Posts Tagged ‘Kauai’

Aloha, Kauai!

March 19, 2023

Kauai 2023 – Part 4

I feel weird, like I’ve left us marooned in Kauai. I have to get us back home. Spring in Idaho is nigh upon us! (Yeah, right.) Somehow I can’t move on from Kauai until I wrap up our January 2023 trip and get us safely home again.

Our last hike was on the Club Med Ruins path in Princeville on the north shore where we enjoyed gorgeous views of Hanalei Bay from the east and checked out the surfers. Well now we are in Hanalei Bay walking the beach. Here you see a view of the ‘dock of the Bay’ looking north – that greenery in the background is where we were walking yesterday – where the failed Club Med and other resorts were never built.

Okay so you’re walking the beach with us now. Here’s a video. Feel the ocean breeze on your face and the sounds of the roiling surf:

Let’s walk the whole expanse of the beach and back again. Oh, wait a minute. Too late. While we were busy taking photos and videos the rest of the group made it to the end of the bay and are already on their way back toward the dock.

That’s Eric, David and Victor on the far left side of the photo. Steph is on the far right – she likes to walk along the shore and soak her feet in the salt water.

And look who washed up the beach!

A mermaid named Megan!

We pull up in the parking lot behind the Hanalei Market. I’m always dragging behind. But when I climb out of the car I can’t help but take a photo. Check out the view!

We shop for a bunch of organic food. Yum! Eric’s got the goods.

I hope Sasquatch doesn’t carry Eric off on his bicycle

Oh but there’s a high surf today so of course we have to drive just a few miles further north on the northern tip of Kauai to Lumaha’i Beach! You pull off the side of the road above the beach and park. Then walk down a short, steep, windy path to the beach. Whoa. No swimmers today. Better stay back a ways from the crashing surf! Here, I took a photo. And a video …

I leaped up onto a ledge when a rogue wave came crashing in – almost lost my sandals. Ran into a couple on the ledge. They allowed that it wasn’t a smart move to be standing on the beach today taking videos. (Smart for tourists, though, who may never make it back here?) Yeah, do you know what the locals call this beach? they said. LumaDIE’ i beach. Oh!

To give you a little perspective on what a Lumadie’i surf might look like, here’s a You tube video – ‘Big surf at Lumaha’i January 28, 2016.’ (This might be the same You tube video I shared in a previous blog – but it’s worth sharing again.) Let me just say, a lot of girls in string bikinis risked their young lives to bring you this video, which, I assume is not being taken by their parents:

We’re headed back up to the car now, on a path through a mini-jungle.

You’re welcome, fellas! Hey, this is Kauai.

But before we leave the island, I must share the most charming experience of all, that of witnessing the nesting Layson albatross. Which, by the way, are an endangered species. Here’s a link for you:

Layson albatross spend most of their lives flying over the open ocean and can spend up to six years at sea. They only return to land to breed and raise their chicks on nesting sites on the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, mostly Midway and Layson Island but also on the north shore of Kauai. Albatross have a 20-40 year life span. They return to the very place they were born (called imprinting) and engage in elaborate mating dances until they find a mate at about 8 years old.

We always encounter albatross when we visit Steph and Vic in Princeville because there are usually a few nesting albatross on their street. Sure enough, this year there are two nesting albatross right in the yards of a neighbor 3 doors down. I took this photo from the street just walking past it.

We always encounter albatross when we hike Larsen’s beach. They have a nesting site on top of the bluff at the end of the point. Larsen’s beach is probably our favorite hike on Kauai’s north shore, as we also frequently encounter endangered sea turtles and Monk seals sunning themselves on the beach. I’ve blogged about our hikes there several times, but we just can’t leave Kauai (sigh) without me sharing photos and videos from this year. Are you coming along?

They are magnificent in flight

There’s one flying overhead!

Walking back now, we encounter one all by himself, engaging in mating calls, perhaps? Certainly he’ll catch the attention of another albatross!

We encountered a monk seal too. Do you see it in this photo? Look in the sand.

I’m always lagging behind. Do you see Eric and David in this photo? We’ve almost made it to the point at Larsen’s beach.

Find Eric in this photo:

Here’s a photo of Megan as we head back toward the trail head at Larsen’s beach.

Enough already. Get your butts home to Idaho! Okay…

Aloha, Kauai.

Thursday evening January 26, 2023, and we’re headed to the airport in Lihue to catch the red eye to Los Angeles. I’m a little sad and my phone is stowed away in my purse. Enough photos! We land in LA without a hitch (thank goodness) about 7am Friday and catch our second flight to Salt Lake City. We land in Salt Lake before noon. Of course I just don’t sleep well on the red eye so I’m glad I’m not the one driving us the 200+ miles home to Idaho Falls. Accompanied by ‘old man winter.’ I pull my phone back out and capture a few photos of our drive home from the back seat. Here we are nearing Malad, Idaho. David is driving.

Make sure your seatbelt is securely fastened. It gets messier.

Eric takes over the wheel. David didn’t sleep well on the red eye either.

Near McCammon, Idaho now. Snowplows are a welcomed sight! Well, if you have enough visibility to see them…

Near Inkom, Idaho now. Uh-oh.

Dropping into Pocatello

Oh goody! How many miles to Idaho Falls??

We’re just a few miles from home now. Oh no!

There were five cars off the road in the last ten miles. Oh goody. A tow truck! Somebody will be vey happy to see him!

Just pulled onto our street.

I’m not sure why the photo is so blurry. The scene did seem a bit surreal, arriving home jet lagged and stressed out from travel after spending 15 days in Kauai.

We hunkered in for the long haul alongside old man winter. After we were home, Victor and Stephanie sent us updates from Kauai. On February 1st, just 5 days after we left, the baby albatross on their street (where I had taken the photo) hatched out. Victor sent a photo:

A few days later the second baby in their neighborhood hatched. It seems like a miracle that these babies can survive – sitting in nests on the ground. It’s possible because everyone in the neighborhood is on guard for their safety, keeping their dogs leashed, (what about cats? Yikes!) and there are no mongoose (hopefully) on Kauai.

