Archive for February, 2014

Hanakapi’ai Falls

February 23, 2014

It’s Friday morning, January 24 – the last full day of our trip. Steph and Victor have several items on their agenda to attend to. Eric is pressing David and me. “Let’s do that hike you refused to do last year – to Hanakapi’ai Falls! – if not today then when would we ever do it?” (Okay, Eric, I guess if it’s on our bucket list, we old farts better do it NOW…) Last year we made it as far as Hanakapi’ai beach (I blogged about it last February) on the Kalalau trail, an 11-mile ridge trail along the Napali Coast.

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Hanakāpīʻai Beach is about 2 miles from the start of the Kalalau Trail but the trail climbs 600-ft to the ridge and then drops 600-ft to the beach.

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It’s a very popular hiking trail, but you’d better wear firm footwear and not do it during or after a solid rain. Parts of the trail are rocky and always muddy.

But today the weather is purr-fect!

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Oh – there’s that crazy sign posted near the descent to the beach –

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84 people have drowned at the beach? (Is this number higher than last year?… Who’s keeping track here, anyway?)

We’re at the beach now. I snap a photo:

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Then a video

Yeah, like we’re not going swimming because of ‘unseen’ currents.

Last year there were feral cats hanging out near the beach. They’ve had goats here in the past, too, but no sign of either one this year. What did we see? A mouse! Ha. (It’s true.) Anyway, here is a shot of the canyon leading up to the falls.

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‘Paradise.’

We crossed that stream (the Hanakapi’ai stream, of course) to get to the beach. Looks serene now, but I wouldn’t want to attempt the crossing after a considerable rain. In fact, I’d be heading back to the trail head now, if it started to rain. But the weather remains accomodating and exquisite.

Hitting the trail now toward the falls.

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Yep. It’s rocky. And muddy. I was careful not to get my shoes wet on the first river crossing, but just plunged my feet in the water by the time we crossed it the third and fourth time. There were five river crossings on the 2-mile hike to the falls.

We passed several outcroppings of bamboo.

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Not your average plant, height-wise

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Great chair material for the Sleeping Giant, you know, in case he wakes up.

The falls have come into view!

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I hardly take any photos getting to the falls. Too busy watching my footing with so many river crossings.

But don’t worry. I make up for the dearth of photos at the falls. (Are you ready for this?… turn up your sound…)

Close your eyes.

Now open them… play the video:

You’re there!

The falls are 300 feet high. Incredible.

First photo. Eric eating a sandwich …

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Okay, so I had to capture a ‘picture-perfect’ photo of that hot, cute, young female posing in front of the falls. No idea who she is.

My turn:

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Uh, maybe not as ‘picture-perfect’. How did David put it? … “The other girl’s body might be hotter, Jody, but your outfit is hotter.” (Thank-you for the kudos, honey) A photo of about anything with that falls as a backdrop qualifies as a fabulous photo.

Thus, Eric:

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David:

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David and me:

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Enough already!” You say?

One more video?

Okay so now we have to hike the four miles back to the trailhead.

No stopping at the beach. We just keep going, and going. Is that the trail ahead on that next ridge?

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Yep, sure is. Working our way toward it now

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across a pretty rough stretch of muddy rocks.

We’re trudging up that ridge now

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Wearing the tiredness on our bodies …

Yay! There’s the ocean! Ka’e beach (and the trailhead!) can’t be too far now …

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Yeah, right. It seems to take forever to get there.

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But we make it back to the entrance.

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A rooster greets us at the trail head, from where we started six hours ago

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As if to remind us to pause, take it in!! Savor it. “Pinch yourselves if you have to!”

The wonders of Kauai!

Tomorrow is our last day. In the evening we catch the red-eye back to Idaho. We’ve got to squeeze every bit of adventure we can out of the time we have left!

Eric is on it …

Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant)

February 15, 2014

On Kauai’s east side between Wailua and Kapaa is the Nounou mountain range, more famously known as “Sleeping Giant.”

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Looking at the ridge from afar you can make out what looks like a giant human figure lying on his back.

Local legend tells of a giant who attended a feast in his honor where the local villagers tricked him into eating such a vast amount of rocks hidden in fish and poi that he laid down for a nap and never awoke.

The trail (Nounou trail) is about a two-mile hike to the top of Sleeping Giant. We are hiking it today, Steph and Vic, Eric, David and I. The trailhead begins at Halelilo Road in Wailua.

Eric is rarin’ to go

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In his hideous Einstein t-shirt.

We climb in elevation from the get-go. I keep a constant eye on my feet – to maintain a solid footing – don’t think to look above my head …

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Yikes! Don’t want to upset that critter in any way.

Starting to enjoy some pretty wide vistas now

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We stop to take a break.

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It does feel at times that you could just fall right off the side of the mountain.

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Uh, I guess you could just fall right off the side of the mountain.

Closer view of the Giant’s head now.

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We’ve decided that the most protuberant point must be his chin.

We’re nearing the top now

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Have reached a picnicking area. We aren’t actually on the Giant’s head yet. Hey, can you read that sign?

