highlight the sights we saw in Hawaii including the beaches we visited. In the next post, I'll link to each restaurant with a brief review.


After settling in on Sunday, we drove 15 minutes south to the Kauai Marriott Resort to have dinner. Of course, as soon as we walked onto this property, Chris said "why didn't we stay here??" The Marriott was more of a resort than our own Kauai Beach Resort in that it was big in size and stature. Next time, okay? :)

The beach in front of the Marriott is the Kalapaki Beach. It is a nice size beach with calm waves in a cove type setting. Don't let the clouds fool you. It was still warm!

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Monday was a big day! Chris insisted on not having a set schedule and lots of timed events. He wanted to go to the beach, lay by the pool and just relax. But I couldn't go all the way to Kauai without some type of adventure so I woke up at 5:00 a.m. Monday morning (it felt like 8 a.m. so I was wide awake), got in the car and drove 38 miles (75 minutes) to Waimea Canyon State Park. This is called the "Grand Canyon of Hawaii" and I didn't want to miss out, even if it meant going alone....which I was perfectly fine with!

Anytime I saw a sign that said "Lookout Point 1000 ft" I stopped. This was somewhere along the freeway. I think it was about 5:45 a.m. at this point. 10 minutes to sunrise.
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After I finally reached the official entrance of the park, I climbed (well, the car did) up narrow roads. I saw another turnout point, not an official one but I love a view, and stopped for a bit.

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I think that that point, I was about 1000 ft above sea level...and climbing fast.

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My first official lookout point. It was WINDY as hell.


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 Let me explain why I look so uneasy. First, I thought I was going to get knocked down by the wind so I was taking this picture with my iphone since holding my dslr with one hand seemed dangerous to me. Second, I was the only person up there. It was about 6:30 a.m. I still had cell phone reception but as I stood up there admiring this gorgeous view, I started to feel a bit scared. Scared in the "I could be murdered up here" type of way. So I climbed off of the lookout area and ran back to my car. I saw another car parked next to mine and started to freak out. I had my key in my hand and my belongings out of my pockets so I could jump in the car quickly. I didn't see anyone in the drivers seat which scared me even more because I was then worried that someone was hiding behind a tree waiting to murder me. I didn't see anyone so I got in my car and sped off. Fast. Very fast. Eek.

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Those fears didn't stop me though. Oh no. I kept climbing. 

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Chickens are ALL OVER Kauai. Every where.
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I didn't stay at that lookout long (freak out factor) before I forged on. The next lookout point was 7 miles up the road. For some reason, in my head, 7 miles didn't seem that long. But on a windy, twisty road, it is FOREVER. I lost cell phone reception somewhere along the way and there were a few cars on the road but mostly trucks that were going to several work sites located in the mountains.

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I passed by a super cute camp site on my way up and when I finally reached my destination...well, the "will I get murdered" fears were kinda worth it considering I didn't get murdered.

Going up near the end of the road at Kok'ee State Park.
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The Kalalau Valley

It was even windier up there but I was moved to tears, no joke. It was breathtaking. I was literally running from one end to the other like a hyper little kid.
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Hello Waterfalls. HELLO WATERFALLS. So excited.
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Sadly, I didn't realize that there was one more lookout point (Pu’u o Kila Lookout, 5140 ft. up. DAMNIT. I can't believe I missed it.) and I turned back down the road to go home. I left Kalalau Lookout at 7:35 which was exactly 2 hours after getting in my car at the hotel. I hadn't eaten breakfast and didn't have a drop of liquid in my stomach so I knew I needed to stop somewhere along the way and grab a bite to eat. And I knew I needed to call Chris but cell phone reception going back down didn't come back as fast as I'd hoped. He ended up calling and wondering where the hell I was. I was nearly to the small town of Waimea at that point and was looking at about an hour drive back. It was 8:00 a.m. I told him to go to breakfast without me and I should be back at the hotel at 9:00 a.m. I stopped at the Kookie Kompany in Hanapepe and got a donut, water and some small peanut butter chocolate cookie bites for later (or now, whatever).

Hawaiians take their speed limits very seriously so I got stuck behind a guy going 40 in a 50 zone and hit a lot of traffic going through construction just before getting into Lihue but I pulled into the parking lot at 9:05. I'm so good at timing travel!

Was this worth the 3.5 hours? YES YES YES. I would do it all over again in a second.  I wish Chris would have come with me if for nothing else than to have someone take pictures of me but it was quite the solo adventure. I loved every second of it. There are a lot of hiking trails in the park that are supposed to be awesome but I'm not much of a hiker and wouldn't have even thought of braving a hike alone. Especially not at 6:30 in the morning.

This is a super long post so I'll blog tomorrow about our Wailua River cruise, Wailua Falls as well as Hanalei and Poipu Beaches.

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