On February 27 we received this video from Steph and Vic. The baby is now almost a month old. A time for celebration! Watch the video carefully and you will see the baby in the nest to the right of the sign in the video:

Here in southeast Idaho we’ve experienced one of the coldest, snowiest winters in 20 years. We still have mountains of snow in our front yard, accumulating since November with not much melting in between. We have been hopeful for signs of spring and by golly I saw one the other day when a magpie flew past our front window with a large sprig in its beak. Sure enough a pair of magpies are working feverishly on a 2-story magpie bungalow in our front may tree.

In case you don’t know what a magpie looks like, I just captured this picture of one of the pair. Boy have they been busy.

Oh, and did I mention that I also captured a photo of a robin in our back yard? Tough bird, that one. A sign of spring? Hey, I’ll take it!

And what’s the current weather forecast for Idaho Falls? “A return of snow on the first day of spring.”

And now you know why I’ve had such a hard time leaving Kauai.

Hanalei Plantation Trail – ‘Club Med Ruins’

March 11, 2023

Kauai 2023 – Part 3

One of our favorite hikes on Kauai’s north shore is the Hanalei Plantation Trail. The trail starts right below a family owned fresh food stand called Nourish Hanalei at the end of Plantation Road in Princeville –

The area has an interesting history. Check out this link! – The trail runs through the Old Hanalei Plantation that is now known as the Club Med Ruins because there actually was a Club Med Resort on this property in the 1970’s.

The area was a filming site in the movie South Pacific before it was developed. In the 1960’s it was developed into a resort called the Hanalei Plantation Hotel that was then converted to a Club Med resort in the 1970’s. The Club Med resort operated for a few short years but then closed in the late 70’s due to financial hardship. Then in 1979 Honolulu developer Bruce Stark purchased the property with a plan to build 60 condos. The company poured a number of foundations and some walls and stairs before going bankrupt. The foundations remain, which is why the location is still known locally as the ‘Club Med Ruins.’ The path has remained open so people can walk the grounds and enjoy the views of Hanalei Bay. It is still private property. Signs are posted everywhere to stay on the path. A group is proposing some kind of future development but there is strong resistance from the community that has so far kept it from happening.

Let’s do it! We have arrived about 9am, before Nourish Hanalei has opened to make sure we can get a parking space.

Nourish Hanalei

Take in the view at this little stand! The Hanalei river and Hanalei Bay…

The easy walking path down the center of the ruins leads to a promontory point at the east end of the Hanalei Bay. I assume from the article in the link that this is where the resort lobby was planned. It offers a stunning view of the Hanalei bay and dock.

We’re down at the shore now. You’re standing right next to me looking east at the Hanalei dock.

Take the path in front of us and you can follow the shore all the way to the beach. Or follow the path to the right that leads through the woods to Pu’u Poa Beach. We go right.

Encounter some ancient gnarly trees

The trees in the forest almost look frozen in motion, as if they could suddenly spring to life and those tentacled roots could come tromping toward us. Run those tourists out of the woods!

Path to Pu’u Poa Beach

Ah, but we’re saved by a surfer who suddenly appears on the beach. He must have parked near us and walked the same path down. Here’s Megan, David and Eric settled in on one of those elevated roots to watch him.

You ready to go surfing? Let this surfer dude show you how it’s done. He’s just entered the water

Watch him navigate the wide distance to the waves

He’s way out in the distance now, working his way east toward the other surfers in the bay

He’s up! Well, may not be him, there’s quite a few surfers out there trying to catch a wave. This one is obviously a seasoned pro.

Walking back up the path to the car now.

Eric and Steph

It’s so overgrown you hardly notice any ruins.

I heard a beautiful songbird along the way

No idea what kind of bird that is with such a joyful song.

Life is good!

Uh, wait a minute. We’re not in Kauai anymore. This whole blog had me in a trance. All I have to do is sign off this computer and open our back door…

Yeah, like here in southeast Idaho spring is just around the corner.

January 2023 – Kauai here we come!

February 28, 2023

You’re kidding, right? The 58 blogs you’ve already written on Kauai aren’t enough? Yep. That’s what I was thinking when we returned a month ago. Enough with the blogs. You’re back from Kauai. Get your feet in the now and get on with your life!

My husband David, brother Eric and I have visited my sister Steph and husband Victor in Kauai every January since 2012, skipping 2020 and 2021 during COVID. Our daughter Megan joined us last year and this year. So, no! No more blogs! Until yesterday, when it was still snowing and I was looking through my photos and videos. And they carried me back to Kauai …. You wanna go?

Tuesday, January 10 – David, Eric, Megan and I hit the road about 4 pm for the 200-mile drive from Idaho Falls to Salt Lake. We will spend the night in a motel near the airport and fly to Kauai tomorrow.

We’ve made it 30 miles already, to Blackfoot! The weather isn’t cooperating.

It’s a rain/snow mix the whole way. Here we are south of Brigham City, Utah about 6:07 pm. My i-Phone says our location is ‘Willard’

Here, I took a video. Turn the sound up to complete the experience from the back seat.

We pull off the freeway in Layton, UT into Red Lobster to grab dinner. Yay! Time for a toast! Let’s kick off this vacation! Margaritas for the old farts and a coke for Megan.

Oh joy. The weather was sure busy while we were celebrating. Back out to the truck at 8PM.

Layton, Utah

We drive our last 10 miles to the motel through a raging snowstorm.

Wednesday, January 11 – 8:40 am. Navigating our way through the Salt Lake City International Airport. You can spot Eric in his ‘Kauai-ready’ orange shirt, Megan behind him, and David next to Megan.

Salt Lake City International Airport

I’m always striving to keep up, even when I’m not taking photos.

We flew to LA and then onto Lihue without a hitch. Rented an SUV and drove about 45 minutes along the east side of the Island to Princeville, at the northern tip. Arrived just in time for dinner!! Tuck yourselves in for a good night’s sleep, we have lots of adventures ahead…

Thursday, January 12. Good morning Princeville! Jump in the car to about anywhere and you circle the fountain.

Princeville’s fountain – statue of Neptune with his trident.

Princeville was named after Prince Albert, the only son of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, who died in 1862 at the age of four. Of course, the fountain doesn’t look particularly Hawaiian. The Roman fountain was constructed in the early eighties by Australian business tycoon Christopher Skase, who purchased 7,000 acres in Princeville. He was inspired by the Fountain of Love when he visited the Cliveden house, one of England’s grand county houses, and commissioned a similar fountain on his property in Princeville. For several years after it was placed vandals frequently sabotaged the fountain and even stole Neptune’s trident. But it has become a beloved landmark. Check out this link to learn more:

So, off on our daily morning walk! Along the Hanalei National Wildlife refuge. Why did the Nene cross the road?