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Nope, can’t read it. We do see a trail. Eric and David forge ahead. Okay, so we decide to follow- for maybe fifty feet – uh, when we run into another sign

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Can’t read this one either – hey, wait a minute… “go beyond this sign – please’

Okay.

We have to climb up to his chinny-chin-chin!

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David climbs ahead of me and shows me where to step

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I’m near the top now but skiddish to go any further – where David is:

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‘On top of the World, Ma!”

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Eric joins him. He’s identifying the landmarks below

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“Let me take your picture!”

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Haha. Problem of ‘eye-sore t-shirt’ solved.

We crawled through a few little tunnels on the top, nestled right in the flesh of his chinny-chin-chin.

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(I had to post this just to show off David’s butt- which to be honest, got soiled in a different manner than what you might imagine.)

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David had packed some beer in his pack, and ice with it, of course, to keep it cold. The ice melted and dripped over the seat of his pants and then he sat down on a dirty rock or something when he drank a beer…

Here we are inside the cave on top, Steph and Vic, David and I

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And posing on the edge…

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“Uh, you pose, and I’ll take the picture,” I said. (I wasn’t getting near the edge!)

Headed back down now. I watched David and Victor tackle this face before I attempted it.

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One last view of the chinnny-chin-chin!

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The foliage and blooms of Paradise…

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And one last closeup of the giant’s head. Thank goodness rocks take eons to digest!

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Driving back toward home now – long day!

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We’ll know tomorrow what conquering the Giant did to us today. Let’s see:

OLD FARTS – 1
GIANT – 0

Do you suppose that Giant is going to rear up one day – just lift his head, then his body; tear himself off the ground, raise up and come after the local villagers and gawking, bragging tourists in a mad rage?

Surf’s UP!

February 9, 2014

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High winds and surf rolled into Hawaii on Wednesday, January 22. The surf stayed high for 48 hours. According to one buoy northwest of the island of Kauai, the surf was at its highest level since 1986.

On Wednesday morning we take a stroll on the beach at Hanalei.

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To the end of the dock

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I take a couple photos of the roiling surf:

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Back on the beach a crew is cutting coconuts out of the palm trees

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to keep them from dropping on the heads of unsuspecting beach walkers like us.

We stop for lunch at the Kalypso in Hanalei

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Eric is buying.

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I captured some videos of the surf – this is Lumahai Beach – just a few miles beyond Hanalei- on the north coast of Kauai

Don’t want to get too close watching the waves through a camera lens …

On Thursday morning we head back over to Sea Lodge. The surf is definitely up

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No cruise ships on the horizon today…

One last video – of Sea Lodge Beach.

Here’s a link to an article in the L.A. Times about the storm surge with more photos and videos from Hawaii.

Wanna go swimming? Didn’t see any surfers out there on the beaches these two days.

Queens Bath – (Kauai – Part III)

February 7, 2014

“The Queen’s Bath is a tide pool about the size of a swimming pool, located below some cliffs in Princeville along a rocky shoreline.” (This is the description given in a tour guide.) “Like many ocean attractions, the area can be dangerous with those dangers difficult for tourists to identify.”

Hey Eric, remember, we are tourists.

He and David have forged ahead. I see these signs are posted everywhere

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Eric treks on out of sight. I capture a few photos of the waves crashing against the shoreline.

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And then a video…

Another group of tourists are there. From Alaska. One is a serious photographer toting a telephoto lens as big as her calf. They jump down on the rocks below us. I’d sure like to see her photos and video, that is, if the ocean didn’t devour them…

Feeling pressed for a lunch date, David and I decide to turn back – this might be a better attraction to see in the summer, anyway. Eric catches back up to us before we make it back to the car.

The weather is sunny and exquisite so after lunch we head out to explore several other local attractions. This time my sister Steph is along. Our first stop is the ‘lava pools’ which we don’t see because of the tide. But the scenery is worth it.

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Eric, Steph and I gather together on a rock for David to take a picture of us, a fine picture indeed with Secret Beach in the background. Except Eric is holding a beer bottle between his legs and David suggests that maybe for the photo Eric should conceal the bottle. I think, no problem, let big sister intervene here –

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I could just hide the bottle with my hand (I guess is what I was thinking)

“Jody, I don’t think you want to show this picture on your blog.”

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Hahaha! Eric, this is all your fault. If you didn’t require so much adult supervision these things wouldn’t happen.

Anyway, we finally settle into a proper pose:
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Had you noticed that in the far distance on the penninsula you can see the Kilauea Lighthouse? No?

Next we head over to what we called “surfer beach’ – you can pull right off and park right there at the beach and you can actually swim and surf the beach. And picnic with your dogs. Well, we didn’t stay long, but there were a few surfers. I captured this video of the beach which I have entitled: “Who Let the Dogs out on Surfin’ USA”:

In the beginning you can just hear the Beach Boys singing “Surfin’ USA” (okay, if you’re over 55) and then the song “Who Let the Dogs Out’ butts right in and then gives way to the the surfin’ song again. (An imaginary sound track. Hmmm. Nice touch…) Yeah, right.

