A Travellerspoint blog

May 2011

Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 5

Slip sliding away.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626505265871/with/5678180350/

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Feeling lazy from too much laying around, and suffering from a tad of excess sun, we decided it would be a good day to try our hand at kayaking along the Wailua River. We would get some exercise hiking back to a distant waterfall and it would keep us in the shade for most of the day.

We got a late start after enjoying some leisure time at the house and headed south, toward Kapa'a and Wailua. Our first stop was at breathtaking Kealia beach.

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It was nearing lunchtime, so we stopped off at Scotty's Beachside BBQ in Kapa'a. The view at this place alone is worth stopping for.

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So are the mai tais. Oh my. They are quite potent. After drinking the weak $14 mai tais at the Hyatt, I was not prepared for the punch the Scotty's top shelf mai tai delivered.

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POW! Right in the kisser. The BBQ was also good. I think. I'm pretty sure. That could have been the mai tai talking, though.

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We decided to get a kayak from the Kamokila Hawaiian Village since we had gotten such a late start and its location significantly reduces the time required to paddle to the falls trailhead. We were given a map and sent on our way. Just the way we like it. No hassle, no fuss.

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We launched and made it to the trailhead in about 10 minutes. It was pretty obvious where to get out because there were quite a few kayaks pulled up onto shore.

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We walked through trees and vegetation that looked positively prehistoric, giant structures towering above us draped with vines as big around as my arm and covered with leaves as big as a serving platter.

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It seemed an easy enough walk, a stroll through the woods really....... and then we reached the stream crossing. The water was rushing pretty good, but there was a rope strung across to help you keep your balance. Like idiots, we were wearing flip flops. We had not done a lot of homework and were prepared for a "woods stroll" not a proper hike, but we are adaptable, so we simply took our shoes off and made the crossing barefoot.

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As we reached the other side and started to put our flip flops back on, a couple was coming from the opposite direction, headed back out. They stopped, mud up to their knees, and handed us their walking sticks.

"You're going to need these," they said, "It's really muddy."

And that, my friends, is when the real fun began.

We spent the next 40 minutes or so walking barefoot through deep, slippery, ooey, gooey mud. I loved it.

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I felt like a kid with the mud squishing up between my toes and slipping its way up my legs. It conjured up images of mud fights and mud pies, long afternoons when mom would let us throw on our swimsuits and run outside to play in the rain.

In front of me, I could hear Matt's grunts and "ughs" of displeasure. Apparently, the mud did not hold the same level of whimsy for him that it did for me.

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We squished and sloshed our way back to the falls. We had to cross several streams, climb a few steep rocks, and had to wade through miles of mud, but we finally made it.

Despite the name, "Secret Falls," it's not much of a secret as several tour groups tromp back and forth daily. When we arrived, however, the group ahead of us was leaving and within minutes, we had the place to ourselves. We were able to enjoy it in solitary bliss for a while before another tour group arrived.

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Having enjoyed our "secret Hawaii jungle waterfall and pool experience," we left it for the next folks, and made our way back through the mud toward our kayak. Back at the village, we wandered around for a bit and enjoyed the beautiful plants, the reproductions of old Hawaiian structures, and these guys:

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He kept shaking all of his tail feathers at me. I am not sure if he was trying to make me his girlfriend or if he was about to peck out my eyes, but it was breathtaking all the same.

Once we were mud-free, the rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing at Secret Cove.

We went to dinner at BarAcuda in Hanalei that night. A great little tapas place, the interior was warm and glowing with soft candlelight when we arrived. We glanced over the menu and ordered several small plates: a mushroom pizzetta, pork shoulder with potatoes, a fresh tomato salad, and chorizo with grilled apples. Paired with a bottle of wine, it was more than we could finish and absolutely delicious. There is no food porn, however, because Matt was afraid Pierce Brosnan might come in that night and Matt didn't want to be sitting at the table with "that girl with the giant camera."

No doubt, we were fast asleep before 10 p.m.