Nene Geese

Because they own the island. Nene geese are the Hawaiian State bird. And a protected endangered species. How lucky to see a pair with two little ones!

Or perhaps they were crossing the road to get away from chickens. In all my blogs I have mentioned the wild chickens, shared photos of chickens, but never on any of our previous trips have I been up close and so personal with so many feral chickens as we were on this trip!

On this walk in Princeville we took along a bag of wild bird seed. There were chickens and roosters pecking about, lots of fowl sightings and sounds. Eric threw some bird seed out. I took a video. Can you keep count of the wild chickens who scurried from every which direction?

Yes, these are feral chickens. Think you could catch one? Ha. Here’s a fun link about the wild chickens of Kauai:

The article explains that the wild chickens of today are a blend of jungle fowl and farm hens. “Different theories have hatched over the years but the locals will tell you that the first wave of chickens came ashore with the Polynesians over 1000 years ago. Then in 1982 Hurricane Iwa hit … and the winds destroyed most of the Island’s coops and blew countless chickens out of farms, scattering them from coast to coast.” Ten years later, in 1992, hurricane Iniki hit, further scattering the chickens. The locals don’t bother eating them as their meat is notoriously tough and untasty. Which begs the question, why would you bother trying to catch a wild Kauai chicken?

We sure ran into a lot of them on this trip, one path in particular, a wooded trail beside the Westin Resort. Megan and I walked it several days in a row, just to check on the little chicken families we had become attached to, the industrious hens and their tiny broods.

I imagine about every waking moment of a young chick’s life is a learning experience. We humans could learn a thing or two about tough love from these seasoned mother hens. Like in this video. Mother showing them how to forage for food, but lets build in another lesson

Now you listen up little chicks. You could be knocked on your ass in an instant! And if you get kicked to the curb ….

Pick yourself up and try again!

You could also call on daddy to intervene

Here he comes to save the day! (Turn your sound up, especially if it’s sunrise)

Okay, in case you haven’t had enough videos of feral chickens on Kauai to last you a lifetime, or you don’t care for videos, I’ll throw in some photos.

Yeah, good try little one getting over that curb in the picture cut from the video. You didn’t make it, did you?

Enough already on these chickens! Yeah, I guess I should add a sunset or something.

Did I mention that Kauai has palm trees?

With this, I’ll call it a wrap! Huh, what’s tomorrow’s theme? Wild boars?

Aloha, Kauai (Was it just a dream?)

March 6, 2022

It feels pretty weird posting about a vacation in Kauai in the face of the brutal Russian attack on Ukraine, now in its 10th day. How is this war going to play out? How will it change the course of history? Can NATO and other European nations collectively support Ukraine quickly, strongly and strategically enough for her to stand and persevere against Putin’s evil destruction? What will happen to the Ukrainian people? How far will Putin go?

Kauai – Part-7, Saturday, January 29, 2022 – Because of the current devastating Ukraine situation I wasn’t going to write my last Kauai blog. Forget it. Let’s just stay in Kauai. But then it feels like a loose end. I haven’t brought us home to Idaho. Hey, control the things you can, right? So I’m going to lead you through our last day in Kauai, then to the airport in Lihue in the evening to catch the red-eye to San Francisco, flight to Salt Lake and drive home to Idaho Falls. You know, so we’re not stranded in Paradise. (Yes, Jody, we’re all for it; this makes total sense.)

One more Kauai sunrise?

January 29, 7:23 am

Our last day in Princeville is clear and sunny. We decide to head to one of our favorite beaches on the North Shore – Lumaha’i, just beyond Hanalei Bay.

Just about every time we get in the car we circle around the Princeville fountain. A sculpture of Neptune, God of the sea, is surrounded by water, fountains and lighting.

Princeville Fountain

Built in 1989, the fountain was commissioned by Australian business tycoon Christopher Skase who purchased 7,000 acres in Princeville. Inspired by the “Fountain of Love” at Cliveden House in England, 12 artisans in Italy worked one year on a 900-ton piece of marble, resulting in the final 200-ton fountain which was shipped to Kauai in 11 containers. Check out this link for the full story:

To get to Lumaha’i beach you drive on the North Shore just past Hanalei Bay. Pull over and park at the side of the road and walk down a short steep path through a small banyan tree forest.

Eric, Victor and David negotiating the path down to Lumaha’i Beach

Suddenly the long, broad beach opens up before you. The ‘Kauai Revealed’ app describes Lumaha’i beach aptly (so to speak), “If you’re looking for a huge, picture-perfect stretch of sand on the north shore, Lumaha’i shouldn’t be missed. If you’re looking for safe swimming Lumaha’i shouldn’t be touched. Exposed to open ocean, it’s one of the most dangerous beaches on Kauai. The waves here, even small ones, are frighteningly powerful.”

Here we are on the beach. I take a video

Eric and Megan

We’re not here for a swim!

Of course, massive crashing waves offer a perfect adventure for teens:

But you want to experience Lumaha’i beach during a super high surf, don’t you? Check out this YouTube video!:

Heading back up the path now through the banyan trees to the car

David. Catch your breath half way up!

Now enjoying our last lunch in Kauai at the Kalypso in Hanalei with Victor and Stephanie, who qualify hands down as the most generous hosts on the planet. We can’t thank you enough for your hospitality, Steph and Vic!

Mahalo, Victor and Stephanie!

Okay, looking back over the past ten days and savoring our favorite moments. I’ll share a few more photos.


Megan being caressed by hibiscus blossoms

A view from the golf course:

An albatross sailing right past us as we sit on Steph and Vic’s patio

Video of three albatrosses sailing overhead.

A rooster, of course!

And Nene Geese – the Hawaii State Bird:

Hunting and predators like mongooses, pigs and cats, reduced the nene population to just 30 birds by 1952. It has since been bred back from the brink of extinction and reintroduced into the wild. Today, with 2,500 birds in the wild, it is still the sixth-most endangered water-fowl species in the world.

