Kauai 10/14

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Back to aloha land for a quick visit...

Waimea Canyon Pu'u O Kila trail: Ocean view through Na Pali cliffs

An opportunity arose for a quick solo Fall visit to the Garden Island. Having recently visited Kauai with Craig in December 2012, I set off for three days to see and photograph places on the island that I had never been to armed with a black convertible Mustang, my DSLR and a set of fast prime lenses. The weather cooperated beautifully with just a few quick afternoon showers while I was there and the remnants of Hurricane Ana the prior week to keep the waterfalls flowing and the skies clear. After a noon touch down at Lihue, I drove north ~20 minutes to my hotel, the Coconut Beach Courtyard, in Kapaa.

Thursday October 23rd - Northern drive to Ke'e Beach

 

I did a quick turnaround at my hotel, put the top down on the Mustang and headed north, or counterclockwise, skirting the east and north coasts. My first stops were at the Kilauea Point lighthouse and wildlife sanctuary (first two pictures below), which was worthwhile ($5 entry). Around mid-afternoon I continued farther west through Princeville to the end of the road at Ke'e beach. I spent the rest of the afternoon there, eating a late lunch on the beach and snapping some sunset shots (third and fourth pictures below) before the long night drive back to Kapaa.

Sunset over Poipu beach near Spouting Horn

Kilauea lighthouse

Kilauea lighthouse coastline

Na Pali coast from Ke'e beach

Ke'e beach sunset strollers

 

Friday October 24th - South and west coasts, then up through Waimea Canyon

 

I woke early, ate a quick breakfast on my balcony from the supplies I had picked up on my way back from Ke'e beach on Thursday night and hit the road south and west, or clockwise, by mid-morning. My first stop was in the historic small town of Hanapepe, which didn't have much to offer except for its hanging bridge (first picture below). Continuing west along the southern coast I stopped near Waimea to cross its remote hanging bridge (second picture below) before continuing on to Waimea town where I walked the beach park surrounding the red dirt filled Waimea river delta. Before heading farther west and north, I made a stop at the famous Jo Jo's Anuenue Shave Ice, which fully lived up to its hype (add macadamia nut ice cream in the center - spectacular). There are two Jo Jo's - the one owned and operated by the original founder is just before downtown on a close side street, NOT on the main drag.

 

Hanapepe hanging bridge

Waimea hanging bridge

Along the dirt road to Polihale beach

Strolling along Polihale beach

 

Passing by the Waimea Canyon turnout and therefore leaving the tourists behind, the coast road (50) turns north along the west coast past Barking Sands Missile Range. The west coast of Kauai is hot and dry and the climate change was pronounced on this segment of my drive. At the end of the paved road, a very bumpy and slow dirt road (third picture above) meanders for about 5 miles to Polihale Beach, which was nearly deserted when I visited (fourth picture above). Situated at the base of the west end of the Na Pali cliffs, the views from this miles-long, sand-dune bordered beach were excellent (first picture below). Since the afternoon was still young, I decided to head back before sunset and use the opportunity to return to Waimea Canyon (second picture below). The best view in my opinion in all of Waimea Canyon is out toward the ocean (large picture top of page left) along the mesmerizing Pu'u O Kila trail (third picture below). Coming out of Waimea Canyon in the late afternoon I headed to Spouting Horn, near Poipu Beach on the southeast shore, where I set up my tripod for a sunset shot (large picture top of page right) before heading back to my hotel for the evening.

 

Na Pali from Polihale beach

Waimea Canyon overlook

Pu'u O Kila trail in clouds

Opaekaa falls

Wailua falls

 

Saturday October 25th - East coast waterfalls

 

After the prior two rewarding, but busy driving days, I spent most of Saturday relaxing and reading on the beach and on my balcony sipping some good wine and snacking on macadamia nuts and cheese. I took a couple of short trips mid-day to the waterfalls on the east side of the island (third and fourth pictures above) and did a high-calorie, high-sugar lunch at another famous shave ice place in Kapaa, Ono Ono - fantastic with macadamia nut ice cream in the center and a coconut "snowcap". For dinner I walked to Lemongrass Seafood Grill where the chef cooked up the best sea bass that I ever ate with a macadamia nut crust and a mango guacamole sauce.

 

On Sunday I did a 4 mile walk along the beach and bike path in the morning with a stop for a great, but huge, breakfast at Olympic Cafe. In the late morning and afternoon I settled in for some football before heading to the airport and my return flight to LA. All-in-all another short and great getaway to a tropical paradise.

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