Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Hawaii - Kauai Part II

I'm here to finish out the last blog from our trip to Hawaii.  Before we get too far though, I think I need to put in a quick disclaimer...I am NOT a Bears fan.  In fact, I seriously considered not including a single picture of me wearing that terrible shirt, but there were too many goodies to do that.  It was cold, we were on vacation and I wore a Bears shirt.  End of story.

Now that we've got that out of the way, back to our Hawaiian adventures.  After having one relaxing day on the beach we had a kayak and hike planned for Friday.  This was probably the most "normal" activity we did the entire trip and it was nice to know that we wouldn't be pushed out of our comfort zone...just a nice paddle and hike to waterfall.

The trip itself was enjoyable.  Our tour guide though, she was something else!!  Her  name was Julie and I kid you not she did the entire tour barefoot.  Ok, so kayaking barefoot doesn't sound that strange, but we hiked for about an hour in the middle of the tour and the entire hike was made up of ground covered in roots like in the above picture.  Roots, rocks, tree did NOT look like the place to be walking around without shoes on.

Julie also had a drum that she carried with her in her dry bag.  After leading us to the waterfall where we had lunch with about 50 other tourists (not ideal and VERY unlike the waterfall repel adventure) she played the drum the entire hike back to our kayaks.  She was a strange one....  

Saturday was our last full day on the island.  Since we'd already had one hike completely rained out we decided that we'd try to see the Napali coast from the lower hiking trails, accessed on the northern side of the island.  Hawaii had been having some huge surfs in the weeks leading up to our trip, some warnings mentioned 50-60 foot swells so we decided to head north to see if we could catch some of the huge waves (from the beach...not in the water) and hike the Napali coast.

Well, guess what, it rained.  And rained and rained.  Much like our first hike, we spent 4.5 hours hiking in the rain.  It would clear at times, but it was always wet and the rain would always return a few minutes later.  Don't mind us...that's our "there's a giant 500 foot tsunami headed our way" faces.  Totally realistic, right?

It rained.  It was cold.  We were wet and just wanted ONE hike to be enjoyable...but yet, we still had a great time.  This hike though was not for the faint of heart....or for nice shoes.  You see, we saw PLENTY of people that should not be hiking this trail.  Like the two girls who looked like they were headed to the mall, white and gold high-tops, purses slung over their shoulders, expensive leggings and all.  There were people in flip flops and people carrying babies.  I mean, we certainly can't judge too much.  We believe in taking the kids nearly everywhere and not letting them slow us down.  We're the first to strap on backpacks and load up the kids to hike.  Shoot, I hiked up two vertical ladders carrying 5 week old Hazel in a Bjourn on my stomach (you know...5 weeks postpartum). We however, would not have hiked this trail with the kids.  

We did however see some beautiful views!!  Like this one, which is now the wallpaper on my phone.

The Napali trail is an 11 mile out and back (so 22 miles total) that ends at a beach where backpackers come to camp out.  You need to apply for a permit to hike the full trail and sleep out there on the beach.  About 4 miles in there is a waterfall that we'd originally wanted to hike to.  But, between the rain, the mud and the 2.5 hours it took us to go just half way, we gave up when we got to this little beach/river.  Most tourists that choose to do this hike probably end here at this point where we too turned around.

Hundreds of people have died on this beach.  It is located right at the mouth of the river (that's formed from the waterfall we wanted to visit) where the river meets up with the ocean.  The tides at the beach change quickly and adding in the water rushing down from the waterfall this area is prone to flash flooding, trapping people on the beach where the tide quickly rises and pulls them out to sea.  In fact, there was a sign along the trail with tally marks for those who had died hiking the trail.  Scary!

I was so freaked out in fact that I had zero intention of crossing the river to get to the beach.  Zero.  Ryan, Chris and Brenna all made it across safely and I stayed planted on the other side.  After watching an eight or nine year old boy cross back and forth probably 5 times, screwing around I got up the never to cross as well.  I figured if he could do it...I could do.  But, that's how people end up in situations they shouldn't be in....I'm fully aware.  I finally crossed over, and while I'm glad I did, I didn't stay long.  I was the first to say "Ok, that's enough, the rain is coming down and we gotta move".

I gotta say though, that view was amazing.  The little rock sculptures people build made it even more interesting.  Not a beach in it's normal sense...certainly not a place you'd want to lay a towel down on and catch some rays, but beautiful all the same.

I debated including this picture...because, well, you know....but decided it made me happy.  Reminds me that we were there to celebrate 5 years of marriage.  And hopefully many more butt-grabbing years to come.

The hike back was shorter than the way down, which was a relief.  By the time we'd made our way back to the car we were all soaked, covered in mud and exhausted.  We rinsed off at the public bathrooms/outdoor shower and made our way back towards civilization where we had plans to meet up with Chris's second cousins, Rob and Sherry.  They own a house near Hanali on Kauai and invited us up for dinner on Saturday night.

After having spent the last 10 days together just the four of us, we were all excited to hear other people talk and hear some new stories.  Rob and Sherry had a beach BBQ planned for us but with the rain and cool temperatures we decided to just stay put and enjoy their lanai....and wine!  The graciously let us use their showers (trust me, we needed it) and we had a great evening recounting our trip, learning more about the island and just relaxing.  It was the perfect end to a perfect vacation.

If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that we can vacation with Chris and Brenna any time.  If  you can still laugh and be friends after spending 10 days traveling together, you can do anything!  Let's start planning (and saving!) for our 10 year anniversary trip!  I vote Machu Picchu.  You guys in??

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