A photo of my hunka hunka hubby David

Sitting on the rocks near Kapa’a

And two separate views of exotic scenery captured on my phone from the back seat of the car

Okay. The sun is setting in Paradise. To wrap up our 10-day trip I’ll post two photos of the same sunset:

Princeville, Kauai, Jan 25, 2022 – 6:25 PM
4 minutes later – Alpenglow is glorious!

It’s 8 pm, Saturday, January 29 – time to head to the airport in Lihue. We arrive there without incident. Except I run into this gigantic cockroach at the airport as I enter the ladies room, about 1 1/2 inches long

They have cockroaches in Paradise? Yes, Indeed.

According to this article there are 19 cockroach species in Hawaii, but only 4 are considered significant pests. I’m guessing this one might fall into the category of “baby American cockroach” since I simply stepped over it going into and then coming back out of the ladies room. One could assess that it basically doesn’t fly, or even move much, for that matter. Although it could scare the crap out of us if it suddenly decides to take flight. Everyone entering or exiting the restroom just made sure not to step on it, which, causing a squishy mess when stepped on might be its greatest survival tactic. Who wants a fat splatted cockroach stuck to the bottom of your shoe?

You’re still talking about cockroaches? Leave Kauai, already!

Okay, okay. We board the red-eye to San Francisco, about a 5 1/2 hour flight on which you are supposed to catch some shut-eye, good luck with that. But here, in my relentless alertness I captured yet another emerging sunrise on our trip – from the window of our plane nearing our descent into San Francisco, one at 4:39 am and the next one 2 minutes later at 4:41 am Kauai time. (You’re welcome.)

Nearing San Francisco, Sunday, January 30, 4:39 am
Sunday, January 30, 4:41 am

We land in San Francisco on time, it’s a bit of a blur, oh yeah, we wolf down ham and egg breakfast sandwiches from Burger King to fill our gullets before boarding our 8:30 am flight to Salt Lake. We’re on that flight now. I’ll share some photos.

Over Grantsville (the i-Phone is always spot-on with locations) at 11:03 am

Grantsville, Utah, Sunday Jan 30, 2022

Huh. See that blanket of smog tucked in behind the mountains?

Three minutes later I capture this photo…

Yep. Now you see what a temperature inversion looks like. Warmer air rises and traps the colder air and smog closer to the ground. The steep walls of the mountains surrounding the Salt Lake Valley area also contribute to the inversions, which occur often in winter months.

We don’t care! You say? We just want to get our friggin’ butts home to Idaho. Agreed.

The four of us, David, Eric, Megan and I, have landed in Salt Lake, piled into David’s truck and have hit the road north toward home – Idaho Falls is about a 3 1/2- hour drive from the SLC airport.

Sailing through Salt Lake City at 12:05 pm – the top of the capitol building is in the center of the photo

It’s smoggy, all right.

Off in the distance to our left now is Plymouth, Utah, near the Idaho border. The population was 414 at the 2010 census. Every time we pass by Plymouth I wonder who the heck would live there and what they do.

Plymouth, Utah, with Gunsight Peak in the background (left)

I Googled it, in case you are interested in learning more about Plymouth:,_Utah

Why would I be interested? I don’t know.

At 1:45 pm we pull off the freeway at Malad and hit the Burger King. They are running a ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ special on whoppers. Four whoppers for 12 bucks! Eric buys.

Read the sign – CROWN STANDARD burgers!

Hey, their burgers are 100 % beef, flame grilled on real fire, no fillers or preservatives, freshly cut tomatoes and onions, every whopper sandwich is made to order and blah blah blah ‘love of all deliciousness’ (??) i.e. gut bomb. But hey, we’ve filled our gullets once again.

We pass Downey, Idaho at 2:07 pm. It’s out there near those mountains somewhere..

Is that Downey in the distance?

We roll into Idaho Falls on Sunday, January 30, about 3:30pm. 15 hours of travel all told. Not bad, really, except for being sleep deprived. What really struck us was how everything looked exactly the same as when we left 10 days ago. I was too tired to take a picture when we got home on the 30th. But here, I took one on the 31st.

Idaho Falls, Monday, January 31, 2022

Our street is still solid ice and the snow hasn’t melted one bit.

Are you sure we went to Kauai? One day later and it almost seems like a dream.

The Kuilau Ridge Trail, Sleeping Giant and Wailua Falls

February 27, 2022

Kauai Trip, January 2022 – Part 6 – I can’t just leave us in Kauai now, can I? Have to finish out the trip and get us home to Idaho again. We have about 2 days left of our 10-day vacation.

Enjoy the sunrise!

Princeville, Kauai, January 29, 2022 – 7:24 am

Hmm. What to do today? Let’s start by tossing some seed out for the birds.

January 29, 7:29 am

What? Do I really have to watch a video? Well, they’re pretty hungry. Okay here’s a photo, as well:

So Steph and Vic have chickens! Uh, yeah. Feral chickens that magically appear as soon as the feed hits the ground. They peck like maniacs till the feed is gone and then disappear. They’re likely nesting in the bushes on the north side of the house because you will hear a chicken fracas out there, good luck finding them. Do you know how to prepare a feral chicken? Boil it in a pan with a large rock. As soon as the rock is tender, the chicken is done.

What’s for breakfast? Starfruit! Harvested from the tree in Steph and Vic’s front yard.

Starfruit. Yum!

So what to do on our last two days? Hike! We love the Kuilau Ridge Trail: A pretty easy hike through lush hillsides leads you to a summit with a picnic table and stunning views of Mount Wai’ ale’ ale. There are two trails to the picnic table – the Kuilau Ridge Trail and the Moalepe Trail. We hiked both trails on this trip.

Of course, to get to the trailhead you drive through Kapa’a right past Sleeping Giant. Local legend tells of a Giant who feasted so much at a party in his honor that he laid down for a nap and never awoke. Here he is, lying on his back, stretched out across this photo which I took from the car. Painful for Eric to be so close to the Giant and pass up the hike!

Nounou Mountain (Sleeping Giant)

“Hey,” Eric pipes up. “I know we have hiked the east trail a couple of times, but we have never hiked the west trail to to the top of Sleeping Giant. We could still do that on this trip!”

“No, Eric. Not gonna do it.”

I tell you what, Eric. How about we go with this guy a.k.a. ‘Grizzle Gear’ who hiked the west trail to the top, filmed it and posted it on Youtube. You’ll be on top of Sleeping Giant in less than 8 minutes!