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Posted by vicki_h 07:43 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 4

Puff the Magic Dragon and other mystical things.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626497881651/with/5671241192/

Awake by 5:45 every morning with little to do at that early hour but relax, we developed a routine of taking a long walk along our beach every morning before coffee and breakfast. It was a great way to stretch, wake up, and fill your lungs with fresh salt air bright and early.

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The beach behind the villa was a treasure trove of trinkets brought in by the sea overnight. Every morning, she would leave her bounty strewn along the sand, as if carelessly discarded in her hurried flight back to the open waters during low tide. I would comb through her treasures each day, grabbing them up before she had a chance to return and retrieve them. Much to my delight, I discovered on day one that "our beach" was littered with beautiful sea glass each and every morning..my favorite sea treasure.

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Pockets bulging with sandy gems, we finally returned to the villa for Kona coffee and some deck time in the sun, which was already shining hot and bright by 8 a.m.

A little before noon, we pulled ourselves out of the sun and headed into Kapa'a town for an oceanside Sunday brunch at Oasis. With a spicy bloody mary in hand and a GIANT platter of pancakes with grilled pineapple and maple bacon cream, I was in heaven.

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We spent the afternoon lazing in the sun at "our beach" in Anahola, and when we became so lethargic that we couldn't even stand ourselves, we cleaned up and headed toward Hanalei.

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On the way out of Anahola, we decided to stop at Duane's Ono Char Burger, because so many people rave about how great the burgers are, because it was less than 1/2 mile from our house, and because we wanted a snack. We got a BBQ burger and fries to split and headed down the road toward Hanalei.

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My assessment of Duane's: It was not a BAD burger, but it was a very forgettable burger. I am not sure what all the fuss is about. It was okay, but looked and tasted remarkably like a Whopper with BBQ sauce. To me, this is food you eat in a pinch when nothing else is available. This is not food you go out of your way for.

I did however, very much enjoy the chickens and dogs that kept us company as we waited 15 minutes for our very average burger.

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We headed north to Hanalei. Yes, the Hanalei where Puff the Magic Dragon lives. Don't believe me? Well, you should. I saw him. He was lying stretched out, curled protectively around Hanalei Bay. Look, I even got his picture. I "overenhanced" it a bit so that you can see his big, dragon head stretched out into the bay with one large brown eye watching all that comes and goes. Keep watching and he might wink at you.

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We arrived in Hanalei right at 3:00 p.m. so we decided to stop at the Hanalei Community Center for the Sunday afternoon slack key concert. This is a regular event held twice a week by slack-key guitar master, Doug McMasters, whose wife, Sandy, narrates between songs to tell you the history of slack key guitar. It is housed in a building that sits back in the taro fields, just below the towering green mountains.

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As we entered, we noticed it was a "shoes off" event, so we quietly slipped out of our flip flops and took a seat. Just as Doug began to play, a hard rain began to fall outside and a soft breeze blew through the open windows, bringing in the smells of the fresh fields outside and the occasional crow of a confused rooster. The combination of Doug's spellbinding music, the view of the misty mountains and taro fields beyond us, and the breezy windows bringing in the sound and the fresh smell of the rain created a magical moment as we sat there in our bare feet, mesmerized, transported. You could almost feel the presence of the "ancestors" of whom Sandy so often spoke.

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According to Sandy, the slack-key style is quickly dying, as the younger generation of Hawaiian guitarists are more interested in modern (easy) versions of Hawaiian style than they are in learning the old styles, which are far more complex and take a lifetime to master. The slack-key tunings, as best I could understand, were irregular tunings that were specific to various Hawaiian families and kept secret for decades. If you were not in the family, you'd never learn the tuning. Today there are more then 75 of them documented and only a few left who can play them. McMasters was amazing, not only in his musical talent, but also with his bubbling personality. We felt honored to have gotten to hear and see him.

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The concert was followed by some shopping in Hanalei and sushi in front of Bouchon's giant open window, overlooking Hanalei town.

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I fell asleep to the lyrical sounds of Doug's mongoose song dancing through my dreams.

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Posted by vicki_h 10:10 Archived in USA Tagged beach island tropical hawaii kauai Comments (0)

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