Well, that brings us to Monday afternoon, Jan 20. Nearly half our trip is over …

Kauai – Part II

February 3, 2014

To continue at the dump where we left off … Yeah, well, as aroused as Eric might have been at the prospect of hanging out (so to speak) on a nude beach – we had to consider the question: Would we willingly accost our own eyes with full frontal or derrier views of anyone remotely near the age of 60 and beyond? People like US? NO. Nude beaches are for voyeurs and exhibitionists – YOUNG SUPPLE ONES.

“Not on my bucket list, Eric.”

We headed over to Sea Lodge in Princeville where we could hike down to the ocean – another ‘anger us’ hike in wet weather, but a pretty safe bet today, with the scant amount of rain we’ve had.

I snapped a picture of the shoreline from the trailhead…

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It’s a beautiful but challenging hike. I’m too busy trying to keep my footing to take photos, but I do capture this one:

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We’re down now. At the shore. I pose for a photo, trying to contain my senses

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standing on the rocks – enveloped in cool sea mists with the surf crashing behind me.

I captured the moment in a video (turn up your sound). David inadvertantly adds a funky sound track of “Ah – ooo – ooo – ooo’s and AH- ah- ah- ah’s…

That’s a Princess cruise ship on the Horizon, or Carnival Lines, or something. And about a hundred people are throwing up right now from norovirus.

Eric, don’t strain so hard to smile, you could get naked –

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we’ve found such a remote spot here…

Time to hike back up-

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rest our chests in the banyan forest.

The weather stayed clear – so we decided to embark on another adventure before noon per Eric’s suggestion – to the Queen’s Bath.

We pass a waterfall on the hike down, you know, your average every day waterfall on Kauai…

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Which is pretty much what ‘Paradise’ looks like if one were to imagine it.

We’ve reached the shoreline, scrambling across rocks now –

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toward the Queen’s Bath. I stumble a bit – then come upon this plaque. Don’t know why the picture is sideways, maybe it’s my stumble, or nerves, or both …

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Yeah, well, I wouldn’t protest getting swept off my feet, if the occasion offered, but ‘out to sea’ would be another matter. Of course, with Eric in the lead, we have to find the Queen’s Bath, and explore about every square inch of it along the way.

Princeville, Kauai

February 1, 2014

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Aloha! Are you ready to embark on another virtual trip to Paradise?

“NO!” You say? You hate me? You don’t want to read another series of seemingly endless blogs about yet another one of our trips to Kauai?

Awwwww….

What can I say? My sister and her husband own a house in Princeville and they invited us (David and me, and my brother Eric, a.k.a. ‘mountain goat’) back again this year. And I was NOT going to blog about this Jan 16-26, 2014 trip. ABSOLUTELY NOT. That is, until our first morning walk, when we ran into this sign at the edge of the golf course in Princeville:

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Haha. It’s posted at the path that descends to Anini Beach.

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Which, you’d better step carefully in snug shoes with deep treads to avoid this happening to your butt on your way down

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And stop to rest your heaving chest as you grind your way back up.

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We walked on the golf course about every morning.

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Greeted along the sidelines by it’s perky inhabitants.

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The Kauai state birds. Okay, not the feral chickens in that first photo (haha), but that second set of birds – the ones with zebra-like markings and bands on their legs. They are the Nene Goose, or Hawaii state bird. And they are on the Federal List of Endangered Species. During the 1940s, the Nene were almost wiped out by laws which allowed the birds to be hunted during their winter breeding seasons when the birds were the most vulnerable. The Nene is threatened today by introduced mongooses and feral dogs and cats which relentlessly prey upon the Nene’s eggs and young. Preservation efforts are continuing and the success of the Nene in Hawai’i, although not a certainty, is promising. There are now about 800 wild Nene in Hawai’i and the numbers are rising with each breeding season (to quote the linked article).

Along the golf course you will invariably hear the beak claps and calls or witness the gyrating mating dance of the Albatross.

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There was an Albatross nesting just off the paved golf cart path.

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Meet “Moli” the Layson Albatross. The species nests on Kauai from November through July. These birds mate for life and both parents take care of the chick. A single egg is laid in December and is incubated for approxiamtely 2 months. In early February the chicks hatch. After two weeks chicks are left alone, often for a few days, while parents are feeding at sea, returning regularly to feed the chick. In late June or early July, the chicks take their first flight to the sea and do not return for 3-4 years. (This information comes from the sign.)

Feeling obliged to be of some assistance around the house, Eric and David took a load to the dump. (I’m always such a big help, tagging along with my i-Phone.)

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Eric can’t be satisfied with just dumping the trash, of course, he has to scope out every potential new adventure no matter the setting. Well he found one right there at the dump.

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Yeah, Eric, like we’re going to scope out a nude beach, enticed by the teaser from you …

Whatdoyathink? Shouldn’t visiting a nude beach in Kauai be on everyone’s bucket list?

Stay tuned …