The Kuilau Ridge trail is perfect. About 3.5 miles roundtrip, you hike a gentle constant incline through lush forest and rolling hills, finally arriving at the picnic table. Here, let’s do it!

After Sleeping Giant we drive right past Wailua Falls. We pull over and take photos (with a mob of other tourists). Now this is what Paradise looks like!

Wailua Falls

And the view across the street:

On the Kuilau Ridge hike now! Luckily the trail is dry.

Megan is loving it

Lush rain forest, indeed!

Arrived at the picnic table

From L-R, David, Megan, Jody, Victor, Steph, Eric

Hiking back out

We’re starving and thirsty. And it’s a good hour’s drive back to Princeville. So of course we have to stop for lunch in Kapa’a at another one of our favorite hang-outs, the Olympic Cafe, which might possibly offer up the best Mai-tai’s on the Island (we have to keep sampling them to decide).

What? You were going to wrap up this trip and get us back to Idaho and now we’re sitting in a bar and grill drinking Mai-tai’s?


Here, you can be here with us! Click on this link with photos of the open air restaurant. It’s on a second story with a huge balcony that overlooks the main drag in Kapa’a.!1s0x7c06e0ed2365411b%3A0x8a828e4936f54e81!3m1!7e115!!5sOlympic%20Cafe%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCgIgAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipMEq-KN9Ywb41roUURPImJba1lWZ0MvKZTfFY9y&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjLov3_qaD2AhVRLTQIHeFnB8gQoip6BAghEAM

After the hour+ drive from Princeville to the Kuilau trailhead, hiking to the picnic table, and also stopping along the way to hike the west trail to the top of Sleeping Giant (just go with it Eric and check it off your bucket list), checking out Wailua Falls, sating ourselves with food and drink at the Olympic Cafe, maybe we should call it a day. I can go for another night of sweet slumber in our beds at Steph and Vic’s home in Princeville. Even if the chickens are making a racket in the bushes outside our windows.

So, no. We’re not flying back home to Idaho just yet. But to give you a clue as to what greets us when we get home let me just say it’s been a cold, dry winter, albeit, the large snow that pelted us before Christmas is still there. And accumulating. I took these photos out our front window two days ago.

Friday, February 24, 2022

Check out this video!

Glad to push that “Easy” button. Easy Peasy!

We finally got smart and hired someone to shovel us out.

Things are looking up a bit today, though. The sun has come out and David has cleared the snow off the deck.

Sunday, February 26, 11 am

Current temperature – 15 degrees – Fahrenheit that is. Cover ourselves with down, and we might be able to enjoy our Idaho happy hour out on the deck?

Yeah, I gotta get us home from Kauai. But, hey, what’s the rush?

Larsen’s Beach, Kauai

February 24, 2017

Today is Friday, February 24, 2017. I just stepped out our front door and snapped this photo.



Southeast Idaho weather forecast calls for, uh, basically, February going out like a lion and March coming in like a lion. We’re not even getting above freezing during the day for at least a week. Never mind night-time temperatures.

No matter. How about we head back to Larsen’s beach in Kauai! My previous blog left off with the magnificent Albatross nesting on a bluff above the shoreline along Larsen’s Beach.

We’ve parked the car at the end of Koolau Road, a dirt road, and have reached the trailhead to the beach:

Deadly unseen currents have killed how many?

Deadly unseen currents have killed how many?

Okay, okay we won’t go swimming! Larsen’s beach is a remote and undeveloped north shore beach. So remote, that a section of it is a nude beach. One link I read said “if you are interested in sunbathing nude on Kauai, Larsen’s would be your first choice, followed by Secret Beach.” You know, FYI, if you happen to be a ‘naturist’ and find yourself in Kauai.

I took this photo of the view of the beach from the trailhead.


And here is a panoramic youtube video of Larsen’s beach you might enjoy, as if you were standing near the trailhead right now, taking in the view and sounds of the ocean. (You’re totally there at this moment, right? How could you not be?)

Our destination is to make it about two miles to the arch that sits on an outcrop of lava rock. You hike about 1/3 mile down a steep path through a brushy landscape to get to the beach. A bit further and you run into naturist sunbathing monk seals. To be honest here, at this juncture I had lost my flair for taking photos, on account of Eric now had an iPhone and he was even more maniacal about getting “just the right photo” then I ever was. So, for example, whereas I stood back a bit from the seals, Eric went right up to one, and startled it, and it spit at him just as you would expect from a Llama or angry redneck or something. So here’s my photo:

Monk seal spits at Eric

Monk seal spits at Eric

Eric also beat me to the punch of advertising our Kauai trip by posting his photos on Facebook, the very day he took them. Here is his photo of the monk seal (I jacked it off his FB page), which is outstandingly more fabulous than mine

Hawaiian monk seal, an endangered species

Hawaiian monk seal, an endangered species

And then, HIS photos of the sea turtles we encountered just a few feet further along the beach:

Eric's photo of sea turtles

Eric’s photo of sea turtles

Aha, but, I’m the one who captured the video – a live action video of sea turtles on the beach. Granted they move slightly faster on land than say, snails, so maybe the idea of watching a 54-second ‘action’ video of beached sea turtles is not your idea of how you’d choose to spend precious remaining time in your life that you’ll never get back. But hey, just trust me on this one: (Eat your heart out, Eric)

When we made it to the arch of course Eric and I were both in a frenzy trying to capture the best view of the waves crashing up along the rocks at the best moment. Here’s my photo, a pretty darned good photo in my opinion:

Pretty darned good photo of waves cresting around the arch

Pretty darned good photo of waves cresting around the arch

But Eric had to one-up me by climbing down on the rocks, dragging David along, to zero in for a closer photo:


No, but even that’s not good enough. Here in this video you see him directing David, “Let’s move over there for a closer, more direct view”

This video doesn’t exist

Eric gets the purr-fect photo of the arch

Eric gets the purr-fect photo of the arch

Yeah, well how about taking a video of me right now chewing the cuticle off the circumference of my middle fingernail. Look behind you, Eric! One rogue wave could come crashing up and carry you off to join the sea turtles, which, by the way, contrary to what you might see in a movie, a turtle isn’t going to rescue you from drowning and transport you safely back to shore on its back.

