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kauai: in and around waimea

To celebrate our collective birthdays this year, we decided to explore Kauai for a week and escape one of the wettest winters on record in the Northwest.   We arrived on the island late at night and drove the dark roads along the southern end of Kauai to find our lodging in the outpost of Waimea.   There is something to be said for arriving to a new place at night -- building the anticipation for what you might be surrounded by when morning comes.   Our house was tucked away up-country from the town and was a historic plantation house.  We settled in to sleep for a few hours before the roosters began their crowing at dawn.   

Morning came with bright sun streaming in and a cold breeze blowing through the screened-in living room.   Nick and Jonas had already ventured down to see what Waimea had to offer.   Coming down the hill to meet them, the temperature warmed quickly and we knew we had a beautiful day ahead of us to explore the Waimea canyon.   We stocked up on groceries (realizing all the cafes were closed for President's Day) and after a late pancake breakfast, we headed up the road. 

Jonas loved scrambling along the red dirt and we stopped at most of the lookouts so we could walk the trails and get different views of the canyon.  

Nick was also scouting out ideas for a solo hiking trip he might take later.   We tried to spend the whole afternoon walking around so that we could wait for sunset, but eventually things got a bit too cold and we had run out of places to go, so we headed back to our house to get some rest.  Still, we enjoyed some great vistas and got a bit of exercise. 

The following day also had a warm, sunny outlook, so we headed to Poipu for a bit of beach time and hopefully some hiking.   Poipu beach park was noted to have a good kids' area, but we might have missed that part and ended up with a bit more surf.   Still, the water was calm enough for Jonas and I to get out for some swimming and playing.  We even managed to get Nick in for about 2 mintues before he decided the water was too cold.   He prefered to lay out in the sun (and at one point became encircled by a group of older ladies doing their post water aerobics cool down on the sand).  

After getting enough sun, we went looking for lunch.  We ate excellent burritos at Da Crack, a mexican joint named for its locale (being not much more than a crack in a wall of a shopping center).  Whie we ate, we talked about our plans for the afternoon.   Given a choice between botanical garden and walking the lithified cliffs, Jonas picked the garden. We stopped first at Spouting Horn Park to watch a blowhole in the lava rock.  Then we opted to tour the McBryde garden since it was self-guided and the Allerton tour seemed more structured (and expensive).   The tour requires a shuttle ride through some private property and glimpse of the Allerton estate.  Our driver was quite the character and fed us bits of trivia along the ride.   

We explored all areas of the garden until the last shuttle departed.   Jonas especially enjoyed the mist tunnel and we spent lots of time activating the mist and then walking through.  There were lots of beautiful orchids and other tropical plants -- plus some information on how the organization is working to preserve native plants. We ended the day with a stop at the fancy market in Poipu and then home again for another early night.     

For our last full day, Nick took the car back up Waimea to do some more extensive hiking while Jonas and I walked to town for a sunny afternoon of exploring and a quest for shave ice.   We spent a good amount of time out on the pier watching some guys fish (their only catch was a baby hammerhead shark that they let thrash around on the floor, wanting to use it for bait).  The beach in Waimea isn't very welcoming (and the water is rough and muddy), so we went to town and debated on which Jo-Jo's shave ice we should try.  There are two within a stone's throw of each other and it doesn't appear that they have the same owner.   We went with the guide book recommendation and it was good although Jonas was a bit put off by the artificial taste of the syrup.  We lounged the rest of the day at our house and greeted Nick when he returned from his adventure.  

We headed out of Waimea the following day and took a slow and scenic route towards the north shore of the island.  We visited the oddly desolate menehune canal and suspension bridge just outside of Waimea (not really worthwhile), learned about the brief Russian involvement in the islands at the Russian Fort, and stopped by Salt Pond Park and Hanapepe.   Salt Pond ended up being a rather nice swimming area, so Jonas and I suited up and jumped in.   There was a large Monk Seal resting on the beach there as well.  

I dragged Jonas out of the water so that we could go find some lunch.  As we were toweling off, two more monk seals swam into the area we had just been in and frolicked around for quite awhile.  I was very glad they waited until we were out of the water to arrive! 

After watching the creatures for awhile, we headed into the Hanapepe and ate a very local-style lunch at Bobbie's.   Bobbie himself was there to explain the offerings and what exactly was in saimin.  Afterwards we checked out the suspension bridge which was much more impressive than the one in Waimea.  We also walked along the levy road.  

Heading back to the car, we made one last stop at a very local farmer's market for some fruit then hit the road for Kilauea, only stopping briefly in Kapaa for groceries so we could get in before dark.  

Reader Comments (1)

Love it that you had shaved Ice. Have never been to Waimea but back in the day, that was a huge surfing paradise. What a great beginning

April 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMom

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