Kauai, Hawaii, the Garden Isle:

We ended our slow trip from California to Arizona at cousin Bob and Barbara's house. Bob had confirmed with the across-the-street neighbor, Adonis, that we could park in front of his house. We parked there, but before you knew it, a law enforcement officer was knocking on our door. We answered the door and were prepared to move. To our surprise it was Adonis with a welcome greeting and a bottle of wine! Tough neighborhood!

1) Off to Kauai: Ellen waits in the airport for our gang to check in. 2) Ellen figured schmoozing with our pilot couldn't hurt. Turns out it was just cousin Bobby!

1) Barb and Bob's two bedroom condominium is in Princeville on the North side of Kauai. It is surrounded by a golf course with grass, houses with grass, hotels with grass, apartments with grass, condominiums with grass and a few open grass areas. 2) The timeshare had this pool, a new larger pool being built, a tennis court and club house. You could be happy spending your week right at the resort, but withing a few miles is the majestic Hanalei bay.

This was our first view of Hanalei Bay from the roadside view point. Hey, look, there's grass!

The sandy beach stretches all along the bay. This panoramic photo surrounds the pier at Hanalei Bay Beach. At the point in the distance where mountain meets the ocean is Ke'e (kay-ay) Beach. Ke'e is the start of the Kalalau Trail you'll see later in this travelogue.

1) Ellen stands on Hanalei Bay Beach pier, thinking she has met actor John Goodman. Nope, just Bobby again! 2) This bay surfer was out quite far into the rough waves from a recent storm.

If you don't get a free invite to Princeville, Kauai, you can always book a week at the St. Regis, overlooking Hanalei Bay, for just $600 per night.

1) Bobby and Barbara, generous and gracious hosts, pose here at Hanalei River. While we did not, we were encouraged by several friends to rent paddle boards on the bay. You can use the calm river to practice your balance before you head into the waves. 2) From the condo, it was short drive and short walk to the Queen's Bath. This waterfall is along the trail to the bath.

The first day we went to the Queen's Bath, the stormy waves made for spectacular photos.

The bath this day was more a whirlpool that would caress you, spin you and smash you into the rocks. The view was great. Ellen and Bobby returned later in the week and entered the calm bath for a look at the sea life.

The Kilauea Lighthouse sits on the northernmost land of the inhabited Hawaii Islands. A perfect spot for a lighthouse, the 31 acres were purchased by the US Government in 1909 for $1.00. While electronic systems have replaced the need for lighthouses, there is still a beacon viewable for small watercraft. Beautifully restored, tours of the Kilauea Lighthouse are available for a fee.

Kauai is filled with waterfalls. Billed as the "rainiest spot on Earth", Mount Wai'ale'ale averages 452 inches of rainfall per year for a month average of 37.6 inches. At times the waterfalls coming off the mountain top turn "on and off" each day. Most waterfalls on the island must be accessed on foot. The Okaekaa Falls can be seen from an overlook on Hwy 580 coming west out of the town of Kapaa. The 151 foot falls will vary greatly in width depending of the rainfall of the day.

Just across the road from the fall viewpoint, you can see the Wailua River. 1) Notice a little spot of color in the river in the left-side photo. 2) Using the incredible 30 times zoom of our Sony CyberShot HX200V camera, you can clearly see what it is. What a camera! What a country!

1) On the south side of the island the terrain is a bit drier but no less interesting. This is Spouting Horn which erupts every few seconds with the height depending of the tide and storm activity. Nearby Spouting Horn was Kukuiula Seaplume, a blowhole that spewed water as high as 200 feet! According (not verified) to various web references the salt water was damaging nearby sugar cane fields and the Seaplume was blown up in the 1920's. 2) Either way the turtle near Spouting Horn is not impressed.

Hanalei Valley, just a short distance inland from Hanalei bay, is gorgeous like the rest of Garden Isle. We met "Jeff" on the plane ride to Kauai. Jeff, a local, recommended a hike up the valley. You see the river and to the right a little road. Jeff said to follow the road to its end, ignore the "keep out" signs and hike to a beautiful secret waterfall.

So off we went, past the signs, past the giant bamboo forest and onto the river. The trail was level all the way; not up. Never found the falls, but we were able to get this photo and return with very muddy shoes.

A short distance before the end of the road was the Okolehao Trail to the Hanalei Bay lookout. This trail was moderate to strenuous and also very muddy as it had rained the day before. Reaching the lookout offered confirmation that it would be pretty on another day.

Our next day offered sunshine and a chance to hike the Kalalau trail. Starting at Ke'e Beach, this trail is strenuous to strenuous with a touch of strenuous. The full trail is 11 miles long and reaches Kalalau Beach but this requires camping gear, permits and 10+ hours one way. We chose to go only 4 miles to Hanakapi'al Falls. This first photo is only about 1/2 mile from the start.

You never lose sight of the ocean and beaches along the hike. The trail starts at sea level and goes drastically up, then down, then up, then down, then up/down, up/down, up/down ... we don't know how many times.

Hanakapi'al Beach is only two miles in. We started at sunrise and had the trail to ourselves, taking about 90 minutes of strenuous hiking to reach the beach. The creek flows through these boulders just a few feet before it meets the ocean.

The beach was just lovely. But don't go in the water; it can be very dangerous and there is no one to help you if need be.

Now, off to the falls. We believe the trail to the falls just goes up. Hmm! Two more miles up, two miles down, then two miles of up/down, up/down. Yeah, right!
Did we mention it was strenuous? We were told by those that made, it's worth the strain. Maybe next time, we'll start before dark, wear hiking boots, pack more water and food and make it to the falls. One of many great views heading home.

Proof that we really took the trail. This very large spider was suspended over the cliff between two trees that were 20 feet apart.

More of the Na Pali Coast.

Beautiful multi-colored waters of Ke'e Beach, our ending point, yay!

We got dozens of great photos like this. You can get some of these only 30 minutes into the hike.

Back at sea level, Pete and Bobby go snorkeling at Anini Beach. Ellen and Bobby went the day before and it was chock full of fish, turtles, eels and other fun stuff. Bobby brought his underwater digital camera, the Canon Powershot D10.

Just to clarify, the shot on the left is NOT underwater and NOT a Spotted Eel. That's on the right.

We saw many Green Sea Turtles, this one about four feet long.

Well, it's our last day and we drove to and up the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. 1) The base of the canyon can be seen from a roadside viewpoint on Hwy 50. A long but beautiful drive up the Hwy 550 reveals the great depth and width of the canyon. It's luck whether you will get good photos or not. Remember, you are only 10 miles from the rainiest spot on Earth. 2) This photo at least shows the canyon. The other four or five lookouts were completely fogged in on this day.

We hope you enjoyed your time and get a chance to get to Kauai, it truly is one big garden. God is a good creator!


We have to give a big Mahalo shout out to our cousins. To Barb and Bobby who invited us to join them: Thank you for your generosity and for allowing us to spend this week with you. You are an awesome part of our family. To Kerry and Dennis who stored the Mothership at their house and cared for Mandy. It may seem like a small deal to you but our biggest concern in taking this trip was Mandy's well being. Allowing her to stay in her own home at your home gave us peace of mind.

We love all you cousins,

Pete, Ellen and Mandy

Mandy says woof to Mattie and Chuck.

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