Eric is heading back across the lower rocks now… with the arch in the background

Here’s a couple of photos I took of the north shore coastline as we begin our hike back…



Plus one extra photo of these two macho dudes, David and Eric, whom, I’m grateful to report, survived Eric’s quest to capture the world’s most infinitely awesome photo of the arch along Larsen’s Beach.


However, when all was said and done, it was David who proved himself the most macho.


Kauai – 1-21-2017

February 10, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017 – Our second full day in Kauai. Forecast: Wind and high surf. Sustained winds expected throughout the day at 40-60 mph. Wind chill? In southeast Idaho that would translate into a minus 45-degree instant deepfreeze. But in Kauai? Hey, we’ll take it!

Started the morning out with a walk in Princeville, around the fountain, and alongside the Golf course. We plan to do this three-mile walk every morning. This morning we passed a flock of feral chickens and two tangling roosters – in a cock fight! The roosters were too far away to photograph or video the first time we passed them, but then a good twenty minutes later on our return trip, there they were – still at it! and close enough to capture a photo:


Don’t leave a good fight unresolved! Their stamina was quite remarkable. I wondered if roosters actually fight to the death. This Chicken Run rescue site provides some interesting insight: The rooster’s mission is to protect and serve the flock. Alpha rooster is boss, enjoying first position in everything from liberties with the hens (hmmm), to fighting incomers, to “leading the pack” and settling disputes in the flock.

A beta male shares some duties with the alpha but must be careful not to overstep his boundaries. The alpha/beta structure in the flock is challenged all the time. The alpha male constantly reminds the beta and all his subordinates who’s boss. Authority needs to be reinforced and reasserted constantly or the structure will fall apart.

These two roosters looked completed exhausted by the time we passed them the second time – like we were witnessing the final round of a heavyweight boxing match. I caught this video.

I suppressed an urge to intervene and separate them (for about one second, boy is that a stupid idea). They were both so nearly spent. Here’s another “Backyard Chickens”, link with some interesting tidbits: Hen fights are quick and decisive. Hens will content themselves with a short pecking session before a pecking order is decided. (Ouch! Gives life to the expression “Hen-pecked”.)


Roosters, on the other hand, take a lot more convincing. The head rooster establishes his dominance first, then the other roosters sort things out between themselves. Cock fighting, while an unnerving thing to watch, is a necessary part of the rooster pecking order. The fight only becomes serious when one rooster decides he doesn’t want another beta rooster in the flock.

As for these two roosters? Well, the very next day we walked by the flock (of maybe a dozen chickens) and there were two roosters.

So what to do on a windy day when the surf is high? Visit Lumaha’i Beach! – on the north shore, a few miles west of Hanalei. The beach is sheltered from the wind. You park along the highway and drop down into it on a short steep path. We are there now, and yes, the surf is high. I took a video. (Turn up your volume and you will hear the crowing of a rooster, at least twice… the second one crowing quite confidently at the end of the video.)

We walked the beach. Victor captured a photo of me with my arm wrapped around lonesome ol ‘coconut man’ (???) standing by himself on the beach.

Love is in the air

Love is in the air

Walking back to the car now. You can see how steep the path is:


Life is good.

Also, today, January 21, 2017, is one day after Trump’s inauguration, and the day of the Women’s March on Washington DC. The march on DC, by itself, drew an estimated 500,000 people, protesting against the political positions of Donald Trump, advocating for the preservation of human rights. This march on DC was among the largest in American history, equivalent in size to the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations of the 60’s and 70’s.


Sister marches for human rights erupted across all 50 US states, 60 countries, and seven continents, including Antarctica. The global march ultimately included 5 million people. Here’s an interesting link with a treasure trove of information and photos about the Sister Marches, including the location of every march. Our home town of Idaho Falls is on the list – my town made me proud!

Here’s the Wikipedia page for the 2017 Women’s March on Washington. It states the goals of the march as: “Protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.” Lastly, a link from CBS News with a slide show of the best signs from women’s marches around the world.


Oh, and one more interesting tidbit. Just one week after this march, the world welcomed in the Chinese New Year. Out with the year of the Monkey! Saturday, January 28 began the year of the …. Rooster!


January Escape

February 5, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017. We hit the road from Idaho Falls about 4pm – David, me, and my brother, Eric, cruising along I-15 South to Salt Lake City.

David is driving, Eric is riding shotgun, I’m in the back seat shooting photos of the winter landscape sailing past us at 80 mph.

By 5 pm we are flying past McCammon, Idaho:

McCammon, Idaho

McCammon, Idaho

The outside temperature is about 18 degrees. The snow has been accumulating for several weeks, turning the landscape into a pristine winter wonderland. We pass through Downey, Idaho, as the sun is setting:


Downey, Idaho

Downey, Idaho

Then Malad City at 5:20:

Farm equipment in dormancy

Farm equipment in dormancy

We’ve entered Utah now. The town of Portage is peeping through the frozen landscape like a buried single strand of Christmas lights.

Portage, Utah

Portage, Utah

Fast forward 16 hours … Thursday, January 19, 10:30 am:


The Phoenix airport (!)

We’re on our way to Kauai. On American Airlines. Caught the 6:50 am flight from Salt Lake to Phoenix. Will fly directly from Phoenix to Lihue, Kauai.

It’s a six-hour flight to Lihue. Sleep is good. Reading … Sleep … Suddenly the islands come into view.


Flying over the big Island, Hawaii …

The Big Island

The Big Island

Now Kauai!! That might be the Napali Coast? Not sure …



We’ve landed in Kauai


Here’s where I pinch myself. My sister Steph and husband Victor live part of the year in Princeville, Kauai, and every January for the past five years they have invited David, Eric and I to come for a 10-day visit. I have blogged about the adventures of all our previous trips, 39 blogs, total. You can find these blogs in my ‘Kauai’ category.

Princeville is on the north-central edge of the island, about a 45-minute drive from Lihue. We hop into a rented SUV and head toward Princeville. First order of business: Meet up with Steph and Vic at the Kilauea’s Farmer’s Market.

It opens at 4:30. People gather in droves and line up to shop before it opens.

Kilauea Farmer's Market - 4:27 pm - open in three minutes!

Kilauea Farmer’s Market – 4:27 pm – open in three minutes!

At 4:30 on the dot, a farmer toots his truck horn and the shopping frenzy begins …


Sample some star fruit!



