You would think that the more I travel the shorter my bucket list gets; however, that is not the case. My thirst for travel and new adventures just continues to grow the more I see. Included in my must visit list are Peru, Australia, New Zealand, the Grand Canyon, and Hawaii. Recently, my retired father recently returned from a trip to Kauai, further filling my desire to wander West to the Hawaiian islands. Like myself, I bet the below guest post written by my father will inspire you to wander to Kauai.
Because of time constraints I only had a few days to visit Kauai. In retrospect, visiting Kauai for only a few days is a sin (the most appropriate word). As retribution, I promise myself that I will return.
I picked up a car in Lihue and drove a very short distance to what the guide books call one of the best beaches in Kauai, Kalapaki Beach. It was beautiful. It is shaped like a horseshoe and protected by a jetty. Just a few steps from the beach across a manicured lawn and in front of the Marriott Resort was a nice restaurant where I enjoyed a beer and a snack. Toward the back off the restaurant ,there is a waterfall with surrounding pools of water. Passing by the falls, leads you into the Marriott Resort. As I was on a budget, I couldn’t stay there, but I could at least walk through. (Who knows the next time I am here I might be rich!) The grounds were beautifully decorated and in the lobby was an antique outrigger canoe. It must have been at least sixty feet long and carved out of beautiful hard wood. It was from the mid-eighteen hundreds and had belonged to the royalty of Kauai.
Next, I drove toward Waimea Canyon (pictured above and left). I passed by a beach that was not in the guide book: MacArthur Park. There was a life guard there on this almost deserted beach. to the left the beach was half a mile long and to the right I walked mort than a mile with no end in sight. MacArthur Park is a secret that I will only share with my best friends (or readers of Ms Traveling Pants’ blog).
I drove highway 552 that parallels Waimea Canyon, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is smaller, 3,567 feet deep and a mile wide, but no less spectacular. The steep walls, unlike the Grand Canyon, are covered with vegetation. I stopped at one of the several look out points. As I as walked toward the best view, I saw a man dressed in what looked a grass skirt, head gear, and carrying a spear. I thought perhaps I was not in the right place. Actually, the young man worked for the park service and provided information about the Canyon and the first settlers who arrived in Kauai about 700 AD. The head gear he was wearing was something like the original inhabitants would have worn to protect their heads from the long voyage in open canoes. He said that according to oral history the first settlers knew that Hawaii was there before leaving Tahiti. Still a spectacular feat to travel 2,000 miles in an open outrigger canoe and bring everything with them that that the would need to survive.
As icing on top of my Kauai cake, I headed back to Lihue for nothing less than a the helicopter ride. All the guide books say that if you do nothing else in Kauai you must take a helicopter ride over and in Waimea Canyon, Na Pali coast, and Mt. Walaleale. The guide books were right. You must do the helicopter ride! (picture from beside the pilot in the helicopter over the Na Pali coast below)
I look forward to seeing Kauai from a helicopter, hiking trail, beach, and more. Where I’m sure I will gather more good times and good stories!