I took a picture of this red fruit below, but don’t know what they are. They look a bit like raspberries, but they are hard, like cranberries:



This is egg fruit:


I sampled it – it was too weird for me.

Eric carries our basket of spoils, all of it organic

Fresh organic produce!

Fresh organic produce!

Homeward to Princeville. Princeville was named after Prince Albert, the son of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, who died in 1862 at the age of four. A Roman fountain, constructed in the 1980’s, graces the entrance to Princeville.

The fountain was made famous in the 2011 movie “The Descendents” starring George Clooney. However, the fountain is soon being removed and replaced by something more reflective of native Kauai. So I took one more picture of it:


Our first big adventure took place on Friday morning, January 20. (No, it wasn’t watching Trump’s Inauguration.) We decided to go back to the “Hissing Dragon” – Victor had never seen it. Although it involves a bit of a trek around a ledge of rocks that lead you out to a point, the adventure that awaits you at the end renders it totally worth it.

I wore flip flops the first time Eric enticed us to go, thinking it was a walk on the beach. This is my third time and I’m wearing sensible shoes tightly tethered to my feet. And I’m too busy trying to keep my footing to take many photos. I took this one, though, of Steph, Eric and Victor behind me:

Hiking to the Hissing Dragon

Hiking to the Hissing Dragon

We hear this sucking noise on this flat outcrop of rock which turns into a blowhole when the waves come crashing in. I took a video.

As you approach the point you receive a foreshadowing of what’s to come… a dragon’s roar coming out of a large crack in the rock face. I stopped, listened, then took a video of the crack. Yes, it’s a video of a crack. But if you turn your sound up full blast you’ll hear the roar of the Hissing Dragon:

Be forewarned …

We’re at the point now. The tide is high. There’s a cavernous hole where the dragon leaps out at you. Eric beat us there. We arrived just in time to see Eric out on the rocks facing the hole with his camera, you know, to get a good shot, when a huge wave came crashing in behind him. We scream at him to move out of the way (!!) – just in time. My heart leaps out of my chest. Whew! I stood safely alongside the hole and took this video of the ‘Dragon’

But Eric did manage to get his video facing the dragon hole. He posted it on his Facebook page. Check this out!

Click on this link <a href="http://“>link to see Eric’s video that he took facing Hissing Dragon’s hole.

I downloaded his video from his FB page – which I guess is why the link is so sprawled out. But you get the picture …

The Dragon almost ate him.

I took a photo of Eric – after we turned to head back. Soaked from head to toe. Even the cats on his shirt have gone berserk over the experience.


I took some photos on the hike back…



Victor, Steph, Eric

Victor, Steph, Eric

Needless to say, we feel we’ve earned a beer break by the time we get back off the rocks.



Uh, you might want to keep an eye on that tree to your right, David. Those giant tentacles look as though they could spring alive at any moment, reach out and grab your leg, entrap you. Then, in one stroke, pull you under that tree trunk, suck you up into some alternate realm, the tree itself, OMG!, in one hop to the left, could overtake and devour you!

I dunno, maybe I’m just a little paranoid after coming face to face again with the Hissing Dragon.

Back to Reality

February 27, 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016, our last day on vacation in Kauai. How about we do one last lunch at Kalypso in Hanalei? It’s jammed with folks watching the NFL play-off game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. It’s hard to maintain conversation over the raucous Patriot fans as Tom Brady, paired with Ron Gronkowski on offense, combined with their defense, beat the Chiefs 27-20.


Yeah, Eric, but do you know what the kitty on your shirt is doing?

Innocent Kitty

Innocent Kitty

Alert kitty

Alert kitty

Sniper kitty

Sniper kitty

"Oh no!  Danger danger!"

“Oh no! Danger danger!”

Yeah, well, just trying to keep the mood light. Stave off melancholy on our last day in Paradise. Take a minute to be grateful that we no longer have Eric leading us over streams, darting ahead across the rocks on his cat paws

Hey, we didn't agree to this

Hey, we didn’t agree to this

We have to follow, of course…

Not funny, Eric

Not funny, Eric

You feel the melancholy of our last day too? Well, here’s one last image of Paradise that you could affix in your mind, as I have – a ‘happy place’ you can go to



It’s overlooking Sealodge beach, just before you hike down. And how about a video of the waves crashing on the rocks at the bottom of the hike at Sealodge:

I must post two more photos of Paradise I took at Secret Beach


Secret Beach

Secret Beach

With the Kilauea Lighthouse in the far distance.

Aloha, Maholo, Kauai!

Yeah … transition to … Sunday morning, January 17. We have landed at the LA International Airport at the end of our Red-Eye flight from Lihue. The plane lands, you force your body up out of the frozen seated position you’ve been in for the past six hours. Shake some blood into your lower extremities. Deplane in the emerging twilight en masse with the hoard of passengers in a zombie parade. Squish into a line to catch a bus that will transport you to your next terminal (hopefully the right one). We’re on the bus now. I snap a photo out the window.


Who takes off next, our bus or that plane? Guess my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders yet.

Well, we do make our next flight – to Salt Lake City. I capture photos of the frozen landscape:

Over the Sierra Nevada's?

Over the Sierra Nevada’s?

You know, to entertain me, because I can’t sleep:


Nearing our descent into Salt Lake City:


We’ve landed. Making the 4-hour drive from the airport north on I-15 to Idaho Falls now, with David at the wheel, Eric up front, me shivering in the back…


Yep! Northern Utah in mid-January.

It's called 'winter'

It’s called ‘winter’

Crossed the border into Idaho now…

The Abominable Snowman could be there somewhere

The Abominable Snowman could be there somewhere

We’re starving, of course. When did we last eat? We pull over at the Gas Station/Burger King/ pit stop in Malad.

Welcome to Malad, Idaho!

Welcome to Malad, Idaho!

“Shop Malad this Holiday Sea on.” “Sea On” – actually makes sense, as in … Sealodge Beach, Secret Beach, Larsen’s Beach… in that ancient parallel Universe.

So what kind of shopping do you do in Malad, Idaho?

We found out when we ordered Whoppers and grabbed one of the last available tables. All kinds of folks filled tables around us, couples, families, groups of men, groups of women, young and old, unrolling and scraping wads of … lottery scratch tickets, filling in long pink scraps of paper … Powerball tickets! The last Powerball drawing had occurred this past Wednesday, yielding 3 winners that split a 1.6 billion dollar jackpot. Folks in here today are filling out tickets for the next Powerball drawing. We’re witnessing lottery pandemonium in this little pit stop in Malad, Idaho. But why so many people in this little town in the middle of nowhere? Ah, perhaps because there’s no gambling in Utah? Malad happens to sit right on the Idaho/Utah border. Welcome to Malad, Idaho, your Utah lottery ticket headquarters. Buy your tickets here!

Your Utah Lottery ticket headquarters, complete with ATM!

Your Utah Lottery ticket headquarters, complete with ATM!

Fast forward 2 hours… we’re approaching our driveway now. There’s Eric’s van…

Oh goody, we're home

Oh goody, we’re home

Time to dig out…

Eric still in his shorts from the ancient parallel Universe

Eric still in his shorts from the ancient parallel Universe



David shovels out the driveway first thing.


Yes, we’re back home in our winter Paradise.

All shoveled out, Jan 17, 2016

All shoveled out, Jan 17, 2016

Contrast the two Paradises,


Paradises from two parallel Universes. It’s a stretch, but I’m going with it.

You know, anything to stave off melancholy.

Ka’aka’aniu (Larsen’s) Beach

February 20, 2016

Say it with me, “Ka-ah-ka-ah-nee-oo” Beach.

Okay, “Larsen’s Beach.”

Geez. You’re still in Kauai? Isn’t this like, your 8th blog about your dumb January 2016 trip?


We’re about at the end of our trip, though, I promise. (Sigh)

If you’ve read all 35 of my previous Kauai blogs covering our past five January trips to Kauai, then you might recall one of our favorite beaches, Larsen’s Beach. (Sure, Jody.) I blogged about our first visit to Larsen’s Beach two years ago. And again last year.

David, Eric and I returned to Larsen’s Beach this year, too, on Friday, January 15.

Larsen’s Beach is full of surprises. First of all, it’s a surprise to realize how hard it is to find Larsen’s Beach. Located in a secluded area on Kauai’s northeastern shore, it’s accessible only by dirt road. From Princeville you travel south on Kuhio Highway and just after mile marker 20 you hang a left onto Ko’olau Road. Travel on Ko’olau Road for about a mile and the road forks. Take the left fork onto a dirt road, Larsen Beach Road. Follow the dirt road till it ends. You will likely turn on at least one wrong dirt road before you find the right one.

Hint: The dirt road ends. You park. Walk toward ocean. You’ll know you’re at the trailhead to Larsen’s Beach when you come to this sign:


Which brings us to Surprise #2: ‘Swimming is less than ideal.’ Unless you’re suicidal. Deadly unseen currents have killed how many? ‘Strong currents channeling through the reefs exist even in perfectly calm conditions.’ One site I Googled said, “If you go in, wear a rash guard to protect against prickly sea urchins and sharp coral on the bottom.” Oh joy. Rash guard? Well, unless you’re a full-blown masochist and/or enjoy cutting yourself.

Ah but the water is so perfectly calm and beautiful!

Dip your toe in

Dip your toe in

Larsen’s Beach is about a 2-mile narrow stretch of sand backed by brush and trees. Including a Surprise # 3 – Nude beach. I mean, Naturalist beach (uh, Naturist beach, corrected per comment below). We discovered this on our first visit two years ago: January 25th, 2014. We were walking along the brush and trees, minding our own business, sat at a picnic table to rest, when we noticed a bare bronzed bather. I photographed and blogged about the experience (zoomed an i-Phone photo to make sure my eyes weren’t tricking me). Here’s the link to the blog for those of you with a dirty mind, uh, I mean an appreciation for the beauty of the naturalist human form. Actually if you click on the link, scroll down to the end of the blog. No! Don’t click on the link! Oh, come on, you want to! Stop being so decadent, Jody. Who cares anyway? CLICK ON THE LINK! (and scroll way down to the bottom).

Surprise # 4:

Darth Vader Bumble Bee…

Looks like a bumble bee

Looks like a bumble bee

I had never seen such a bee in my life. You can see it has really fuzzy legs for pollination. Upon further research I learned that it is a female Carpenter bee. They are quite fascinating creatures. Carpenter bees are solitary bees. Females live alongside their own daughters or sisters, creating a small social group. They enjoy kaffeeklatsches (Ha, just kidding). They make nests by tunneling into wood. Each nest has a single entrance (very neat), almost always a 1/2 inch diameter near-perfect-circle. The entrances may have several adjacent tunnels. (Cozy!)

Female Carpenter bees have stingers but they are docile and rarely sting unless handled or provoked.

Male Carpenter bees, on the other hand, are harmless. They do not have a stinger and their face may be white or yellow (face color possibly predetermined by how much and the manner in which, previous generational males handled or provoked females.)

Surprise # 5. Hawaiian monk seals:


Hawaiian monk seals are a highly endangered species – a ‘conservation reliant endangered species,’ which is why we see them on Larsen’s Beach – we were walking near their nesting grounds. Monk Seals are the only seal native to Hawaii.


I almost walked right by this Hawaiian monk seal without seeing it:

Don't bother me, I'm a log

Don’t bother me, I’m a log

The small population of about 1,100 individuals is threatened by human encroachment (not us, of course), limited gene pool, entanglement in fishing nets, marine debris, disease, and past commercial hunting for skins, according to this wiki-article.

We saw four Hawaiian monk seals on our round trip walk to the arch. Along the way we ran into Surprise # 6: The albatross nesting area.

Do not disturb!

Do not disturb!

The magnificent Albatross are also an endangered species. We accidentally walked right by this nest and tried to act invisible as we approached our destination…which is,

Surprise # 7: The Arch at the end of the lava rock outcropping half way down Larsen’s beach…


the sea is roiling here:


The surf crashing against the rocks in front of us

ooooo- David's sexy shoulder

ooooo- David’s sexy shoulder

And swirling through the arch at the end of the point


I captured a video:

Walking back along the beach I couldn’t resist zooming in on this Hawaiian Monk seal’s face:


Surprise # 8.

Yeah, Kauai’s spectacular Ka’aka’aniu (Larsen’s) Beach!

A ‘must-see’ – once you find the right dirt road that takes you to it!